BCS too greedy
CLICK TO REACT
If the NCAA were looking for a postseason format that generated fan excitement and high TV ratings, it might look to the NFL playoffs. Or it could as easily look to its own basketball tournament if it were interested in producing some January Madness.
The choice is not the NCAA's; it belongs to the six conferences that run the BCS and have a sweet deal that they are not about to give up. The BCS conferences routinely take in 85-95 percent of bowl revenue (the take will be a little lower this year, with two non-BCS schools breaking through). In a 16-team playoff format, allotting a slot to each of the five non-BCS conferences would cut too deeply into the BCS share.
Whether the 15 games for a 16-team tournament would generate more revenue than the current 30-odd bowl games, I don't know, but I'm guessing that the higher TV ratings would in fact lead to much more total revenue. In recent years, the NFL playoffs have earned higher TV ratings than national championship games. The NFL is simply more popular than college football; it's also truly national, while college teams have predominantly regional followings. But a playoff format (like March Madness) might build a broader audience. The problem for the BCS is that the revenue would also be distributed more broadly.
The argument against a playoff in defense of "tradition" is bogus. I used to oppose a playoff on these grounds myself. I grew up with New Years Day as the culmination of the college football season, an all-day TV marathon starting with the Cotton and Sugar bowls in the morning, followed by the Rose Bowl and then the Orange Bowl. I watched with my Dad and my older brother, and we ate potato chips with onion dip. (This was a big deal.) The Rose Bowl always pitted the Big Ten against the previous incarnations of the Pac-10; the Southwest Conference in the Cotton Bowl, the SEC in the Sugar Bowl, and the Big Eight in the Orange Bowl took on some outsider. After four champions emerged from the major bowls, the arguments began about which one was really the best of them all. Even as I grew older, I liked the inconclusiveness, along with the intersectional rivalries and the fact that four teams finished on top of their own worlds.
The BCS has destroyed these traditions. January 1 is just one of several bowl days; the so-called National Championship game has diminished the four other major bowls, which no longer have any sectional or conference moorings. A playoff would do no damage to football "traditions." It also would do no more damage to the academic well-being of "student-athletes" than is currently done. (Once upon a time, this actually was a matter of concern.) There is no longer any good reason not to have a college football playoff -- except that the BCS conferences get rich on the current system.
So, however compelling a model the NFL playoffs might provide, it just does not matter.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: BillHancockBCS | January 6, 2010 6:01 PM
Posted by: SEADOGMB | January 7, 2010 2:15 PM
Posted by: kennedys | January 7, 2010 3:04 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.