Blog Entry

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:31 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 2:43 pm
NEW ORLEANS – Judging from early returns on the BCS reformation front, don’t get your hopes up about even a modest college football playoff.

The BCS commissioners will meet here Tuesday for the first time formally this year in what promises to be a historic 2012. Changes are expected to the BCS after the current four-year contract expires after the 2014 bowls (2013 season). Because of television contracts, the commissioners must come forward this year with what roundly assumed to be a new postseason model.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive went on record last week as saying there will be major changes in college football’s postseason.

“Not just tweaks,” Slive added.

That was major news from one of the game’s power brokers who was previously on the fence about the issue. Since then, Slive has gone underground not speaking to media about the subject. BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Monday that, “Whatever we do, we have to protect the regular season.”

That begs the question whether a much-discussed Plus One (four-team playoff) would intrude on the regular season. That’s code for the sport’s attendance and TV ratings, both of which are at all-time highs lately.

“The truest thing that’s been said is the preservation of the regular season,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s senior vice president, college sports programming. “Obviously we fully subscribe to that as well. The money that flows to the conferences for regular season rights really underpins the enterprise a lot of ways. To us, it’s critically important.”

That led one source close to the process to say he expects “business as usual” in the BCS after the 11 commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick get closer to the process during the annual BCS meetings in late April.

“A lot of sports will kill for the problems college football has, from a media standpoint,” Magnus added, speaking at the Football Writers Association of America annual breakfast meeting. 

Hancock stressed that, “tomorrow is just the beginning. Everything is on the table.”

It is almost a certainty that automatic qualifying status is gone after the current deal. That has one of the BCS’ biggest hang-ups. The champions of the six major conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big East, Pac12, Big Ten) awarded a BCS bowl. The ACC and Big East have particularly underperformed during the history of the BCS.

What form the sport’s postseason will take in 2014 is up for much debate:

--One solution could be a so-called, unseeded Plus One. The top two teams would be selected after the major bowls to play for the national championships. Those teams would be selected by BCS standings, a human committee or both.
That raises the question whether the Rose Bowl would want to participate. The bowl and its partners (Pac-12, Big Ten) prefer not to be in anything that would resemble a national playoff.

--A four-team Plus One is a possibility but it wouldn’t work this year. It would include two teams (Alabama, Stanford) that didn’t win their conferences. Meanwhile, Pac-12 champion, Oregon, would be left out.

--Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has proposed the bowls get out of conference partnerships (except for the Rose Bowl) and the sport merely stages a 1 vs. 2 game each season.

--Within those two proposals is the possibility that bowls themselves may bid on getting those games. There is already a perception that the Cotton Bowl may join the BCS championship rotation in the next contract.

--The Mountain West is on record proposing a full-on 16-team playoff. That probably won’t happen but hasn’t stopped commissioner Craig Thompson from trying.

“There’s got to be a better system,” Thompson said.

Hancock said the process could last until June.

“The start of the second quarter will happen here tomorrow,” he said. “There’s no leader in the clubhouse.”

After New Orleans, the commissioners next meet in February in Dallas.

In other news:

--The issue of whether the Mountain West gains automatic qualifying status for the next two seasons will not be addressed anytime soon. Thompson said too many of the 12 BCS Presidential Oversight Committee are out of pocket to vote on the matter.

The Mountain West is asking for a waiver to be included in the BCS on a temporary basis in the last two years of the current rotation in 2012 and 2013. The conference has attained some of the benchmarks set for BCS inclusion, but not all. The Mountain West would need nine of 12 votes.

“I’m not overly optimistic,” Thompson said.

--Virginia Tech president Charles Steeger has formally replaced Graham Spanier as chairman of that oversight committee. Spanier left Penn State late last year amid the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:48 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

"After careful consideration... that I'd have to subscribe to probably 3 different cable channels to see all the bowl games I wanted to see, Im walking awy from college football. I'm cancelling (or not renewing ) my college football package. Because I follow Ohio State, I paid $100 to see two extra games, I wouldn't have seen, and I didn't get to see their bowl game. It wasn't availble where I live, at any cost. So, I'm throwing in the towel. I'll watch the Buckeye on ABC when they are on, which means I'll get to see at least Ohio State vs Michigan. That's the way it was for years... now with the bowl games going to cable etc. the lustre of the 257 channels is gone and it's back to corporate rip-offs ville. Sad, but, these people don't care about the fans, they care about the money. If the Universites just see their fans as cash cows..why would the cable companies see it any different? You can't realy blame them, but i can't give them my money any more either."

Now you know how fans of the Mountain West teams feel.  They have been stuck doing this for years (except they need 4 completely different networks to see all 12 games and one of those networks may or may not even be available in some markets).  The bottom line is that it is insane and the fans are the ones who suffer for it.  Can't wait for the days when each game will be handled by a completely different network and you will need to have 12 different networks (all of which require some $150-$200 a month package) to watch a season of football and you may or may not be able to see the bowl game. 

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 9:59 am

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

What many miss is that FBS having bowls is unique. No other division has bowls. No other sport has bowls. It is unique. Put in a play off and the bowls go away and that specialness is lost.

Some of us like that D-IA is different, special, unique. Some of us believe the pagentry and history and traditions and rivalries are worth keeping.

Some of us believe the college football is much, much more that merely determining which team is "best."

Many of us know that no matter what is constructed it will never be satisfactory. Did conference championship games get rid of the tiebreaker controversies? No. It just pushed it onto the division level. Will a post season tournament get rid of the contentions about which teams should be playing for the mythical national title? No. It will just push it down a few places in the rankings.

Anyone who has actually looked at the D-IAA tournament will realize that format is not good for solving what some believe are problems with D-IA. So becareful what you wish for.

And don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.        

Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:54 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

The BCS was an improvement over the old bowl and poll system, but my hope back in the 90s was that the BCS would grow into a proper playoff.  After all, all other sports, and even football at all other levels, have a playoff.  The blatant cynicism, double-talk, and disregard for the fans that I have seen over the years  has convinced me that the BCS is a monopoly that should be busted, if not by the government, then by the consumers (fans) themselves.  Therefore I have decided to boycott the bowls, and urge others to join in.  I have not watched a bowl game in 3 years, and although it's sometimes painful, will not do so until a reasonably inclusive and fair system is instituted.  As the song goes, "nothing ever changes unless there's some pain".

Now, I know the bowls did not create the BCS mess, and I have nothing against them per se, but I'm hoping if enough people join me in this boycott and they see the writing on the wall, they will perhaps threaten to break ranks with the BCS and force them to adopt a playoff.

Why do I want a playoff?  Because I think every team that goes undefeated deserves a chance to become champions.  Because all this endless arguing about who's better than whom because they beat so-and-so by so much is vastly inferior to watching games that mean something.  Because it will make the regular season more meaningful, not less.  If you don't believe me, consider how many teams will be playing their hearts out for a chance to get into a 16-team or even an 8-team tourney, and thus get at least a small shot at winning it all.  Because crowning a champion on the field is so much better than holding a popularity contest.

The BCS was a half-step in the right direction, but now it's time to deliver the goods or go away.

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:03 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

Considering the lackluster ratings of the bowls, BCS is not delivering what the fans of college football want -- a quality product.

Decreased attendance, declining ratings and less return on investment from the bowls will eventually correct itself as markets do.

A Playoff is what fans want.  Quality matchups and a National Champion that earns the title.  Not a popularity contest.

The bleeding will continue until we get that.

But the BCS just doesn't get it.  Yet. 

So, BCS, don't expect fans to watch boring games or pay to attend bad matchups anytime soon either.

Know your market.  Deliver what they want.  Or, you'll go out of business.

Want proof?  How about this:

Overnight ratings for Alabama's 21-0 victory over LSU were the lowest for a national championship in the 14-year history of the BCS. The All-SEC affair, the first championship pairing teams from the same conference, drew a 13.8 overnight rating on ESPN.
Just look below at what we could have had this year and the incredible games, while still working within the bowl system:

2012 NCAA College Football Championship Bracket (A Better System)

Round #1

Capital One: #9 South Carolina v #8 Kansas State (Winner v LSU in Sugar)

Cotton: #12 Baylor v #5 Oregon (Winner v Alabama in Orange)

Insight: #11 Virginia Tech v #6 Arkansas (Winner v OK State in Fiesta)

Outback: #10 Wisconsin v #7 Boise State (Winner v Stanford in Rose)

Round #2

Winner of Sugar and Orange in Semi #1

Winner of Fiesta and Rose in Semi #2 Winners of Semis in National Championship Game

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: January 10, 2012 4:34 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

The BCS is a smoke & mirror trick.

The BCS was created by the conferences to ensure nothing upsets the current Bowl system.  That is - NO PLAYOFFs.

To change thing - fans need to contact their school - and their conference President and say things like ..I will boycott any conference championship game until there is a playoff system.  And then do it.

The BCS states they are against a playoff system because:
1 - it reduces the importance of the regular season
2 - it places too much strain on the student athelete

And then the conferences expand so they can have a conference title game - the kids play an extra game and the conference keep the money.

Divison II, the smaller schools, now called the Football Championship Series - has a 16 team playoff.  If they can do it, why can't the BIG BOYS in the FBS?  Reason - and its the only reason - there are too many bowl games for the FBS schools and no one wants to supset that ca$$h cow.  There are 35 bowl games, and only 120 teams in FBS.  No wonder this year there was so many 6-6 teams playing each other.

Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:39 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

I agree.  I get so sick of the fans who think anyone not playing for the national championship is irrelevant.  I enjoy Top 25 matchups, I enjoy watching teams near the Top 25 when they play other known or ranked teams, I looked forward to MSU vs Georgia and ND vs FSU this Bowl season.  There needs to be some regulation to stop the free-for-all of TV contracts and Bowl Games as witnessed last night.  Teams like Alabama and LSU are now paying 8 to 9 million (rough estimate) more per year for coaching staff's than school's playin in the MAC.  Gaps like that could yield a competetive inbalance that over time may turn fans from lesser schools away from the game.

Since: Jan 2, 2012
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:28 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

Leave College Football Alone!  The problem are fans and TV personalities are never satisfied.  We have pro football.  College is different.  You cant take ~120 D1 schools and find a way to crown a true champion.  Everyone wants March Madness, but few people pay attention to cbball regular season games and then the question is the winner of the tourny the best team, the luckiest team, or just the team that was hot during the only 3 week stretch that matters.  The only problem in CFootball is the businesses trying to market and profit from an amatuer sport.  Nothing we can do no that, but the NCAA needs to find a way to put some regulation to keep the sport from becoming all about teams that can make bowls and TV the most money.  I accept that ND, and Ohio State, etc will get special treatment because the can fill stadiums and get TV ratings,  but if it is allowed to go any further than it is currently, it could ruin it for fans of the other~ 80 schools.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:22 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

I think many of you are delusional.  These types of problems come up every year in college football, and guess what, the sport has never been more popular.  The post season for college football is a joke in many ways, but it works for college football.  College basketball has a great post season, but their regular season is pretty much meaningless, which is why their TV ratings are so terrible.  Give up college football if you want, but there are still way too many people that enjoy it for your omission to have any meaning.  I am hoping that we get a seeded plus one soon, but I can wait. 

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:16 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

The sad thing that all of you are missing is the people in the BCS could give two %%hits if the bowl games are sold out.  The participating schools MUST, meaning are forced to, buy any leftover tickets.  The BCS powers that be get their money regardless of how many fans show up.  It's the schools that lose out which is why I dont understand why so many of them are "pro" bowl games.  Sports Illustrated did a very nice article on how much money these schools lose by going to the bowls, with the exception of the biggest of the big bowls.  I find it ironic that they say a plus one wouldnt work because it would include two teams that didnt win their conference while one conference champ was left out.  Umm...they had no problem putting Alabama in and look how that worked out.  Oregon lost twice (albeit one was to LSU) can't lose two games and gripe that you deserve to be national champion.

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Don't expect Plus One anytime soon

I agree with pretty much everyone else on this board. I'm giving up on college football until it gets fixed! They are losing ALOT of fans recently. Dont know about the rest of you. But, I spend alot of money supporting my teams! (jerseys, hats, games, cable, even Bowl Games) And if enough fans like me are DONE, eventually they will feel it. Half of these Bowl Games are empty anyways. Tickets bought by corporate sponsors. Sad really, how the BCS has ruined something that was once pure!!!!

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