More on the BCS and My Playoff Concept

The Coaches' Trophy

Stewart Mandel over at tackles this rather contentious issue in a comprehensive article laying out all the reasons why it is nearly impossible to see even a “plus one” championship game come out of the BCS system, let alone a true playoff. It’s a great article that will leave the purists in the room screaming for bureaucratic blood, and will leave the realists in the room saying “I knew it’d never work.” There are quite simply way too many competing interests in the system for the fan-favored systems to be viable.

That being said, I think a system seeded in the fashion I’ve suggested might be a reasonable alternative to balance both the need to give the fans the playoff concept while maintaining the traditional bowl tie-ins when possible. As I elucidated at the time, the biggest issue would be with logistics, and Mandel covers these concerns really well. In particular, the $64 million question is whether or not fans will attend a playoff game at each level of the competition. Should OSU play through to the Championship game, as in my scenario from the previous post, will Buckeye Nation attend the Capital One Bowl in mid December, the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, and the BCS National Championship Game on January 7th. Were I the Magic 8 Ball, I’d probably say “Signs Point to No.” Particularly considering the price of the basic Alumni Bowl Tour package this year ($3-4k per head), it just doesn’t seem terribly feasible. At least with the NCAA Tourney in basketball, when you travel with the team to the Final Four, for example, you see those games in three days, and the entire 65 team process is over within 20 days.

In the final analysis, the fan in me wants the system I’ve prescribed. The entrepreneur in me understands completely why the Leagues, the Commissioners, the Athletic Directors, and the rest of the BCS cabal are perfectly content with the current system. Rose Bowl CEO Mitch Dorger makes a particularly compelling case for their opposition to the “plus one” format.

My favorite part of the article, however, has to be this comment from Rose Bowl Chief Dorger:

“The idea at the time [of the BCS' original creation] was we would lose a team potentially once every three to four years, based on the rankings the previous 10 to 15 years. Coach Tressel and Coach Carroll appear on the scene, and all of a sudden we are almost perennially losing one of our champions. That has had a negative effect. It’s impacted the tradition of the Rose Bowl.”

Notice he mentioned Coach Tressel first. Heh. Bet the sports writers hated to see that little admission…

Tip ‘o the Hat, by the way, to Jay for pointing to the piece in this gem of a post about the stock in trade of the sports media of beating up on OSU while continuing to fawn over a team like Oklahoma even though they’ve been out of the upper echelon for a few seasons. Well said Jay.

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About Andy Vance

Grains and Biofuels Editor at Feedstuffs, the weekly newspaper for agribusiness, and resident blogger at If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, I may be the most dangerous man I know...

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