The BCS Must Die

Monday, January 08, 2007

It all boils down to this: the BCS is this guy's fault. Jim Delany.


"...Delany, 58, has emerged as a man widely considered the most powerful figure in college sports and the biggest obstacle to a Division I-A football playoff."
This guy, this Big 10 Commissioner, is the roadblock to a system that, um, makes sense.

Normally, I would be proud that my conference of choice (I am a Sparty) is the leader in something; some brave new concept, some challenging new sports concept or whatever. But no, the Big 10 turns out to be the obstructionist against rationality. And Mr. Delany, against the likes of Lloyd Carr and Joe Paterno (you know, two relatively minor players in college football) and their urgings to move to a playoff system, has chosen the stolid path of the status quo. The article state, in terms of Delany's reaction, "But as he has done with the public outcry, Delany has largely ignored the coaches' call for a playoff."

Tangent: sound like another leader we know?

Of course, it would have helped Lloyd's argument just a little bit if he didn't get killed by USC. But that's another post for another day.

I think that in this case, Boise State makes just as good an argument that Michigan could have if they didn't get spanked like naughty children (hey, I'm a Sparty, I'll rip when I can). 13-0 after beating Oklahoma? And they can't play Ohio State, who is playing (and will hopefully destroy) 1-loss Florida.

Another tangent: if I hear one more ESPN talking head discuss the difficulty of Florida's schedule versus Ohio State's, I will go on a murder spree.

Here's where we get to where I really start to get all red-faced:
Defending his assertion, Delany said revenue from college football has grown to $900 million from $200 million since 1990; average attendance for Big Ten games has increased to 71,000 from 58,000 over that same period; and the rising TV ratings and sponsorship dollars suggest the game is as healthy as ever.

"There's probably more of an outcry than there was 15 years ago for something different. I don't disagree with that," Delany said during a recent interview in Chicago. "But what I've also seen simultaneously is the growth in interest in the BCS and the regular season.

"If the public walks away from our games during the regular season and walks away from television during the regular season and walks away from the bowls, they're saying, 'We won't support this anymore. We want something else.' But I don't see them walking away from anything."
I have lots of problems with those assertions.

College football's revenue growth is not tied to the BCS. Well, let me clarify. Because there are bowl games in a weird configuration, Tostitos, Alamo, Go.Com, Th Happy Day Buddhist Temple and whoever the Hell else will gladly shell-out the cash for a bowl game, which I know brings more money into college football. But increasing fan bases and alumni loyalty have nothing to do with the BCS.

He asserts the game is as healthy as ever, citing the increase in average attendence. Again, this is completely separate from the BCS. This has more to do with the rise of college football "purity" over NFL "primadonas" than anything it. The least it has to do with is the BCS system. I don't watch college football because I love BCS. I don't go to more State games because of the BCS. That's just ludicrous. I love the Spartans (equally ludicrous, I know), and that's why. College admissions has increased as well...maybe that too would increase your fan and alumni base?

The part that really gets me is the last paragraph where he essentially says that nobody is walking away from tv, games and bowls. That, in his mind, is the only litmus test as to whether or not the system is broken.

Of course we're not walking away from games. I will continue to watch the Spartans (lose) because I love them. I won't walk away (though I should for so, so many other reasons) simply because I hate the BCS. I will continue to hate the BCS and watch the Spartans. They are two completely different tracks. I would imagine that most college football fans would agree. Most people would not stop watching their favorite team in protest over the dumbest post-season series ever. To say that is indicative of the BCS being a fine idea is to ignore:
Polls show more than 50 percent of college football fans favor a playoff.
So under Delany's logic, more than half of college football's fans would have to stop watching their favorite team to get their message across.

God, but this guy sounds like some other national figure I have heard of....on the tip of my tongue...

No, more to the point, Delany is saying "Fuck you, I don't care what you think, Tostitos is throwing money at us."

Look, I think you can have a college football playoff system (like Division IAA, II, III and every single other college sport) that makes as much money. Playoffs are a huge draw. How many Michigan fans are going to watch Ohio State play tonight? A whole mess of them. And they'd do it in a playoff system too.

Studies indicate the slightest step toward a playoff – seeding the teams in four BCS bowl games and pitting the two top-rated teams emerging from those games in the national championship – could generate another $50 million. But with a new system, Delany and the commissioners of the other BCS conferences could lose control of the knife that guarantees them a huge slice of the financial pie.

The so-called BCS conferences – which include the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC – outnumber the less powerful conferences six to five. Thanks to that slim majority, the six conferences grant themselves automatic bids to the five BCS bowls and this year will take in more than three-quarters of the estimated $120 million the BCS will generate.

The annual yield since has widened the financial gap between the haves and have-nots, and since the formation of the BCS eight years ago, no conference has benefited more than the conference Delany runs. He appears determined to protect the Big Ten's economic interests even if it means preserving a flawed system.
And there it is. A playoff system hurts the Big 10 financially.

With that said, I can't blame Delany for protecting the financial interests of the conference with the most to lose financially. That's his job. But for God's sake, if that's what the real deal is, say it. Don't tell me that nobody's walking away so we don't need to change. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is the most intellectually lazy mindset of all time. And as a fan of college football, the playoff system works best.

Studies have shown that an additional $50 million hits college football for moving closer to a playoff system. But as this article points out, the "BCS schools" lose control over their huge monopoly on that money.

All that money just might go to "unknown" Boise State instead.

What doesn't help is that ABC (Disney), Fox and others are signing 8- and 10-year deals to show the Rose Bowl.

But with potential (or apparent) conflicts of interest regarding the Big 10, Rose Bowl deals and the like, as well as public outcry for a fair system, I think things have to, and should, change. Instead of an easy monopoly, the Big 10, SEC, PAC 10 and others would have to put-up or shut-up. Want the money? Want the deals? Field good teams and don't lose.

Regardless of it being his job to hoard this money for the Big 10, and he's doing a damn fine job, I think the BCS needs to die.

Should I be careful for what I wish? I hope so.


Mike 11:32 PM  

Seems that this post could've had the same title as the last one (the Friday Beer Blogging post).

Smitty 8:49 AM  

Ha! Arrogant Bastard indeed.

Mike 9:21 AM  

I'm confused. It's Saturday morning, and I read no new review of a tasty brew at "Around The Keg" yesterday.

I must be confused. Is it Friday morning today?

Smitty 11:21 AM  

No confusion.....busy week and I wasn't in front of my computer all day...

I will endeavor to consume more beer,

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