I got an email request over the weekend to put up a mention about Bill Connelly’s May post about nine fixes for college football (“Bill Connelly For College Football Commissioner“) to see what kind of discussion it might generate here.
To kick things off, I have to admit I wasn’t that overwhelmed by the package Bill came up with when I first read his piece. There was nothing wrong with his student-athlete proposals (which is a good thing, because the minute college football names a commissioner, the jobs of every antitrust attorney suing the NCAA get a whole lot easier), and as long as anyone can come up with ways to shorten the games that don’t involve changing the rules, I’ll certainly listen. The relegation stuff, though, is straight out of the fever dreams of soccer fetishists who think it’ll drop easy and clean into a world where schools field other sports besides football, those football teams don’t play round-robin conference schedules and, well, where there are five power conferences.
As for playoff expansion, I’ll say it again: college football’s unique power and greatness lies in its regional appeal and its emphasis on a meaningful regular season. The bigger the postseason, the more both of those factors are undercut. For me, it’s not an improvement.
College football’s problem isn’t that it’s boring or that we’re sated. It’s that the people running it are consumed with how much money they can make from it. The issue with that is the entities writing the checks want things that aren’t necessarily compatible with keeping what’s great about the sport great. Operating in a short attention span world, ESPN craves novelty and selling a national product. The Jim Delanys of the college football world think they’re smart enough to balance their product on the knife’s edge between what Mickey wants to pay for and what we longtime fans want to watch.
Trust me, they’re not that smart. And while Bill’s a damned smart guy, I’m far from certain he’s got all the answers, either. Ultimately, though, it likely doesn’t matter, because I doubt Jim Delany’s listening to him any more than he is the rest of us.
And with that, I’ll open the floor. Hit it in the comments.