You work your butt off to sponsor a true national title game, you have the benefit of exciting semi-finals going for you, and this is your reward:
Montana’s 24-17 win Saturday over visiting Appalachian State in a second-half snowstorm provided a riveting finish, but it cost the city of Chattanooga more than $1 million.
The Football Championship Subdivision finalists are set for Friday night with Montana and Villanova, a combination that will travel the fewest fans since the title game came to Finley Stadium in 1997…
The point isn’t that this delegitimizes the 1-AA title game, but that slapping a playoff label on a postseason format in and of itself doesn’t automatically translate into greater riches.
Postseason game sponsors are rational actors who aren’t in the business of setting up money losing matchups. Rail against that as much as you’d like, but if a sponsor is obligated to hand out $30 million+ to a couple of schools, it’s going to make an effort to arrange for a game that gives it the best shot it can get to cover the numbers first. It’ll worry about the quality of the participants later. That’s how crudely capitalism works sometimes.