Hey, don’t take my word for it.

From a guy who says this – “March Madness is quite simply the gold standard to which all other American team-sport postseasons are held. (Ask college football.)”comes this:

All postseasons expand; authentically exciting postseasons expand exponentially
The college basketball Story of the Decade has clearly been this month’s discussion of expanding the NCAA tournament field to 96 teams. Whether the final number turns out to be 96 or 128 or something else, I think it’s next to inevitable that the field will indeed grow. Networks love postseason sports because they draw large DVR-impervious and demographically-attractive audiences. The more hours of this content the networks (old-school or cable) can get the happier they are, and Major League Baseball, the NFL, and the NBA have all been delighted to inflate their postseasons accordingly over the past two decades. Now it’s the NCAA’s turn, and when a primal force of sports-business nature like this is combined with a warm and fuzzy but no less true statement like “it will mean more mid-majors get in,” resistance is futile. Watch.

And this:

… By late afternoon the expected sound bite from NCAA senior vice president Greg Shaheen had arrived: “Nothing is a done deal.” Shaheen also said that his organization is merely conducting “due diligence” and that the NCAA has to “look at what our membership wants.”

What the NCAA’s membership wants is more teams getting into the tournament and more money in their pockets. Expanding the field satisfies both wants. Due diligence requires looking at all contingencies, but if Ourand and Smith are correct none of the scenarios that the NCAA is currently reviewing involve what is usually the baseline course of action, the status quo…

And this, too:

… Expanding the field to 96 teams means I’ll be watching along with even more of those strange beings known as casual fans, interlopers from no fewer than 31 additional universities who will suddenly be much more interested in the tournament. If the NCAA and, more importantly, the networks thought for a moment that yesterday’s outrage might actually translate into reduced viewership, this idea would be dead on arrival. But they don’t think that’s true, and history backs them up. Since the NCAA tournament went to a 64-team format in 1985, the other American team sports have expanded their postseasons to find that viewers, for all their churlish talk of ”devaluing the regular season,” are there waiting for them in force and ready to watch ads when championships are at stake.

What to take from this?

  1. TV drives the postseason more than any other force known to man, blogger or commenter.
  2. The NCAA is just as money hungry as the next organization.  Maybe more so than the BCS conferences, because it has more mouths to feed.
  3. The postseason – any postseason –  grows for one primary reason, and it ain’t “settling it on the field”.
  4. As long as “we’ll watch” outweighs “that’s too much” (and based on what we see with other sports, that would mean a postseason that includes about a third of the participants), brushing aside concerns about the risk of an expanded playoff in D-1 football is little more than wishful thinking.

23 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

23 responses to “Hey, don’t take my word for it.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    My first reaction was that our beloved bowl season will become a bracket sheet for millions of people.

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  2. 1. TV drives the postseason more than any other force known to man, blogger or commenter.
    they draw large DVR-impervious and demographically-attractive audiences.

    2. The NCAA is just as money hungry as the next organization. Maybe more so than the BCS conferences, because it has more mouths to feed.
    True, but it does open the door to everybody, not just the select conferences that control it. It may be a cartel, but everyone is invited.

    3. The postseason – any postseason – grows for one primary reason, and it ain’t “settling it on the field”.
    As long as it ends up settling it on the field (with more than two participants) it is a good thing, regardless of motivation.

    4. As long as “we’ll watch” outweighs “that’s too much” (and based on what we see with other sports, that would mean a postseason that includes about a third of the participants), brushing aside concerns about the risk of an expanded playoff in D-1 football is little more than wishful thinking.
    Concerns about expansion should be secondary to determining an actual champion from a pool larger than two. Especially when the process of choosing the participants resembles a beauty pageant.

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    • Prov

      Actually concerns about expansion should be at the forefont of any tournament discussions. And also, what “process of choosing” do you think they will use to select the pool for a playoff?

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      • The subjective process would only apply to at-large bids, if there would even be at-large bids. Any system that says an undefeated team cannot participate is a flawed system.

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        • Prov

          How many undefeated BCS teams have been left out since the BCS started? 3 or 4? I truly can’t remember. Why should the process be changed for something that happens once or twice a decade?

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          • Forgive my hyperbole, but that is like saying due process should be eliminated because the police usually get it right.

            In ten years, the BCS has eliminated 5+ undefeated teams subjectively. 2 in 1 year on two occasions!

            I hate Auburn! Still, how can an undefeated team from the SEC be eliminated? That is like sentencing an innocent man to death. (apology previously given)

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            • Prov

              I remember Auburn…and Cinci last year (who proved they didn’t belong anyway). I don’t remember the other BCS teams that were left out. Either way, I don’t see the point in, year in – year out, giving 2 and 3 loss teams a chance to play for the Title just because of those exclusions. Part of what makes college football exciting for me is the premium the system puts on regular season wins. And the fact that only the truly elite teams in a given year get access to the National Title. I shutter at the thought of a college team pulling starters, ala the Colts this year, in order to rest them for the playoffs. I could probably compromise with some sort of Plus-1, but the problem is, the NCAA has already proven with basketball that it would never end there. And THAT is what really scares me.

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              • Just wait until an exceptionally strong year for the SEC and BigXII. Both conference champs carry 2 losses but are arguably still the best teams in the nation, but due to the strong schedule they played they will be left out because computers and voters eliminate them. Most years my money would be on the 2 loss SEC champ winning a tourney, but you value the Mountain West regular season more than the level of competition in the SEC.

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              • Macallanlover

                And this post is exactly why it is difficult to have a discussion on this subject, it always ends up with the ridiculous claims getting everyone fired up and off subject (meaningless season, 2-3 loss teams making regular appearances, guaranteed expansion ala March Madness, undefeated teams are what this is all about, players being held out of games like the NFL, season would be too long, too much class time missed, etc.) Give the playoff proponents a little credit, no one wants that, the regular season is sacred to us as well. An 8 team playoff would ADD value to the regular season, not diminish it.

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                • Prov

                  You’re right, that 11-2 ACC champ this past year would have really ADDED some serious value. And as far as tournament expansion goes, the basketball tournament started with 8 teams too.

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                • Macallanlover

                  Actually, it would have. Having the conference champ included shuts that group of teams’ fanbases up because they had their chance. It is about inclusion of legit conferences sending their representative. A 2 loss SEC Champ gives the title holder credibility because they won a tourney over our rep. You will never get the conferences to admit they are inferior, even though most are. Where do you draw the line? The six BCS champs, a playin game from the highest two reps of the mid-majors, and one wildcard for the highest rated non-winner. That will satisfy just about every one—8 teams, that would be all it takes. You can speculate on why we would screw that up later, but that is all that is required to take away the arguments of 98% of the fans. Close enough, so I would put a 2 loss VT/Miami/FSU type ACC rep in for that reason.

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      • Phocion

        Speaking of Internet Meme…

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  3. Macallanlover

    In it’s purest form a democracy would have every single citizen in a town/state/country vote on every issue. For practical reasons, we have delgates, or representatives, represent our votes and call it good (at least it once was.) A drive to reach “the best” in college sports is comparable, it isn’t practical to have every team in the “tourney” so it needs representatives although in college basketball, it is conceivable they could include everyone. In CFB, not an option.

    It is not necessary to destroy what it is good to get something better. Could it happen? Sure, but it doesn’t have to be. Why accept the inevitability of screwing something up? I don’t disagree there will always be those “all inclusive” types who want every school t0 get a trophy and feel good about themselves, but that is not sufficient reason to delay fixing the issue so many want addressed.

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    • Why accept the inevitability of screwing something up?

      If for no other reason, because the people who make the decisions about the basketball tourney would be in the same position to shape the football postseason.

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      • Macallanlover

        That mentality would certainly be troubling. Going in, the drivers of such a process should make a strong point that expansion is not permitted, perhaps putting a huge price/fine, say $2-3 million to each of the 120 D1 schools, would make it prohibitive for the NCAA to make that move. The justification would be that expansion beyond the exclusive level damages the current franchise many programs profit greatly from.

        Making the regular season games less meaningful/attractive is detrimental, eight teams and four home field spots insure that doesn’t happen (in fact it makes EACH game crucial for those teams in contention.) Despite all my support for a playoff, I have never wanted an NFL, MLB, or NBA type of solution.

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      • A tourney with too many teams is certainly more just and credible than one with too few.

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        • If hyperbole is the theme of the day, then why don’t we just skip that whole pesky regular season and have a single elimination tournament instead. That way, the “more teams is better” meme will be completely satisfied because everyone gets a chance!

          I mean what’s the point of the regular season besides providing meaningful data from which to draw a conclusion about the best teams? Not like any other sports use a regular season to determine their post season participants. Nope, nothing to see there.

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          • How about the regular season decides the conference champs and all conference champs get in at a minimum?

            Nah, some people wouldn’t give a rat’s behind about the regular season if a playoff existed. Therefore we should just vote!

            It has to be all or nothing, doesn’t it?

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            • All snide comments aside, that’s exactly the point. Until those that support a playoff can get unified in their idea of a playoff and how it won’t expand to the point that devalues the regular season (which is what makes college football the greatest sport in America and college basketball the least important until March), people like me are never going to support that. That’s not to say a playoff isn’t necessarily better or the BCS isn’t bad, but the fact is there is no unified playoff idea that prevents what concerns folks like me and the Senator the most.

              If more teams is so much better then why does nobody give a crap about college basketball until March?

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              • First, baseball and basketball play so many games… that devalues their regular seasons.
                Second, Georgia was eliminated fairly early on. That did nothing to diminish the value of the remaining games as far as I was concerned. I hardly think a playoff would have done accomplished what 5 losses couldn’t.
                Third, I agree, there are as many playoff proposals out there as there are playoff proponents. I content neither you, not the Senator, were lobbying for the BCS before it was sprung on us. I do not expect the NCAA to hold a contest and accept fan submissions for revamping their system of determining a champion. I just want the NCAA to actually determine their champion and not allow 6 power conferences to usurp the responsible that belongs to the NCAA in every other sport. Me, and my fellow playoff advocates, offer our “plans” as mere evidence that the BCS is not the only way things can be done.

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                • Hackerdog

                  “Me, and my fellow playoff advocates, offer our “plans” as mere evidence that the BCS is not the only way things can be done.”

                  You’re right. Things could be much worse.

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            • Hackerdog

              You want to tell Florida that they can’t go to the tournament because Cincinnati won the Big East, which makes them automatically better?

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