I just figured every southern college football fan should read this. It seems our pro-playoff sentiment is making waves, even in wacky California. To San Diego's credit, this largely military based settlement has always been (how do I say this) a little more grounded in reality than the rest of the west side. Note: [the additions are mine, not the author's]
By Brent Schrotenboer
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
January 9, 2008
Back in the bad old days, a small group of U.S. senators from the South often used a delay tactic called the filibuster to obstruct progress for racial equality.
It didn't matter to them that it was morally wrong to do so, or that most everybody else demanded progress. They did it anyway because they had the power to do it and because it suited them [Very Nick Saban-esque, but we get your point].
Today, we have a similar political dynamic at play in college football – albeit with far less moral significance.
Two specific interest groups are standing against the wave of demand that rises every year for a major-college football playoff – the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences [Why? Because they are scared, no-talent pussies. Afraid of being exposed, embarrassed nationally for what they really are.]
Those conferences are filibustering the call for change – any change – to the college bowl system.
Yesterday, the president of the University of Georgia, Michael Adams, was the latest to make a public proposal for a playoff, this one involving eight teams. He said he wants change because of “widespread public lack of confidence in the current system.”
Which is sort of like saying the Democrats want change in Washington.
Of course they do.
Wake us up when there's an election, or when the Big Ten or Pac-10 commissioner is making such a playoff proposal [They never will. It's akin to a welfare recipient voting for legislation which forces them to get a job].
Only then will significant change happen. Just don't hold your breath in the meantime. It probably won't happen until at least 2014. If it does happen – and it probably will eventually – it probably only will be because the Big Ten and Pac-10 have been leveraged out of their filibustering power.
“The issue is, could there be an NCAA championship without the Big Ten and the Pac-10?” said John Sandbrook, a longtime UCLA administrator who conducted a report on the bowl system in 2004. “I think that would be a very interesting question to watch in terms of who stares the other one down.”
For example, Sandbrook said, let's say the Big Ten and Pac-10 stick with their beloved matchup tradition in the Rose Bowl [Why is it beloved? The Big Ten hasn't won the game in 8 years!] while the other conferences decided to stage a playoff without them. What happens when USC's football coach pursues a blue-chip recruit. Wouldn't the recruit ask the coach, “You guys can't compete for a national championship. Why should I go to USC?”
Doing so may be the only way to leverage the Big Ten and Pac-10 to participate in any playoff format, whether it involves eight teams or four.
Yesterday, Adams, who also serves as chairman of the NCAA executive committee, hinted at such leverage.
“If they chose not to participate, then I suspect the Cotton (Bowl) or Chick-fil-A (Bowl) here in Atlanta would be willing to pick up that fourth game” in an eight-team playoff, Adams said.
Adams also said his “fervent hope” was that “we could come up with a plan that they might decide is in their best interest as well. I think we would be poorer if there were not full participation by Pac-10 and Big Ten.”
Yesterday, as Adams' proposal hit the news, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany was ready. He had a statement for those reporters who called to ask. He noted the Big Ten and Pac-10 have a contract with the Rose Bowl until 2014 [to put that in perspective, at the going rate for a Rose Bowl broadcast, that's $240 Million guaranteed over the next 6 years..."Delany, your strings are showing"].
“We continue to support the current system and are strongly opposed to any form of a college football playoff, [We know that we are a clearly a 2nd tier conference and cannot compete on a level playing field, but we've got this sweet-assed deal with ABC, what a bunch of Idiots!]” he said.
The Pac-10 expressed similar sentiment yesterday.
They say it's about Rose Bowl tradition [their red herring, crutch of a bastardized bowl game], but those two conferences have at least two big reasons to oppose a change in the current system: money and power. The Rose Bowl deal with ABC is worth $30 million a year [wtf? Don't forget ABC is the parent company to "The World Wide Leader," ESPN], compared with Fox's $80 million deal for the other four major bowls, including the national championship, until 2010.
Changing the current system also might mean Big Ten teams actually would have to do some work to get into the national championship game.
This season, Ohio State proved it could get into the national title game by beating up on the likes of Youngstown, Akron and Kent State. Then the Buckeyes didn't have to play in a conference title game, unlike other conference champs. After that – presto! – they've “earned” a berth in the national championship game against Louisiana State, which beat them on Monday, 38-24 [With 7 of Ohio State's point scored in "garbage time"].
Six days earlier, USC beat Illinois in the Rose Bowl, 49-17 [it's a "great tradition" though]. The Rose didn't have to pick Illinois, a Big Ten team, to play in the game. It could have tried to pick better teams such as Georgia or West Virginia. But it went for tradition and picked Illinois.
“I don't believe they did themselves any favors this year with the kind of matchup they had,” Adams said. “And it may be after a few years of those kinds of matchups that they might think some of us in the South might be a pretty good draw.”
[signonsandiego.com with a hat tip to thewizardofodds]
And for those of you who might wonder why ESPN, and more specifically College Gameday, constantly uses their monopolistic platform to bash even the possibility of a playoff (I've heard Kirk and Lee on more than one occasion say "For those out there hoping for a playoff, It's Just Not Going to Happen. Forget about it.")...For those wondering "Why would the Nation largest sports network take such a negative, cut-and-dry view on a subject that the vast majority of fans want?"
Well, I found an equally cut-and-dry answer, in a great a year old Yahoo Sports article by Josh Peter about the supposed biggest power broker in College Sports... Big Ten commissioner, Jim Delany:
From Big Ten headquarters in Chicago, Delany presides over a college sports monarchy. The Big Ten is the nation's biggest conference, a collection of 11 universities that covers an area with almost 25 percent of the nation's TV households and prompts television networks to genuflect. When Delany arrived at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Conn., this year, employees wore buttons that proclaimed "Bristol is Big Ten Country."Your dead to me "World Wide Leader."
And for dessert, here's noted LSU fan/alum James Carville giving ESPN, Lee Corso the Big Ten and The Rose Bowl a thorough, yet well deserved ass-rogering...
- Playoff Plunderer - Why Jim Delany is the College Football Anti-Christ
- Rose Bowl Roadblock - Pro-Playoff = Anti-Rose Bowl