Jay Christensen, aka The Wiz of Odds, takes an exhaustive look at schools’ bowl expenses and revenues and, not surprisingly for a playoff proponent, finds them wanting. He enlists noted BCS scold Andrew Zimbalist for support at one point. Zimbalist’s logic is rather interesting:
… Supporters of the 35-game bowl system argue that the postseason turns a profit. Technically, this is correct, but only because of the BCS, which this season distributed a reported $174.07 million from its five games. Of that amount, 83.4 percent went to the automatic qualifier conferences — the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 10 and Southeastern conferences.
The 30 non-BCS bowl games are, at best, a break-even venture. Without the ticket guarantee, it is likely that half the bowls would not exist.
“[Division I-A] needs a football playoff, just like all other NCAA sports,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College in Mass.
“The bowl games are all a silly extravagance, and, save the BCS cartel, all significant money drains on athletic programs already in the red. The fact that a participating school has to buy up over 300k in tickets to its own game is as clear an indication as you can get that these competitions have no market justification.”
In other words, college football needs to replace the BCS cartel with a larger cartel run by the NCAA. Antitrust law, ftw!