The BCS presidents approved a four-team college football playoff on Tuesday, and although some of the details are still uncertain, a few facts have been made perfectly clear: the rich get richer, the little guy gets screwed over and nothing has really changed.
Here are the essentials from the new plan:
- It will start in 2014-15 and continue for at least 12 years, through the 2025 season
- The new system will incorporate six bowls
- The two semifinal games will rotate between those six bowls
- The championship game will not be referred to as a "bowl" and will be held at a neutral location
- There will be a selection committee that will decide the four semifinalists
- The criteria the committee will look at will be a team's win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head records, and whether or not they were a conference champion
- The honor of hosting the championship game will be given to the city with the highest bid
- The BCS will need to negotiate a new TV deal, which is currently estimated to earn them about $5 billion
While those first six bullet points are important, the real reason the college football overlords approved this deal can be found in the last two. The Wu-Tang Clan famously said, "Cash rules everything around me," and that is clearly the situation here.
Forget giving the fans what they want or creating a fair system. This decision was based entirely on money.
In 2011, the BCS contract brought in $174 million. According to Matt Hayes of Sporting News, this new deal—depending on whether they sell the three games together, or separate the semifinals from the championship—could bring in around $500 million per year.
That's why the "Plus One" idea, which would select two teams after all the bowl games, got shot down. The BCS presidents would be flushing roughly $2.5 billion down the toilet over the course of the 12-year deal.
Throw in their decision to award the championship game to the highest bidder—the fact that they didn't even try to mask their intent on that one is hilarious—and the BCS conferences will be even richer thanks to this new deal.
So, you may be saying to yourself, "This sounds like a shrewd business decision to me. Who gets harmed? Who loses?"
Well, the mid-major schools just got assassinated by this new deal. All you Boise State fans (and supporters of similar teams) can bury your championship dreams now, because they're dead.
Not only is the criteria for selecting the playoff teams essentially the same as the BCS system, but after the power conferences start raking in all that dough from the new TV contract, your under-funded school doesn't stand a chance.
The mid-majors aren't the only losers, though.
How about the fans, who now have to wait until at least 2025 to get a legitimate playoff system? Sure, the extra game is nice, but is a four-team playoff really any different than the previous format?
And not only did they barely tweak the BCS system, but they had to go and insult our intelligence as well.
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said during the press conference, "(It was in) response to the public, response to the interest in college football." Like they give a crap about what the public thinks. Like they even slightly factor fans' interest into their decision making.
No, at the end of the day, this deal doesn't exist because it's what the fans needed or because it makes more sense than the BCS system.
It exists simply because cash rules everything around us.