Brett McMurphy of CBSsports.com is reporting that college football’s cadre of decision makers have, in effect, narrowed down their options for a new postseason format to three.
To save you the trouble, we’ve spelled out who likes which option and why.
Who likes it:
If you were like Bob Stoops, Nick Saban and their brethren, who have five- and six-figure bonuses tucked away in their contracts simply for making a bowl game, you’d want to see as many bowls – with as many gradations of prestige – stick around as possible.
See above. Many have similar incentives in their contracts.
The plus-one model maintains the relevance of the bowl games, which face the prospect of being turned into second-class citizens should the heavies opt for a more traditional playoff format four-team event.
Obviously, there are some fans who aren’t hot to trot over a playoff. (I’m somewhere on the fence near that group.) Yet, given the way the winds of popular opinion are blowing, it seems the momentum behind the push towards a postseason tournament will be too strong for the holdouts to overcome.
Who likes it:
If we’re going the direction of a playoff, I far prefer this model over the others. The opportunity to host a playoff game keeps the regular season relevant, which is among my chief concerns from a consumer standpoint.
At least, the fans of the teams hosting the games would have to prefer this to traveling to neutral sites. Just as teams’ fans tend to skip the regional games during March Madness, it’s easy to see how fan turnout would be better for a home game than one held off campus.
At bare minimum, it cuts the travel for one team. I imagine the players would prefer that to the chance they’d all be going to St. Louis for a semifinal, although I admit I’m not entirely sure.
The idea hosting the semifinal games sounds like a bonanza for the schools on its face. It loses plenty of luster, however, when you start thinking about the details. It introduces the possibility that a game will be played at a small venue such as Oregon or Boise State, which cuts ticket revenue. Schools also have to spend money to maintain their facilities beyond the end of the regular season.
Who likes it:
If they can stomach hosing fans, and they have shown little compunction about doing so in the past, the schools get all of the benefits of a playoff at a smaller hit to the wallet. Even non-partisan fans will likely fill up the seats at a neutral site, minimizing the threat to ticket revenue. Plus, the host sites assume the costs of staging the games.
Who doesn’t like it:
All the players would have to travel, with the winners traveling twice. The same goes for fans.
And there’s a wildcard: Is interest in the regular season diminished if home-field advantage is taken out of the picture? If so, can’t imagine the television networks currently lavishing lucrative media contracts on these schools would appreciate that.
So, what will we get?
Hint: Take a look at who doesn’t like the home-game option and who does like the neutral-site option.