Here’s the textbook definition of mission creep, as it pertains to D-1 football playoffs:
“It’ll start off with plus-one, then it’ll go to four or eight or 16 at some point in time — just like the NCAA (basketball) tournament,” he said.
That quote comes, not from some lowly blogger or a pundit, but from Florida State University President T. K. Wetherell.
He’s pretty dismissive about the obstacles to a playoff that many cite.
“In my judgment, if you take every argument that’s been made today and apply it to any other sport on a college campus, then you’d have to cancel the (College) World Series, the Final Four, the soccer tournament,” he said. “If you want to do it, it can be done. …
“Everybody’s going to be sitting here — I don’t know, probably not in my lifetime at Florida State — saying, `You know, we really could move this back. And, by the way, we do play 63 baseball games and we play baseball through two final-exam periods, not one. Somehow, they all seem to graduate and do pretty good. Oh, those basketball players, we have a real problems with academics in basketball, but we seem to play right on through the tournament.”‘
Once the problems are solved and the “ungodly amount of money that it will produce” starts rolling in, Wetherell expects everyone decide it’s a good thing and want more of it.
And in the end, it’s not about the fans, it’s about something else.
“We’ll spend all that money. We’re not going to bank it,” Wetherell said. “Then the question will be, `Where do I get me more money?”‘
A playoff will be the logical alternative, Wetherell said.
“And the fight won’t be over whether we do it or not anymore,” he said during a break following the session. “The fight’s going to be on the split. It’s going to be a totally different discussion.”
Be careful what you wish for, folks. Remember that you won’t be taking part in the decision making process. You just get to enjoy the results.
UPDATE: Dennis Dodd has more from Wetherell.
A college football playoff is inevitable. That against-the-tide prediction comes from Florida State president T.K. Wetherell. All he has to do is look at the gas pump.
“How am I going to get people to drive from Miami to Tallahassee, Fla., with gas at four dollars a gallon, to watch us play UT-Chattanooga?” Wetherell said Friday.
No disrespect to Chattanooga (OK, maybe some), which comes to Florida State for the 2008 season’s second game, but Wetherell suggested we might be reaching that playoff tipping point. It will take some kind of financial crisis, he said, to make hard-line Division I-A presidents change their view of a playoff.
So, what’s gonna happen is that fans will keep buying ever more expensive gas to travel to see all other organized sports that have playoffs, but will desert college football in droves.
It doesn’t take as much depth to manage a $1.5 billion a year budget as I thought.