Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Georgia Tech over Miami: A Costly Win?

With all the national talk about the Irish and the Buckeyes going to Tempe because the bowls are only about money, here's a peripheral story about bowls and money, and also about how sometimes when you win, you really lose.

While I had to hand it to the Jerky Jackets for going into the city where the heat is on and throwing a wet blanket on the Canes' ACC Title and BCS hopes (and also stifling much of the talk about their own NCAA violations), it actually turns out that the win over Miami will cost Georgia Tech about $310,000.

Before Jon Tenuta's D shut down Da U, Miami was the odds-on favorite to win the ACC Championship Game. Their season would have been bookended by games against in-state foe Florida State. And in classic [little thang in your] yin-yang style, the Canes likely would have avenged their season-opening loss, as Miami's steady improvement over the season was in proportion to the Noles' steady decline.

But that climax to the story squirted away prematurely when the Canes got fucked by a Johnson with one Ball.

The Jackets aren't quite used to this newfangled conference championship game gobbledygook, so they may not have contemplated the full ramifications of the win. If Miami had gone to Jacksonville for the title game, Virginia Tech (10-1) would almost certainly have gotten the second at-large BCS bid after bespooged Notre Dame gets the first. But as Georgia Tech's win boosted Virginia Tech to the ACC Coastal Division Championship, it also sunk the conference's chances of having two teams in the BCS. Now, the Canes (9-2, BCS #9) are not realistically in the discussion about the at-large bids, and if VT loses the championship game, their two losses would push them out of the at-large hunt as well.

Thus, no matter the outcome this weekend, the ACC will only put one team into the BCS. The fiscal consequences of that are quite severe.

The ACC is rich with bowl-eligible teams this year, and this Sunday we'll see them poach bowl slots from other conferences who do not have enough eligible teams to fill their tie-ins. The SEC, for example, is short two teams from its total of eight bowl tie-ins.

The ACC (and interestingly, it looks like GT specifically) will likely take the SEC's spot in the Gaylord Focker Music City Bowl in Nashville. [Yes, I know my beloved Dawgs lost there, before my very eyes, to Boston College four years ago.] The ACC probably would not have taken this slot if they had put two teams in the BCS. That is, if UM and VT are in the Orange and Fiesta, all other ACC teams would slide up in the pecking order for ACC tie-in bowls, and they would not need to fill the void left by the top-heavy/bottom-empty SEC.

Thus, because of GT's win over Miami, the total bowl payout received by the ACC this year will be reduced by the difference between what it would have gotten with two teams in the BCS, and what it will get with a team in the Music Shitty Bowl.

The bonus for a conference having a second team in the BCS is $4.5 million. The payout for going to Nashville is about $780,000. Therefore, the ACC lost about $3.72 million when the Jackets beat the Canes. Split evenly, Tech's share of that would have been around $310,000. That was money they dearly need to help pay their hefty NCAA fines and 7-year TV revenue remittance.

Just like Tech. Can't win for winning.