Once thing that I continually marveled at during the period when major league baseball struggled to come to grips with player free agency is how the owners would consistently trash their own product in trying to best the players’ union. As business strategies go, it was questionable at best and headshakingly stupid at worst.
I heard a faint echo of that when I saw Chris Fowler’s comment about the college football playoffs.
ESPN college football announcer Chris Fowler told reporters on a conference call there is a “massive need for fresh blood” in the field, although he acknowledged the reality that consistent success by Clemson and Alabama leads to fewer spots being available for teams in other regions of the country.
“Any Playoff bracket is better served when there are contenders distributed around the country, just so fans can become more invested in it,” Fowler said. “You just like to have teams from all over, playing into November in true Playoff contention. It makes the regular season more compelling for more fans. But hey, there’s not much room.”
This year’s semis had Notre Dame and Oklahoma, but never mind that, I guess.
What I really love there is the “true Playoff contention” measure, as if there’s something phony about excluding the Pac-12 from the CFP. When you strip Fowler’s observation down to the essentials, it’s all about the company line that the playoffs should be constructed for a national audience that doesn’t care about the regular season as much as fans following a regional product do, because everybody is sure the latter will stick through whatever Mickey and his broadcast partners foist on us.
So what if there’s a little trashing of the product they’re bringing us now along the way. It’s all for a greater cause, right?