Athletics directors try to explain the biggest flaw of 12-team Playoff model
The issue was asked three times during a media call, and there didn’t seem to be a consensus from reporters listening that the present idea is a good one.
In wake of the College Football Playoff’s management committee proposing an expansion from four teams to 12 teams, the main problem many had with the idea is that quarterfinal games would be played at bowl sites, not college campuses, and that means that fans would potentially have to travel to three Playoff games.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby in response to another question about why quarterfinal games wouldn’t be played on campuses said the committee tried to balance the bowl environment with on-campus sites.
“I think you also run into just the very practical aspects of — I’m not sure that playing in East Lansing, Michigan, on January 7th is a really good idea,” he said. “I think those games probably do in significant ways favor warm weather schools. But there has to be some accounting taken of stadiums that have to be winterized in the months of December and January and the like. There are some practical aspects to it. There are some philosophical aspects to it. But I think, generally speaking, we tried to strike a compromise that recognizes there’s an opportunity for some home games but also recognizes that particularly New Year’s Day, as was mentioned before, has long been a bastion of college football.”
Then about the extended travel, and how fans wouldn’t be able to or want to make repeated trips, Bowlsby explained it this way:
“There’s a pretty good alternative in your living room if you don’t want to travel to the games,” he said. “I’m sure we have some people that travel three weeks in a row, but the majority pick and choose. Some go to champ games, some go to bowl games. I don’t think it’s accurate to assume it’s the same cadre of people that go to every place on every occasion. The ones that do are largely family members, and I think we’ve done a good job with the CFP providing travel expenses and the like for travel of family members to participate in the CFP playoff games. You know, are there some logistics to it? Is it different than what we’ve experienced previously? Yes to both. But I don’t know that it’s fair to assume that 25,000 are going to travel to each site three weeks in a row and they’re going to be the exact same people.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey added that bowls games have, historically, “provided some pretty special moments.”