2DH: On Playoffs, NFL And Otherwise

Jamie Sabau - Getty Images

You can practically SEE the smarm.

Two-day-hangover_medium You can always count on two things to really ramp up immediately following Thanksgiving: Christmas shopping (with all its attendant aspects, such as commercials, sales, and terrible drivers making the two-mile radius around every mall and shopping center unbearable to navigate) and complaining about the BCS. The former does not really concern me --- we do most of our shopping online, and my wife tackles 99% of the remaining in-store shopping.

The BCS complaining, however, does concern me, inasmuch as all the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments always focuses on the flaws with the current system without proposing a viable solution. Merely screaming, "Rematches are stupid!" and "They should scrap the bowls and have a real playoff!" helps nothing; we all agree that rematches are inherently odd, but that's the system we're playing under, and there's no chance that the bowls are going to be scrapped because of how much money they make for the NCAA and its legion of corporate overlords.

No, what we need is a solution that uses the bowls, but still features something approximating a playoff system, all without adding too many more games or weeks to the NCAA football schedule. After the jump, I lay out my version of the solution.

So, first, the nuts and bolts of it. We add one bowl game to the existing four BCS games. My Big Ten roots suggest the Citrus Bowl, but even I realize that it's played in a friggin' toilet, so I'll go with the Cotton Bowl for the purposes of this example. Each year, one bowl will host the national championship game, two will host semi-final games, and two will host quarterfinal games. The following year, the bowl that hosted the NCG drops down to host a quarterfinal game, and every other bowl slides up one spot. So, if the Rose and Cotton hosted quarterfinals, the Fiesta and Orange hosted semis, and the Sugar hosted the NCG this year, next year, the Sugar and Cotton would host quarters, Rose and Fiesta would host semis, and Orange would host NCG. The following year, Orange and Sugar host quarters, Rose and Cotton host semis, and Fiesta hosts NCG. Got it? Good.

Next, we take six teams (until something better comes along, the Top 6 teams in the BCS rankings), and only undefeated teams are automatic qualifiers. If they are already in the Top 6, an undefeated team gets seeded where it is currently ranked; if not in the Top 6, the undefeated team gets the six seed and the #6 ranked team gets bumped. (If two undefeated teams are somehow outside the Top 6, ranked teams 5 and 6 both get bumped and seeding of the undefeateds in slots five and six is based on Strength of Schedule).

The #1 and #2 ranked teams get a bye, #3 plays #6, and #4 plays #5. Wherever possible, geographic matches are used to determine which quarterfinal matchups are played in which bowls. #1 then plays the lowest-ranked winner the following week, while #2 plays the highest-ranked winner. Winners of the semifinal games meet the following week in the NCG. Simple enough, no?

Assuming LSU, Va Tech, and Houston win their CCGs and Oklahoma State beats the Dirt Burglars, if this system were in place this year, your games would look like this:

January 1:
Houston v. Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl
Va Tech v. Stanford in the Rose Bowl

January 8:
Hou or VT/Stan winner v. LSU in the Fiesta Bowl
OSU or VT/Stan winner v. Alabama in the Orange Bowl

January 15:
Fiesta winner v. Orange winner in the Sugar Bowl

You've got two SEC teams, an ACC team, a Pac-12 team, a C-USA team, and a Big 12 team represented in this playoff. No, you don't have the Pac-12 Champ, which is somewhat irritating, considering Oregon beat Stanford, but this system is so much better than the current setup that such an omission seems like a small price to pay.

Now, the counter-argument to this is that there are currently 10 BCS slots, so you're cutting down by 4, which has a negative impact on schools that would otherwise get into one of these games based solely on AQ status. To that, I say, "So what?" Why should the Big East get an automatic BCS game when (a) that conference is no better than the Mountain West and (b) removing that AQ slot would allow us to have a real playoff while keeping the bowl system?

4.

Sacks for Connor Barwin on Sunday, a single-game record for your Houston Texans. The previous record was 3.5 by Mario Williams on December 13, 2007, against the Denver Broncos. The NFL record, of course, is seven by the late Derrick Thomas against the Seahawks in 1990. Fun fact: not long after that game, Thomas was asked who his favorite non-athlete was. His answer? Dave Krieg.

3.

Number of other players with 4 sacks in a game this season: DeMarcus Ware, Andre Carter, and Kamerion Wimbley. Only Ware's came in a loss, however.

7.

Sacks by the Houston Texans on Sunday, tying a single-game record for the team previously set against the Rams in 2005. The next-highest total overall is 6 against the Cardinals in 2005. The next-highest total under Kubiak is 5, achieved five times: Pittsburgh in 2011, Baltimore in 2010, Denver in 2007, Miami in 2006, Oakland in 2006. Also, in case you were curious, the most sacks allowed by the Texans in a game is 9 against the Chargers in 2002. And the NFL record for sacks in a game is 12, accomplished most recently by the Giants against the Eagles in 2007.

6.

Sacks for Brooks Reed, a Texans rookie record. The previous record, 5.5, was held by Tim's homeboy, Amobi Okoye. The NFL record for sacks by a rookie is 14.5 by Jevon Kearse in 1999.

5.

Consecutive games with a sack for the Houston Texans. The team record for consecutive games with a sack is 6 by Mario Williams from Week 11 through Week 16 of 2007.

37.

The Texans team record for sacks in a season, set in 2005. The 2011 Texans have already notched 35.

4.

Sacks by Antonio Smith prior to Mario Williams' season-ending injury. Since the injury, Smith has notched .5 sack, coming less than one quarter after Williams went down. Since then? Nada.

1.

Sacks by J.J. Watt prior to Williams' injury. Since then, he has 3.5, including 2.0 against Jacksonville.

She's Dressed In Yellow, She Says "Hello."

I was listening to Pandora the other day when Young MC's seminal 1989 hit "Bust A Move" came on. Every time I hear this song --- which is far more often that I probably care to admit --- I'm struck by the absurdity of the penultimate verse, which goes:

Your best friend, Harry, has a a brother, Larry /
In five days from now, he's gonna marry /
He's hopin' you can make it there if you can /
'Cause in the ceremony, you'll be the best man /
You say "neato," check your libido /
And roll to the church in your new tuxedo /
The bride walks down just to start the weddin' /
And there's one more girl you won't be gettin'

First of all, why in the world would your best friend's brother ask you to be his best man? I mean, does he not have his own best friend? Shouldn't he ask his brother, rather than his brother's buddy? Also, who the hell gives but five days' notice to the best man?

5.

Consecutive games holding the opposition under 20 points and under 200 yards passing.

10.

Consecutive games in which the Texans' defense has snagged at least one interception. Dating back to last season, the defense has picked off a pass in 13 of the past 14 games, with the season opener against the Colts being the lone exception.

3.

Interceptions needed by Johnathan Joseph to tie Marcus Coleman for the most in a season in Texans history. Irritatingly, JoJo would need only 2 to tie Coleman had the late INT against the Steelers not been negated by a ridiculous roughing-the-passer call on J.J. Watt.

4,293; 2,813; 1,480.

Total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards that your Houston Texans' defense is on pace to allow in 2011. The current records for each are 5,198 total yards (2009), 3,423 passing yards (2008), and 1,711 rushing yards (2009). For the sake of comparison, the 1985 Bears allowed 4,135 total yards, 2,816 passing yards, and 1,319 rushing yards. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens: 3,967 total, 2,997 passing, and 970 (!) rushing.

7-4.

The 2000 Ravens' record through 11 games. While some will be quick to point to the Ravens' allowing only 10.3 points per game, while the Texans are allowing 16.3, it's definitely worth noting that the teams' scoring differentials are almost identical (10.5 for Baltimore, 10.4 for Houston).

180.8 YDS, 1.5 TD, 1.3 INT.

Trent Dilfer's average line as a starter for the 2000 Ravens. In 8 regular season starts, Dilfer went 7-1, but had only three games with more TDs than INTs, only one game with zero INTs, and only one game with over 250 yards passing. More importantly, during the Ravens' playoff run, Dilfer never cracked 200 passing yards, averaged just over 147 passing yards per game, and never threw more than 1 TD in any playoff game.

Bizarre 1980s Commercial Starring Bruce Willis That I Felt Obliged To Include In This Hangover Post.

Unnecessary Archer Quote.

"You can't have a flashback with a flashforward in it. That's just . . .bad writing."

518.

Rushing yards needed by Arian Foster to pass Domanick Williams (nee Davis) for first all-time in Texans history. At his current pace of 96.5 yards per game since coming back from the early season injury, he would come up about 35 yards short. Of course, while two of the remaining opponents rank in the top 10 in run defense (Atlanta and Cincinnati), the other three are pretty bad (Tennessee -- 22nd, Carolina --28th, and Indy -- 31st).

24.

NFL players with more rushing TDs than Chris Johnson in 2011.

As Your Attorney, I Advise You To Watch This Tremendously Awesome Video Right Now.

10 Worst Album Titles Ever.

1. Filter -- "Title of Record"
2. Mew -- "No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stores the World Is Grey I'm Tired Let's Wash Away"
3. Guns N' Roses -- "The Spaghetti Incident?"
4. Limp Bizkit -- "Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water"
5. Fiona Apple -- "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You'll Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You Know That You're Right"
6. Underworld -- "dubnobasswithmyheadman"
7. Charlotte Church -- "Tissues and Issues"
8. Coldplay -- "Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends"
9. Toby Keith -- "Shock'n Y'all"
10. Public Enemy -- "Muse Sick-N-Hour Message"

6.

T.J. Yates' all-time ranking in total passing yards among Texans quarterbacks. With 66 yards, he will pass the inimitable Dave Ragone for 5th all-time.

7.

Matt Leinart's all-time ranking in total passing yards among Texans quarterbacks.

Lightnin'.

A few times over the past 48 hours, I've heard or read that T.J. Yates' mobility gives the Texans something that they did not have with Matt Schaub or Matt Leinart. I don't really know whether this is true, but I do know that the tangible evidence would seem to dispute it. For instance, Yates ran a 5.06 40 at the Combine (though he apparently had some unofficial 40s in the sub-4.9 range prior to the Combine). Schaub ran a 5.04, while Leinart turned in a 4.90.

Additionally, keeping in mind that sacks count as negative rushing yards in college, the college rushing numbers for all three still don't tilt much in Yates' favor.

Yatesrun_medium

Schaubrun_medium

Leinartrun_medium

Now, it very well could be that Yates is more mobile than the other two guys. I certainly hope that's the case, and I will relish every first-down scramble if so. But, still, I'm going to have to see something before I buy the idea outright.

4.

Division wins by the Houston Texans, marking only the second time in team history that they've won that many in the AFC South. They've never won 5, but that will be taken care of the next time they face Indy.

1171.2

Rushing yards that Arian Foster is on pace for in 2011, despite missing all or part of three games with an injury.

1035.6

Rushing yards that Ben Tate is on pace for in 2011, despite missing all or part of three games with an injury.

1016.7

Rushing yards that Chris Johnson is on pace for in 2011, though he has missed zero games.

1.

Possible scenarios by which the Titans would get into the playoffs while having the same record as the Texans. To wit:

Houston must lose to Indy, Cincinnati, and Tennessee and must beat Atlanta and Carolina.

Tennessee must lose to Buffalo and defeat Houston, Jacksonville, Indy, and New Orleans.

If all that happens, they will both finish 10-6, 1-1 head to head, with an 8-4 record vs. Common opponents, and a 7-5 conference record. The 5th tiebreaker [strength of victory] would decide it.

As it stands now, of course, the Texans have a two-game lead over the BESFs, with five games left to play. Outside of the above scenario, this means that the Titans have to make up 3 games in those 5. It's an uphill battle to say the least.

Meth Is A Helluva Drug.

Recalling what you just learned in the previous item, see if you can spot the flaws in this statement:

If they beat the Colts

Houston would win based on record in the division. If the Colts win and we win against the Colts, Jags and Texans we’d own the primary tiebreaker.

Music City Miracles blogger and High Secretary of Funk. Follow me @AugustWest_MCM.

by August West on Nov 28, 2011 1:42 PM EST up reply actions

Now, as you know, the "primary tiebreaker" is head-to-head record, which, in this scenario would be split 1-1. So August, all-knowing oracle of the NFL that he may claim to be, is incorrect.

On top of that, the Texans are currently 4-0 in the division. Losses to the Colts (ha!) and Titans would make the Texans 4-2 in the division. The Titans are 1-2 in the division. Wins over the Texans, Jaguars, and Colts would make them . . . wait for it . . . 4-2 in the division. So they would not win under the second tiebreaker either.

The third tiebreaker is W-L record in common games. Currently, the Texans are 5-1 and the Titans are 3-2 against common opponents. In the above scenario, for the teams to finish with the same record, the Texans would have to lose to Tennessee, Indy, and one of Atlanta, Carolina, and Cincinnati. If the Titans could beat the Saints, then the common records would be tied at 6-3.

The fourth tiebreaker is AFC record. Currently, the Texans are 7-2 and the Titans are 4-4. Tack on two more losses for the Texans in August's scenario, and give the Titans three more wins, and we're at 7-4 for both teams. The remaining AFC games are Cincinnati playing Houston and Buffalo playing Tennessee. A win here for Tennessee, plus a Houston loss, means that they would own this tiebreaker in theory. But here's the rub: for the teams to be tied at all, a win at Buffalo would mean that the Titans had to also lose to either Indy, Jax, Houston, or NOLA. In any of those scenarios, you wouldn't get to this fourth tiebreaker because Tennessee would be worse in common game (or in head-to-head). Which is to say, if Tennessee wins out and Houston wins three games (i.e., requiring the consideration of tiebreakers), then this tiebreaker cannot help them.

Which, in turn, brings us back to the Texans Bull Blog post, where there is one --- and only one --- scenario for the Titans to get into the playoffs with the same record as the Texans. But, hey, why should one of the MCM writers worry about something as trivial as facts when describing hypothetical outcomes?

Random '90s Rap Video Song.

1.

Playoff seed that your Houston Texans would hold if the playoffs were to start right now. It breaks down like this:

1. Houston 8-3 AFC South Champ (Wins tie-break over New England and Baltimore based on best winning percentage in conference games (7-1 versus 6-2)).
2. New England 8-3 AFC East Champ (Wins tie-break over Baltimore based on best winning percentage in conference games (6-2 versus 5-2)).
3. Baltimore 8-3 AFC North Champ (Wins tie-break over Pittsburgh based on head-to-head record).
4. Oakland 7-4 AFC West Champ
5. Pittsburgh 7-3 Wild Card
6. Cincinnati 7-4 Wild Card

Douchebag Who Spent All Of The Nebraska-Michigan Game Dogging Denard Robinson And Then --- Coincidentally, I'm Sure --- Accepted A Job With Ohio State.

Urban-meyer_medium

Smarmy-looking jackwagon. I hope Luke Fickell snaps and beats you with a tubesock full of woodscrews.

/vitriol

Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.

[Author's note: It's a sad day in Two-Day Hangover Land. It seems that Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer has gotten married and changed the name on her public profile to the much more professional sounding, "Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy." Dang. Thankfully, we have a long memory around here, at least when it comes to stuff like this, so we'll just forge ahead and pretend like nothing has changed.]

Much like the decision to name your daughter "Marijuana Pepsi," Jack Del Rio's decision NOT to call a timeout on 4th & 2 with the game on the line was absolutely puzzling. They had a time-out in their pocket and were at the Texans' 40-yard line, needing a TD to tie the game. The series to that point had gone:

  • 1-10. Completed pass for 5 yards.
  • 2-5. Incomplete.
  • 3-5. Completed pass for 21 yards.
  • 1-10. Completed pass for -4 yards.
  • 2-14. Sack for loss of 13 yards.
  • 3-27. Completed pass for 25 yards.

You've got 4th and 2, and you've already completed big passes twice. More importantly, you've got Maurice Jones-Drew averaging 5.5 yards/carry. Calling a timeout and coming up with a play --- even a rushing play --- that gives you a good chance of getting a first down and having multiple shots at the endzone just seems like a no-brainer there. Yet, Del Rio did not go that route. Instead, he had Luke McCown hurry to the line and force a throw to Mike Thomas that was broken up by Brice McCain.

And, now, Jack Del Rio is unemployed.

TXT MSGS Of The Week.

Shake, prior to the game.

We all must have faith. Because I just saw that Leinart is sporting a porn-stache that cannot lose. Ever.

Displaced Texan, following the Leinart injury.

I feel like we're in Vegas, won $1000 at blackjack, and have to decided to put it all on red and spin the f%&king wheel.

I'm driving to Mississippi to kill Brett Favre and spare us from the next week of bullshit. Remember me.

Tim.

I hope the Texans cut J-Jo this offseason, just so they can re-sign him to a deal that's worth one billion dollars guaranteed.

***

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