Sunday, October 9, 2011

BCS Picture No More Clear with Blowouts and No Upsets In College Football

The BCS Championship picture did not get any clearer after a weekend of solid domination of most ranked teams against their non-ranked or lower ranked opponents.  With blowouts like #1 LSU over # 17 Florida 41-11, #2 Alabama over Vanderbilt 34-0, #3 Oklahoma over #11 Texas 55-17, #5 Boise State over Fresno State 57-7, #6 Oklahoma State over Kansas 70-28, #7 Stanford over Colorado 48-7, #8 Clemson over Boston College 36-14 and #9 Oregon 43-15 over California, you get the picture, no new news and everyone claiming to be a legitimate contender for this year's BCS Championship.  LSU and Oklahoma however made the biggest statements dismantling highly ranked and well regarded football programs in Florida and Texas respectively.  Even #18 South Carolina, with a quarterback change, recorded the largest margin of victory against an SEC opponent since joining the conference 54-3 over the Kentucky Wildcats.

#4 Wisconsin was resting up with an open week, while all the other contenders were having fun and protecting undefeated records with the exception of Oregon, which lost its' opening game against LSU.  #10 Arkansas (5-1 1-1 SEC) is the only other team with a loss in the Top 10, which managed to enjoy a lopsided win, 38-14, against #15 Auburn, which had just returned to the Top 25 this week with a "nail bitter" road victory against previously ranked #10 South Carolina.

The batch of one-sided victories leaves little to be determined about the "Pretender versus Contender" debates being conducted on sports talk radio, sports bars and work places around America.  So the anticipation, debates, scenarios, speculation and "what ifs" will continue to flood the discussions about this year's season and the championship race.  Likewise, the debates over Heisman hopefuls will continue as all top 12 candidates provided Heisman style performances, with the exception of the Badgers' Russell Wilson, who could only watch during this bye weekend.

Money Can't Buy Love In MLB

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The long 162 game MLB season offered exciting finishes for some and extremely disappointing conclusions for others, but regardless of the result, the collection of 30 baseball franchises paid $2,789,752,055 in salaries to approximately 1000 to 1200 players on the active and inactive rosters.  The average salary of a player in the majors is $3,323.296.53.  Although misleading due to the gigantic annual salaries of players like; NYY Alex Rodriguez  $27.5M, PHIL Ryan Howard $25M, PHIL Cliff Lee $24M, MIL Joe Mauer $23M, along with NYY CC Sabathia $23M, NYM Johan Sanata $22.9M, NYY Mark Teixera $22.5M,  BOS Adrian Gonzalez $22M, MIL Ryan Braun $21M, BOS Carl Crawford $20.3M and PHIL Roy Halladay $20M, these average salaries are still the basis for an investment into talent that will ultimately generate performance on the field that will result into playoff teams, division championships, pennant races and World Series Championships.  What we are seeing more and more that money does not but you love or a championship.

While the Yankees clinched the division title with a 97-65 record over Tampa Bay (91-71).  The Yankees paid $202,689,028 for 6 more wins than the "Wild Card" Devil Rays, who paid $41,053,571 in salaries.  The Rays went as far in the playoffs as the highest salaried team in professional baseball while sporting the second lowest salary in MLB.  The Philadelphia Phillies appeared to make the best of their $172,976,379 salary overhead with a regular season record of 102-60, 13 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves, who invested $87,002,692 in players for 2011.  The Phillies wasted the second highest payroll bowing out in five games in the first round of the playoffs, losing to St. Louis whose $138,543,166 payroll ranks fourth in the league.

The Boston Red Sox in a three way fight with NY and Tampa Bay, recorded 90 wins and 72 losses, with approximately 25% of those losses coming in the month of September, leaving the Red Sox home during the playoff season, and forcing a quality manager out, that will prove more damaging in the immediate future.  The Sox invested $161,762,475 for basically negative results and obvious disappointment.  The Los Angeles Angels ($138,543,166  4th  86-76), Chicago White Sox ($127,789,000  5th  79-83), Chicago Cubs ($125,047,329  6th  71-91),  New York Mets ($118,847,309  7th  77-85), San Francisco Giants ($118,198,333  8th  86-76) and Minnesota Twins ($112,737,000  9th  63-99) did not make the playoffs, leaving the fans and management scratching their heads and planning additional moves over the season that will undoubtedly involve more money to buy talent or potential for an unknown competitive result.  These six top 10 payrolls in MLB recorded 462 wins and 510 losses for the season.

The playoffs commenced with salary ranking match-ups of #29 Tampa Bay vs #13 Texas, #1 New York vs #10 Detroit, #2 Philadelphia vs #11 St Louis and #17 Milwaukee vs #25 Arizona.  Now the pennant race will commence without the top nine payrolls in the league, with #10 Detroit against #13 Texas for the American league Championship and #11 St. Louis matched with #17 Milwaukee for the National League title.  The regular season record for the six lowest payrolls in the playoffs was 562-410.  Only three top ten salaried franchises made the playoffs, 1, 2 and 10.  Only #10 Detroit moves on to the pennant race.

The 2011 season becomes just another modern day season proving that MLB and other professional franchises in professional sports are missing the mark in the salary investment of players and team chemistry and investing against salary based collective bargaining revenue share, and marquee named athletes that are not making several teams better from the free agent market.  The result is high payrolls, frustrated fans, managers, front offices and several losing seasons, in more ways than one.  Like our mothers always said, "money can't buy you love" and obviously it's not buying wins either.