Mandel gets a good story for a change.

Fair is fair:  Stewart Mandel has written a fine column today about the future of the BCS that’s well worth your time to read.

He does a good job highlighting the two big question marks surrounding the debate.  One, of course, is the possible format.

You can start with one dead issue (at least for now)…

Any discussion about the future of college football’s postseason must start with the requisite disclaimer that “the one thing [all] of us are in agreement on is there isn’t going to be a playoff,” said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.

but we’re still left with the struggle over a seeded vs. unseeded plus-one format.  There are obstacles to adapting either.

“If you don’t seed, you don’t really have a fair system,” said Hansen. “The No. 1 conference champion might end up playing the No. 2 team, and then you haven’t accomplished anything except prolong the season. And if you do seed, you’re going to have to take teams out of their traditional bowls, and we’re very much opposed to that.”

Good luck with that, Mr. Slive.

Then, there are the money problems.  One was created when the BCS expanded to five games and let the non-BCS conferences in the door:

Unexcited by the seemingly watered-down system, ABC senior vice president for programming Loren Matthews — whose network’s original, eight-year deal with the BCS was about to come up for renewal — proposed an alternative plan at the BCS’ meetings in Phoenix two months later involving a pure plus-one.

When BCS officials balked, Matthews, whose network had seen its ratings for the non-championship BCS games decline and claimed to have lost money on its original investment — chose to re-up solely with the Rose Bowl, paying a reported $300 million to air the eight Rose Bowl games and two national-title games to be played in Pasadena from 2007-14. Fox stepped in to claim the rights to the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls, paying a reported $320 million for the 2007-10 games (which includes three championship games). The deal represented a meager five percent spike from what ABC had been paying.

Now ABC sounds like it wants back in, which is music to the ears of the bowl committees and conference commissioners.  But it’s not like Loren Matthews’ initial assessment was wrong.

At least one of Matthews’ concerns has come to fruition. The three BCS bowl games to date involving non-BCS teams — Utah-Pittsburgh (2005), Oklahoma-Boise State (2007) and Georgia-Hawaii (2008) — have produced three of the four lowest-rated broadcasts in BCS history. [Emphasis added.]

It sounds like everyone is trying to size up their potential dance partners without knowing whether they’ll be doing the waltz or the twist.

Those are just the two biggest issues.  Mandel raises a bunch more questions that there are no easy answers for.  Again, read the whole piece.  It will make you realize how much the powers that be have to address to make any significant changes in the postseason formula – and how little of it will take into consideration the fans.


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