I mourn the loss of another wonderful college football season, which was full of so many compelling games and storylines this year. But the season is now over for me, as the BCS bowl system has turned all postseason games save one into a meaningless, laughable endeavor.
(DUMBASS: Coaches Assoc. Pres. “laughed out loud” at Obama’s playoff suggestion)
That wouldn’t be true for all of us if there was some semblance of a playoff system, which has been resisted by power drunk dinosaurs like Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen all these years. And even though every single coach in college football has said he wants a playoff, the man who leads their coaches association, the rapidly-fossilizing Grant Teaff, says he still opposes a playoff and “laughed out loud” when he heard Barack Obama suggest that a playoff was a good idea.
Now with ESPN committing to a five-year deal to broadcast BCS Bowl Games beginning in 2011, the chance of a playoff system being implemented looks, on the surface, even dimmer. But don’t be fooled, things are going to change. And soon.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the economic meltdown and subsequent government bailouts in the past month, laws, rules and contracts are made to be broken - as long as there’s the perception that it’s in the public’s best interest. When I see, hear and read about the college football playoff debate, the details always bog down the discussion. Those details mainly being TV contracts held by the BCS game rights holder.
Obama speaking out about a playoff changed the rules though, and all bets could be off if he and/or Congress got involved. Between that and politically adroit sports media behemoth ESPN soon taking over the rights, I think we will see the NCAA adopt an 8-team playoff for college football beginning in 2011.
ESPN is probably the only sports media organization on the planet that has sway over the NCAA (sorry CBS), because the WWL has its tentacles so deeply intertwined in college athletics and has the leading sports reporting arm in North America. Unlike CBS, which also has plenty of college sports interests, ESPN’s SportsCenter decides the news. And spins it at the whim of the ESPN suits.
By the time the Bristol boys take over the BCS broadcast coverage in 2011, the din over the BCS bowl debacle will be deafening. And we’ll likely continue to hear calls from Congress and Obama that a playoff system needs to be enacted.
So what better time for ESPN to go nose-to-nose with the NCAA, and demand a playoff? If ESPN goes on the offensive and tells the world that it is trying to force the NCAA into a playoff, how bad will college admins look if they continue to resist the tidal wave of sentiment? It’d be extremely bad public relations, and ESPN of course is free to report the story on SportsCenter anyway it likes.
So how will it happen? The same way America’s banks and AIG scored billions with no oversight. The government made it up and did it. No matter what the contract says between ESPN and the NCAA, the deal will be amended to put forth an eight-team playoff. Sorry, Myles!
We all complain about ESPN being too powerful for its own good, but this is one case when that crushing sphere of influence is going to make the game of college football into America’s most compelling sport.
Better proof: ESPN makes tens of millions in profits each year despite featuring Lee Corso as an expert on college football. Anything’s possible.