For all the crap that was tossed yesterday in the general direction of Jim Delany’s novel approach to rejiggering the BCS, it’s worth noting that another part of what’s being considered for the next version of the D-1 football postseason is getting a lot of favorable attention. Here’s Paul Myerberg’s take:
In essence, B.C.S. officials would consider the creation of a 10-, 12- or 20-team postseason event. The goal would be to create top-tier bowl games from the teams not included among the four-team playoff “with the aim of providing the most evenly matched and attractive games that make geographic sense for the participants.”
The games would be chosen by committee, not by conference affiliation. Under this proposal, instead of taking the top team in the Mountain West and the sixth team out of the Pac-12, the Las Vegas Bowl might feature two teams ranked among the top 10 teams in the country. Instead of being beholden to the Big 12 and the SEC, the Cotton Bowl might always be in line for a bowl game pitting the top two seeds not included in the four-team playoff.
My, doesn’t that sound great. What red-blooded American football fan wouldn’t be in favor of “evenly matched and attractive games”?
A couple of things: first, nobody can guarantee that what a selection committee puts together is going to work. Those people can’t predict the future. (If they could, wouldn’t every 8 vs. 9 game in the basketball tourney be a barn burner?) All they can do is provide pairings that everyone looks at in advance approvingly. Fine, but the results are going to be just as random as what we get from the bowls now.
But there’s a bigger issue here, I think. Who’s going to pay for this? The bowls pick their participants with an eye towards putting asses in the seats. What happens when, say, the Sugar Bowl is told it will be hosting two evenly matched teams which aren’t great draws? And what happens when ESPN is given the same news?
For that matter, using one of Myerberg’s examples, what’s Mike Slive’s reaction to seeing an SEC school get bumped from the Cotton Bowl?
I’m not sure I’d get too excited about this proposal yet.
5 responses to “How easy is it to build a better bowl experience?”
So do the bowls then have to bid to get the better match-ups?
Some of these playoff proposals are just out there to placate smaller schools but bullies nonetheless.
My first thought when I saw that was how it is a direct shot at the SEC. Slive and Co. have arranged the best bowl tie-ins hands down. I mean, the Gator dropped the 2/3rd ACC team for a lower tier SEC team. Wouldn’t y’all think making something like this work would require a lot of guaranteed money to conferences, regardless of participating teams? When your 2nd/3rd place team is going to the Alamo bowl or Holiday bowl, this sounds great. But I’m sure this is less than exciting to the folks in Birmingham. I wonder what it’d take for them to entertain this notion. That’s a lot of cash left on the table potentially for the SEC.
I would be more likely to travel to a game in Arizona or California than Florida. Especially if it meant UGA was not playing a B1G team.
I get something else out of this. The idea of a 16-team playoff would start in the top 8 bowls. The winner of those bowls are seeded and play each other until the NC is decided. The idea of matching bowl teams by committee works right into that scenario. You get a 16-team playoff, you get your bowl pageantry/school advertisements, you get a playoff based upon competition and everyone continues to make money, only bigger.
A committee would have to do seeding at the 16-game level, take into account the team proximity to the bowl and keep conferences separate so that winners wouldn’t be preferentially eliminated early. All of these things are done now, but from a hodge-podge group of groups including bowl officials, Conference leaders, national polls and the media influencing the outcome. If you can get a committee together that could act as one for all the crap that takes place between the cup and the lips, it would be a national sports miracle of greatest proportions. Good luck with that.