Joe Posnanski is a college football playoff proponent. And while I think he’s not completely right about the last BCS title game, I do think he’s on to something here:
… Many people around America legitimately did not care. The game drew its lowest ratings in a few years. Bowl games in general drew significantly lower ratings — the lowest since the BCS began…
… What happened after the game? The predictable. College football people began to panic. Bad ratings? Bad game? No hype? We all know 2011 was a terrible year for college football for many reasons — suddenly college football does not seem quite as invulnerable. And voila, like magic, Big 10 Commission Jim Delany, who had widely been viewed as a leader of the anti-playoff forces, said that he wanted to have have the playoff “conversation.” NCAA President Mark Emmert came out in favor of a four-team playoff. Reports emerged saying there is now “momentum” for a playoff.
I think a four-team playoff is inevitable at this point. They’re just debating the details. And I do agree it’s a reaction because some panic has set in over the ratings drop. What I differ with Posnanski about is the root cause. He thinks the rematch, combined with it being a bad game, is to blame. But BCS title games tend to be lopsided affairs. That hasn’t mattered too much, until now. That’s because moving college football’s showcase game to pay TV is more to blame for the numbers falling.
And that’s not going away with a playoff. Which gives Posnanski’s prediction an air of inevitability.
Yes, there will be a playoff. It will begin as a four-team playoff. Get ready for it — and get ready for the people in charge insisting that it will always be a four-team playoff (a Football Final Four, if you will). Yes, they will say that four teams is the perfect number, and that any more than four would be unseemly, poisonous to the academic institutions, unfair to the players and all those other things they have been saying the last few years about NO playoff.
It will stay a four-team playoff right up to the point that the ratings drop, and the hype drops, the games are lousy and people stop caring. Then it could become an eight-team playoff. A 16-team playoff. And so on. In the real world, the story always ends with “and so on.”
I have this sinking feeling that the war is over. And I got my ass kicked.