Tuesday, August 14, 2012

College football playoffs on the horizon?

This is a bit dated but still interesting: Inside Higher Ed reports on Playoff Politics

"The move to a playoff does represent “a little bit of bowing” to pressure from fans and sports media who are dissatisfied with the system currently used to pick a Division I champion, Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz said. That system uses a combination of mathematical formulas and sportswriter and coaches’ polls to select the teams that will compete in the Bowl Championship Series title game – and it has come to questionable results more than once.
This year, for instance, the system bypassed Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma State University to pit Southeastern Conference champion Louisiana State University against that same conference’s runner-up, the University of Alabama (a repeat, furthermore, of a ridiculously hyped match-up earlier in the season dubbed the “game of the century”).
But there's far more at stake than just who gets into the national championship. The fate of the other four prized BCS bowl games -- the Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls -- hangs in the balance.
While all 12 conference commissioners have sat in on the meetings that are shaping the playoff, those who run the six BCS conferences make the most money and carry the most weight. And before the BCS did away with the “automatic qualifier” designation last month, which automatically placed the champion of each BCS conference into one of the four top bowls, they also had direct, lucrative ties to one of those five widely watched games. (It also likely played a role in the frenzy of conference realignment in recent years.)
So while commissioners like Larry Scott of the Pacific-12 Conference and Jim Delany of the Big 10 Conference have cited the tradition and sentimentality of the bowls as reason to keep them intact moving forward, there are also financial benefits to doing so. That's why talk of a tournament has revolved around keeping the bowls intact in some form, and tacking a four-team playoff onto that. 
In the meantime, Big 12, SEC Agree to Pit Champions in Bowl

"The Big 12 and Southeastern Conference champions will meet in a new game starting after the 2014 season, unless one or both are selected to play in a planned four-team national playoff, the Big 12 announced today. If a champion reaches the playoff, another team from the same conference will be selected for the game. The bowl game’s location will be announced at a later date.

"The news comes as leaders of the Bowl Championship Series negotiate major-college football’s first playoff, which would replace the current one-game BCS championship and begin after the 2014 season. BCS leaders hope to have the new playoff format finalized by midsummer and discuss a new TV deal with ESPN, which has first negotiating rights, in October.

"The pact is reminiscent of the longstanding arrangement between the Big Ten and the Pac-12, whose champions usually meet in the Rose Bowl.

"The new bowl represents a potential threat to the Fiesta Bowl, which since the start of the BCS has pitted the Big 12 champion against an at-large team.

"The BCS’s 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are meeting with their constituents about the particulars of the potential playoff, and will meet again June 20. If the four-team plan is approved, it will move to the BCS presidential oversight committee for approval in early July."

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