I’d like to take this opportunity to personally welcome Mark Schlabach to the ranks of the postseason skeptics.
… Only six years ago, a college football playoff was considered taboo.
What changed their minds? Money, of course. The almighty dollar was the driving force behind one of the most dramatic changes in the sport’s history…
And that’s expected to change when exactly?
He goes on to hint at something in his conclusion that he doesn’t quite tease out in its entirety.
… University presidents will be reluctant to let the college football season stretch from fall semester into the New Year. In an era of increased awareness about player safety, coaches and athletic directors will worry about the physical toll of a three-week playoff, and longtime bowl partners will lobby like crazy to protect the “bowl experience.”
But with 76 teams playing in 39 bowl games this coming season, the “bowl experience” isn’t what it used to be. It’s like beating Tennessee or Texas — everybody’s doing it.
When coaches, players and fans get a taste of the excitement and drama of a four-team playoff, they’ll want more.
If they want to keep expanding the playoffs without extending the length of the season, there’s one way to do that: compress the bowls, either by shrinking the bowl season or by eliminating some of the bowls. As Schlabach notes, they’ve already cheapened the bowls by inflating their numbers, so who’s really going to object if CFB offers to swap some meaningless postseason games for more playoffs? ESPN sure won’t. The real problem will come when they expand so much that they damage the regular season cash cow. That’s a genie they won’t be able to stuff back in the bottle.