And now we know who will be calling the shots, pulling the strings, driving the boat… use whatever metaphor you like, but the proposed college football playoffs system that the NCAA has thrown on the table may garner a $5 billion, 10-year television/cable deal for the rights to broadcast what already feels like a nonsensical plan.
The proposal, which is most likely going to be accepted by the Bowl Championship Series presidents later today — yeah, they’ll get rid of the BCS moniker — is for a two-game, four-team playoff with the winners playing in what the NCAA would like us all to think is a real and true National Championship.
Four teams. Eight would be better, but there will be four in this system. One must wonder if the TV networks have had a hand in this four-team idea already. Maybe they want to test the idea with just four teams and will add four more once the ratings are in and the wrinkles are smoothed over.
“They” are the networks, not the fathers of college football. Heck, no one had even figured out the criteria to select these four teams or even where it would be played and when, but the money was practically already in the bank? It should be noted that the 2011 BCS package racked up nearly $175 million, a pittance compared to what may lie ahead. Rotating bowl games acting as playoffs… a potential neutral-site championship game… even bigger and better advertising dollars… my, oh my.
The NCAA could sell the two playoff games as one package and the championship game separately, though there is a chance that the whole thing could be put up as one entity. Last week, I suggested that the only way to make this right was to expand the number of teams and make the hard choice to break up some long-standing rivalries and reorganize the conferences, but that won’t be enough. It will take, basically, the herculean of changing college football as we know it today for any sort of playoff system to be valid. Sure, they can call it a title game and the kids will still revel in victory and cry in defeat after whatever game the Lords of the College Gridiron decide is for a championship but we’ll know better, as will the great teams left out in the cold.
So if you’re wondering why the NCAA/BCS is doing this at all, why four teams and not eight, why the little guys of the smaller and less magnificent conferences will be slighted and made obsolete, look no further than the people behind the curtains of flat screen televisions everywhere.