When I think of the new college football playoff system, I think of duct tape. Both are outstanding temporary fixes to permanent problems which, without fail, will require additional attention in the near future.
The cries of “Death to the BCS” have been heard, and on paper we have a new system which will cause all of us to heap praise on the forethought of the university presidents and conference commissioners involved in making it happen without considering the long-term implications and the factors left unattended to which will still continue to wreak havoc.
Where to begin?
How about we start with the issue of what’s being referred to as “bracket creep”.
In spite of the fact that the new playoff will nominally remain as a four-team bracket until 2025, I’d be willing to bet what money I have left– trust me, it’s not much– on the fact the four-team bracket will be as short lived as the 32-team bracket once was in the NCAA Basketball tournament.
Cold, hard cash.
While these same university presidents and conference commissioners will be willing to espouse the open access in public which a playoff system presents to schools who may not have enjoyed it under the BCS model, and their concern for keeping the schedule “in check”, in private there will be ongoing negotiations underway to extend the bracket from 4-8 teams as soon as it is logistically possible.
Hence, “bracket creep”.
The bracket can not reasonably extend beyond eight teams without completely re-arranging the landscape of the current scheduling system– and destroying regional, and traditional rivalries in the process, which generate revenue from the alumni bases– so therefore growth won’t be exponential just for it’s own sake.
The advancement of the bracket from 4-8 teams will generate additional revenue for the television networks, bowls, advertisers, and all parties who have the ability to profit on the backs of the student-athletes they so desperately care about, but the growth will be tempered.
After all we can’t extend the season, because the students might miss to much class and it could affect their academic success! We’ve all heard the beat of this played-out drum, over, and over again.
All the while, street agents will continue to run amok, swaying impressionable young men in the direction which will line their pockets, and these same student-athletes will arrive on campus each fall to help their university’s athletic program to generate unprecedented amounts of revenue, while not reaping the benefits and seeing their “piece of the pie” as they would in any similar endeavor.
It’s capitalism flipped onto its backside.
The new system is far from sunshine and daffodils folks.
The machine is still humming in the background as inequity continues to rule the day, and will, as long as the shift of focus in which we currently find ourselves clouds the average person’s perspective.
Smoke, mirrors, and duct tape.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.