Published June 29, 2012 - 9:39am
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You can’t take a day off Twitter without missing on additional nuggets of information that continue to come out and bring clarity to the future college football playoff (follow @SDS to keep updated each day). In the last 24 hours, more aspects of the future postseason format have come to light.
The beautiful thing about college football is that nothing is ever clear. It’s always open to interpretation and debate. The process of moving towards a concrete playoff plan will be just that. Here are a few new pieces of information on the 4-team playoff.
Stewart Mandel from SI tweeted yesterday a few nuggets about the six bowl games that some are dubbing the BCS12 – the 12 teams participating in the two semifinal games and four other BCS bowls:
According to Bill Hancock, the “Big Six” bowls will be played three each on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, around 1 pm/4:30 pm/8.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 28, 2012
This is quite different from the current format where the BCS Bowls are spread throughout the first week of January. I think most fans are excited about bringing most games back to January 1st. As for New Year’s Eve, there’s going to be a few million wives disappointed in their NYE plans starting in 2014.
The selection committee will pick the teams for all six bowls. Theoretically, it could be the Top 12 spread over 6 games. Huge improvement.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 28, 2012
A selection committee picking all 12 teams for the six bowls is a bit surprising from my perspective. The key to the selection committee – whether they are picking 2 teams or 40 teams – is transparency. One good aspect of this is that it prevents these bowls from selecting lower ranked teams simply because they’re known for having a traveling fan base.
Weekly Top 20
It’s also being reported that the selection committee could release a top 20 poll each week (probably starting mid-season). The reason for this is again transparency. The committee does not want 4 teams to be announced out of the blue at the end of the season. I think this is a great step, and who doesn’t love talking about polls? College football polls are as American as apple pie.
We’re hearing news of how much money the 4-team playoff will generate, but it’s not clear how that money will be distributed. Will it be distributed to the conferences of the participating teams? Will all major conferences get some of the money? It’s being reported that a “revenue subcommittee” will head up this mission of putting together a revenue sharing plan:
Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman that a revenue-split subcommittee has been formed and will feature six conference commissioners. They are as follows: Bob Bowlsby (Big 12); Jim Delany (Big Ten); Mike Slive (SEC, pictured); John Swofford (ACC); Jon Steinbrecher (MAC); Craig Thompson (Mountain West).
Most members of the media fail to grasp that what we’re witnessing in college football isn’t an expansion of opportunity. We like to talk about how a playoff enables access for everyone. We disagree, and now it looks like CBSSports’ Dennis Dodd is catching on to this as well:
“It seems like the Big Four have kind of dominated,” one bowl executive said Tuesday. “You don’t have 11 [conferences] anymore, you have four commissioners. Is that gap bigger between the haves and have-nots?”
The answer is yes, except that — officially — there are no more haves and have-nots. That was the first bit of news to sneak out of the playoff process when our Brett McMurphy reported it in December. The elimination of automatic qualifying status was supposed to end the sport’s revenue segregation. In the future, it will do anything but that.
Removing labels doesn’t remove the reality. A playoff probably lessens access for the sport’s unwashed. At least makes it more uncertain. That selection committee? Its composition will have to reflect that the Big East is no longer considered a BCS-level conference. The ACC has become less of a factor. That Big Four — Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 — are calling the shots. To be precise, the commissioners of those leagues are calling the shots.
There might be not a thing wrong with that. Those 46 schools predominantly play the best football, win the most championships, make the most money. They have the most invested in this playoff. In the coming age, there are more of the have-nots who will matter less, if that makes any sense. And it should. The incredible windfall from a playoff — estimated at $500 million per year on the high end — essentially means those have-nots will trade money for access.
Hush money in shoulder pads.
Going forward, there will be six bowls in the playoff rotation. None of them will be particularly anxious to take an unbeaten Marshall or Tulane or Central Florida (for example) when those bowls aren’t playing host to national semifinals.
If Stewart Mandel is correct, they might not have a choice. If the selection committee is picking all 12 teams, it could prevent the smaller teams from getting locked out. I agree with Dodd in that the big 4 (maybe 5) commissioners are leading the charge here. I don’t see them being happy with a selection committee taking a team like Marshall unless it’s an extraordinary situation. The big conferences are leading the way – the new system should benefit them.
It’s a fluid situation. We’ll continue to stay on top of how the 4-team playoff is fleshed out.