The “Beebe Rule” – roll over, Joe Barton, and tell Orrin Hatch the news.

You have to pity the good folks at PlayoffPAC a little bit.  Those early salad days of having a favorable political climate for a college football playoff have waned, washed out by the rancor and partisanship of Apocalypse:  Healthcare.  The NCAA has stolen some of the thunder with its expansion plans for the basketball tournament.  Even Ari Fleischer hasn’t said anything particularly arrogant or stupid lately.

So what’s a political action committee supposed to do?

Find a new controversy to gin up, of course.  Like this one. (h/t The Wiz)

… Also this month, the NCAA is expected to approve legislation that will make it easier for teams with mediocre records to play in bowl games. Under the proposed new rule, teams with 6-6 records — the minimum record needed to be bowl-eligible — will be considered just as eligible to play in bowls as teams with winning records. Under current rules, the NCAA requires bowls to give priority to teams with winning records.

For the PlayoffPACsters, this is awful.

… The new bowl eligibility rule “is a naked power grab,” said Matt Sanderson, co-founder of Playoff PAC, a federal political committee pushing for a playoff system.

Sanderson said he fears that the effect of the new rule will be that some bowls with open slots for at-large teams will select power-conference teams with 6-6 records over smaller-conference teams with winning records. For example, if the proposed rule had been in effect last year, the GMAC Bowl could have taken Notre Dame (6-6) over Troy (9-3) — if Notre Dame had wanted to play in it.

“The bowl system is already for the big schools and by the big schools,” Sanderson said. “This is just another slap in the face.”

Got that?  This has nothing to do with the BCS or a college football playoff.  It’s not about the money, either, because the minor bowl games aren’t revenue producers for the schools that participate in them.  What it’s about is audiences:  if you’re running the GMAC Bowl, you’d be insane not to prefer a 6-6 Notre Dame team over a 9-3 Troy squad gracing your game with its presence.  Is there really any question which school is a better draw?

These games are nothing but postseason exhibitions.  They’re fun distractions for those of us who can’t get enough college football to watch.  And that’s the whole point if you’re ESPN or a bowl selection committee – maximizing eyes and asses.  So what’s PlayoffPAC all worked up about here?  And should anybody in Congress care?

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18 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NCAA

18 responses to “The “Beebe Rule” – roll over, Joe Barton, and tell Orrin Hatch the news.

  1. When they start bitching about everything under the sun it starts to become a “boy who cried wolf” situation. With this approach they will wear themselves thin, lose the folks sitting on the fence so nice to see them lose sight of the issue.
    And yes, its smart for bowls to snag power teams. Not for the teams themselves but for the restaurant, hotel and other tourist necessities that work with the bowls to make cash. That’s called logic.

  2. JasonC

    I read this article earlier today: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1072821
    And I got pissed off at the mockery the NCAA makes of itself.
    For the most part I agree with you, Senator, that playoff creep is really bad and playoffs, unless they are very selective and small are not the answer. I know that one of your arguments is that playoffs, especially those like March Madness cheapen the regular season.
    However, nothing cheapens the regular season like expanding to 12 regular season games so more and more teams can feast on cupcakes (FCS games). With the exception of the rare App St-Michigan upset, they add nothing to the the game except for lower-tier teams to mercenary themselves out for losses to keep their football teams afloat.
    If I was running the NCAA, I would make significant changes.
    1. If we are going to play 12 games then bowl teams must have 7 wins to qualify.
    2. Wins against FCS teams do not qualify toward the 7 wins.
    3. No team can play more than 3 FCS teams in any 2 season span.
    4. Like the Senator has suggested Div 1 (FBS) should be kicking teams to the curb to create legitimate conferences, not welcoming in more cannon fodder for the ACC, Big 12 and SEC.
    I know that sucks for the Red Raiders, et al. of the world, but really, how many times do we need to see Florida and Charleston Southern play?

  3. I second everything on JasonC’s list, but unfortunately the horse is pretty much already out of the barn on that one, which is the crux of the problem with PlayoffPAC’s latest tack. Reforming the current bowl structure and stiffening bowl-eligibility requirements would effectively be asking the big-boy conferences to risk giving up bowl berths, and it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for anyone to convince them to do that.

    At any rate, I don’t think the problem Matt Sanderson is railing against really exists in the first place. Holly was telling me yesterday that the Little Caesar’s Bowl just locked in its current conference tie-ins through 2013, and those tie-ins involve pitting the MAC champion or runner-up against the eighth-place team from the Big Ten. Matt Sanderson’s fear of a 6-6 major-conference team leapfrogging a 9-3 mid-major is all but academic because given the surfeit of bowls, that 6-6 BCS-conference team probably already has a bowl invite locked up. Or to look at it another way, if a bowl is desperate enough to start casting about for “at-large” invitees, it’s probably because all the bowl-eligible BCS-conference teams have been snatched up.

    If the fricking eighth-place team from the Big Ten still has an automatic bowl slot waiting for it, then the bowl system has most certainly been cheapened, but it also means Sanderson’s scenario, while certainly good for some outraged press releases and Tweets, is too unlikely in actual practice to really matter.

  4. Go Dawgs!

    Ya know, I can live with the bowl system, but the playoff people have a point here. Any bowl will jump at the chance to take a 6-6 Mississippi State or Vanderbilt or Ole Miss team over Troy when the Trojans go 10-2, with the only losses coming in their money games against BCS teams. I hate to use the F-word… but that crap’s simply not “fair”. If you’re 6-6, in my eyes, you just haven’t done enough to justify a bowl bid. Not even to beautiful and scenic Shreveport.

  5. Who the #^%* do these Washington fatcats think they are telling American businesses who they can and cannot invite to their bowl games?

    The PapaJohns Bowl is privately owned and privately operated and should be able to run itself however it wants!

    Should the government decide who gets healthcare AND who gets to play in Shreveport in December? I say NO!

    *Seriously, though, these are exhibition games that are meant ONLY to make money for the local area. Let them do that to the best of their ability.

  6. JK

    Bowls should be able to pick whoever they want to play in their bowls once its their turn to pick. Am i the only one here who thought this year’s bowl lineup was the most boring one ever? Total garbage… See?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/bowls09/news/story?id=4111912

    it wasn’t always this bad.

    Compare to 1999: http://www.collegefootballpoll.com/1999_archive_bowls.html

    Much more interesting

    Compare to

    Sure, I watched plenty of those “middle tennessee/ southern miss” and “marshall/ohio” games, but thats only because football is better than not watching football. But seriously, bowl season is Christmas season, which is farting around with a bunch of family, and going to parties at friends’ houses season. During that time, everybody knows if there’s a game on that anyone cares about, it trumps whatever other garbage anybody else wants to watch. Its much more difficult to feign genuine interest in a game with teams they’ve heard of than some bullshit “i play in the SunWestMountainUSACoastalAmerican conference and have 1 more win than Notre Dame” schools.

    Bowl season is about watching interesting non-conference match-ups of decent teams that actually have fans.

  7. JK

    “compare to” was a typo; was going to put more bowl seasons in.

  8. Dog in Fla

    “maximizing eyes and asses….should anybody in Congress care?”

    This guy does…

    http://www.secretsofsarahpalin.com/2008/09/02/what-is-john-mccain-looking-at/

  9. DawgPhan

    Seems to me like the market is already handling the FCS issue with the mid-major and d2 schools starting to charge 7 figures and up for the cupcake games. as the price goes up the number of schools that can offer up the money for a cheap win declines, which means more schools looking for home and homes to fill out a schedule instead of stuffing it with cupcakes..

    again…less rules = more better..the market will decide.

  10. LOL, come one, Senator. This is just side-show sensationalism. We all know the powers that be, on both sides are money hungry, power grabbing bureaucrats.

    I do not want my support of a playoff aligned with playoffpac anymore than you want your opposition aligned with Mike Slive and the conference commissioners.