Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports joins the show to plug his new book, Death to the BCS. When talking last week with co-author Jeff Passan, we discussed how intimidating Wetzel can be as a writer. He saw that, and intimidated his way onto the show to tell everyone how not intimidating he really is.
It turns out, he’s not really all that intimidating. And this is a guy who has a shark as his Twitter avatar.
Before we get into the BCS talk, we get into a conversation about being a columnist and dealing with folks who don’t always agree with your opinions. Wetzel has some pretty good perspective on this:
“I write, like, 250 columns a year, so by the end of the year, when you look back, I’m not sure I would go back and agree with all 250 either, but I try to report on all the columns, I guess. Have something.”
There have been things I’ve written — we’ve all written — that I look back on and say “what was I thinking.” It’s good to hear a guy like Wetzel admit that happens to him too.
Somehow that conversation shifts to a discussion about mainstream media comment sections, a place Wetzel calls, “graffiti on the site. It’s well intentioned and many times people are writing reasonable comments, but I’ll read the newspapers sites and it descends into the ugliest political fight on everything.”
Speaking of political fights, we turn to the most politically-charged fight in all of sports (other than steroids in baseball): The BCS. Think about how involved the government has been in this discussion. Wasn’t part of Barack Obama’s platform that he wanted a playoff?
Before we get into the politics, financials and future of the BCS, we talk about the process of writing a book like this. How did Wetzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan collaborate? What’s the process of writing a book like this with two other authors? Of course, in an effort to intimidate me, Wetzel joked that they each wrote every third word of the book. I retort, in different color ink. Then he mentions Mad Libs. That’d be a great book.
Wetzel and I get pretty heavy into the inner-workings of the current bowl system and how that can be applied to a playoff. We spend a lot of time talking about how college football is the only major sport that has an outside entity come in, run the games for them and take an insane amount of the profit. Wetzel points out that teams put on big football games every weekend, so why do they need third-parties to come in and run the biggest games in the season? It makes no sense.
He hits his point quite often that the computer numbers the BCS uses aren’t even statistically sound and that there are better numbers to use, but the BCS doesn’t want to use them. How, he asks, can the BCS not want to get better. Forget about a playoff, the BCS just seems unwilling to evolve past a model the set up in a different time in the sport.
But assuming a playoff eventually happens — and Wetzel points out that there’s just too much money at stake for it not to happen — how would we determine those teams? Sure, they conference winners would be automatically in the playoff, but what about the at-large teams? And how would we seed them? We can mock the Harris Poll all we want (and really, some of the voting is ridiculous) but there’s no guarantee that a playoff would make THAT part of the game any less suspect.
Still, almost anything is better than what they have now.
Thanks to Wetzel for taking over the show. I hope he didn’t intimidate you, dear listener, too much.