I linked to this before, but it’s worth another mention. Flexing the postseason to take into account the real world results of the regular season makes sense to me. Maybe it’s just another way of acknowledging the relevance of the regular season, but this is both succinct and accurate: “The regular season may do a terrible job at selecting the country’s best team, but it functions rather well at determining who the best team isn’t.”
The reason I bring this up is that I hadn’t seen
Peter Bean’s Burnt Orange Nation’s [ed. note: see comment below about authorship] rather elaborate proposal for flexing the postseason, which he brought up in a post that predates the one I linked to. And here’s what he says about the networks’ objection to the uncertainty created by flexing playoffs:
… Let me make this clear: there is the same number of Bowl games and BCS games every year. The only difference is whether the winner of one or 2 of those games goes on to play in another. And remember, if you have an 8-team playoff, you’re effectively replacing the BCS games with the playoff and if you have a 16-team playoff, you probably need to scrap the whole Bowl System altogether. Maybe the TV stations would be more excited about those than what we have now. But they certainly wouldn’t be LESS excited about the flex system than they are now…
Bean wrote that was written before the 2007 season played out in all its messy, glorious fun. (It’s still my favorite season of college football.) So it’s fair to say that his proposal isn’t as wide open as what Josh Levin came up with – Levin would have ditched a playoff that year; Bean BON’s concept would have limited it to four participants, which would have led to some serious squawking – but it’s far easier for the networks to swallow, since there would be some sort of meaningful postseason to broadcast every year.
The strength of flexing is that it attacks the fairness/settle it on the field complaint that’s at the heart of fan frustration with the BCS. Its flaw is that it doesn’t do much to make Jim Delany happy. Which is why it’s little more than a fun theoretical exercise.