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?
… 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?