Dan Wetzel takes his shot at “It’s So Easy”.

I haven’t read Dan Wetzel’s new book, which is both an attack on the BCS and a proposal to replace it with a 16-team playoff, because he’s made his position on both things pretty clear for free at Yahoo!.sports, but I did read Tony Barnhart’s assessment of it this morning, and once again, I can’t help but shake my head over some of the arguments that keep getting recycled by extended playoff proponents.

Like this one:

… the BCS is “lucrative” because it receives about $125 million per year from ESPN to show the games. Wetzel points out through numerous interviews that the a 16-team playoff would generate well over $750 million per year. So conservatively, he argues, the power structure is willing to leave $500 million on the table per year in order to stay in power.

First of all, this ignores the potential hit the power conferences are worried they might take to their regular season cash flows in the wake of an extended postseason format.  College football regular season revenue is by far the biggest source of income for the BCS conference schools.  The guys making the decisions know that they make more postseason money in basketball than they do regular season money.  It’s not a pattern they care to repeat on the football side, mainly because they’re not sharing those regular season moneys with anyone else.

Which leads me to this:  how stupid do you think guys like Jim Delany really are, to deliberately leave half a billion dollars on the table year after year, as Wetzel suggests?  Is there anything in the way he operates that suggests he’s so shortsighted?

Then there’s this.

… Wetzel’s position is that the value of having all of the conference champions included outweighs the exclusion of a third or fourth team from one of the power conferences. It wouldn’t cheapen the regular season, he argues, because seeding would become so important. [Emphasis added.] Having the little guy playing the big guy in his home stadium (Appalachian State at Michigan) would add drama of the first two rounds of the football playoffs similar to the NCAA basketball tournament.

I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means.  Why is it so hard to just come out and say “I like brackets and Cinderellas”?

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18 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

18 responses to “Dan Wetzel takes his shot at “It’s So Easy”.

  1. 81Dog

    the problem with his calculations is simple: he assumes that no school will receive less revenue for anything than they’re currently getting paid for now, and that everyone will receive more revenue for the additional playoff games. This is simplistic at best, and downright stupid at worst.

    One time, a judge tried to explain his view of the wisdom of settling cases to me and my opposing counsel. He said clients don’t always understand that often, the pie is only so big, and there’s a difference between eating pie and making pie.

    I think the pie of available revenue for football broadcasts isn’t that much bigger, if bigger at all, for a playoff system. It’s simply how you cut it up, and how many entities will be eating it.

    If you could guarantee UGA another 10 grand a year for a playoff system, Czar Mike would have been all over it years ago.

  2. Go Dawgs!

    What this guy doesn’t realize is that the BCS conference leaders would farm out their own mothers as tackling dummies for their football programs if it meant picking up another 500 million dollars.

    This clown doesn’t realize that the BCS conference commissioners and presidents care more about who is making money off of the thing than they do who wins the thing. These guys aren’t going to leave a dime on the table. It’s not that they want to ensure that they’re always the ones winning national championships. They want to always be the ones making the cash.

    And guess what? The JV conferences don’t care about Boise not playing for the national championship, either. Buried in the argument is the fact that the non-AQ conferences get less money even when they land in a BCS game. They want to get the cash that the name-brand conferences get! Don’t believe me? These schools have the option of downing themselves into 1-AA conferences and plugging in to the ready-made NCAA playoff format. A real national championship with brackets is played every year! Why don’t they want to go? MONEY and EXPOSURE… which is basically just like saying “MONEY” twice.

  3. Which leads me to this: how stupid do you think guys like Jim Delany really are, to deliberately leave half a billion dollars on the table year after year, as Wetzel suggests? Is there anything in the way he operates that suggests he’s so shortsighted?

    Agreed completely. That’s what I don’t get about these people that act like a college football playoff is going to inject some huge cash flow into the pie that isn’t already there. Do they sincerely believe guys like Delany and Slive are so stupid to not see that? If there truly was an additional half a billion dollars to be made the powers that be would have insituted a playoff system yesterday.

    • Macallanlover

      I do think Slive could be that stupid, but feel Delany, while maybe not that dumb, is more about control and advantaged positions. The other BCS conferences let him and ND bully them in the intitial negotiations of the BCS structure. It wouldn’t have taken long to have them on their knees if they had called the bluff, imo.

      The 16 team playoff is a weak idea to me, but with 8 teams Wetzel is right about the top seeds playing for opening round home field advantage preventing any loss of importance for the regular season. In fact, it would enhance regular season games.

      • Slive would be fired the same day the SEC presidents found out he was leaving a half billion dollars a year on the table.

        Stupid? Maybe. Greedy? Definitely.

        • Macallanlover

          Wasn’t really dealing with the specific number since it is so difficult to quantify what that package would be worth net of change in bowl revenues. I don’t think it is near that high. I would take a $100MM+ from that fund and bribe all D1 schools just to get the vote of the “poor folks”. Sort of a Dimocrat ruse to get folks hooked on the needle.

          • Not sure what you’re getting at here – $100 million spread to all D-1 schools works out to less than $1 million per institution. What would expect to accomplish with that?

            • Macallanlover

              Had one, to one and a half million per school in mind. Doesn’t sound like much to elitist, snob schools like us, but would be huge for the poor folks. Remember when we played Hawaii? Their entire recruiting budget that year was $50K. Many of these small schools take beat-down games for $300-500K. I expect the AD’s at New Mexico, UTEP, So. Miss, MTSU would fall all over themselves for that kind of
              found” money….it would be a bonanza for them. Each school has one vote, just saying.

  4. The Realist

    If ESPN came to the BCS commissioners today with a $500 million dollar proposal for a playoff on top of what they already get, there would be plans in place for a playoff as early as tomorrow.

    By the way…

    $750M – 125M = $625M > $500M

    There is about $125 Mil missing… it sounds like the government’s accountant put this together. Playing fast and loose with these kind of numbers just reiterates that they are all made up in someone’s head and are not actually figures that someone has put in a proposal.

  5. gernblanski

    Its not just the $$$ but also the power that comes with it too.

    As it stands right now, the BCS conference AD’s & Commissioners have far greater power for football than they currently have in basketball.

    If they decide to adopt a 16-team playoff, they lose control over the post-season to the NCAA. Then all the D-1 AD’s and commissioners will get an opportunity to have some say in the process.

  6. Slaw Dawg

    Besides the $ issue, where is the evidence that a 16 game playoff would result in a more exciting overall sporting experience?

    I grant that the bowl games are generally not as competitively intense as do-or-die playoff games. And I admit that I’m so Cro-Magnon that I still don’t like the idea of “wild card” teams (or even the DH, for Pete’s sake). But no team sport regular season is as exciting as Division IA (or whatever it’s called now) college football, because so many more regular season games count than in other sports, and, of course, there are more of them. That keeps coaches, players and fans engaged, rivalry games intense and butts in seats.

    UGA could be a lock to win the SEC and go to a BCS bowl, but lose to Tech and we probably lose a shot at a national title (tho I know that losing to FSU didn’t stop UF from winning the ’96 title). In the NFL, you shrug and say “well, we can still make it to the Super Bowl.” In NCAA basketball, you shrug and say “well, we can still make it to the Final Four.” in college f’ball, typically the Big Dream is done. The Super Bowl and NCAA basketball are great, but I’d prefer to keep what’s unique about the sport that matters most, at least in these parts.

    • That’s the thing: for a lot of people, it’s not so much that D-1 football is broken as it is that they want the possibility of upsets in the postseason to make that more exciting. And that’s fine. I just wish they’d be upfront about why they really want a 16-team playoff.

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    Senator, I agree with your argument for the most part. However, you’ve got to admit conferences like the Big 10+1 and Pac 10 have left a lot of money on the table by not having conference championships.

    Of course it’s not the same as a 16 team playoff, but you have to shake your head and wonder why those commish’s would bypass the conference championship money bomb for sooo many years.

  8. They bypass the conference championship games b/c without it they have a better shot at getting TWO teams in the BCS games and a better shot at getting ONE of them in the title game.

  9. Russ The Temporary Mascot

    The 16 team playoff is a bad idea.

    They would be better off penalizing the teams who play all those non-conference games against cupcakes.

    Russ.

  10. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The plus 1 game, if done right, is the way to go. #1 plays #4 in the Sugar; #2 plays #3 in the Fiesta. The winners play in the BCSNCG. Rotate the games so all the major bowls host a playoff game every other year or so. This protects the integrity of the regular season. The best team in college football would certainly be one of the top 4 in the polls so you get a true champion decided on the field. Is it perfect? No. A deserving team at #5 will gripe about being shut out of the process but that sure beats a deserving team at #3 griping about being shut out. How many times have we seen a team come from #5 or further back after the end of the regular season to win the MNC anyway? Only once that I can recall–Notre Dame with Montana at QB.

  11. Judgedawg

    W Cobb Dawg, the reason the 10 team PAC 10 and 11 team
    Big 10 don’t have conference championship games is because NCAA rules do not allow conferences smaller than 12 to have them. You notice both leagues deny geography and tradition to expand to qualify for one.

  12. Frank

    I hope Dan Wetzel has $500 million packed up his ass because that’s exactly where his financial figures come from. Does anybody really believe this guy loves college football? Or even sports in general? Or is it just his pain of a job to crank out sports related blog posts and this little non-issue of a college playoff can get him some attention and a book deal?