In an essay in today's New York Times, former CBS Sports and Turner Sports executive Kevin O'Malley details why so many college presidents, conference commissioners, athletic directors, and coaches oppose a college football playoff for the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the NCAA Division I.
The reasons in brief are:
1. The importance and uniqueness of the regular season.
2. Regional nature of major college football.
3. Playing of games during exam periods.
4. Length of the regular season.
5. Need to protect the bowl system.
Now, Mr. O'Malley argues that college presidents are "sincere" in this justifications.
I have a simple response.
That is a load of crap.
Now, we can simply examine these so-called reasons and dismiss each one.
The regular season is only too long because the college presidents decided to add a twelfth game a few years ago. Most teams have used the extra game to schedule a pathetic cupcake, while the Pac-10 added an extra conference game.
If not playing games around exams were so important, why do we have conference championship games? Major college football is not the Ivy League. As a certain not to be named Big Ten QB recently demonstrated, many athletes are not really students anyway. Special accommodations have been made for players for generations, it is not as if college presidents worry about missing exams in other sports.
One of the prime points cited as why the BCS is so good is that it makes college football national in nature. Roy Kramer, the genius behind the BCS, Bowl Alliance, and Bowl Coalition, has celebrated the fact.
The only true excuses are protecting the bowl system and defending the regular season, but neither is for the reasons stated.
Since teams have greatly weakened their regular season schedules, the idea of defending the regular season is not about defending great regular season games, but rather defending large television contracts. It is all about greed.
As to the bowls, many of them are filled with average and bad teams. Only a few current bowls even existed twenty-five years ago.
The bowl system was designed as tourism-inducing exhibition games, pioneered by the Rose Bowl, to get people from cold-weather regions to travel in the winter to the Sun Belt.
These days, the bowls provide rewards to fat cats, who in turn provide massive donations to universities. As the recent Congressional testimony demonstrated, the bowls, most of which claim non-profit charitable status, provide little to no actual charity to their local communities, as bowl executives get paid twenty times or more what bowls actually give back to their communities in the form of charity.
Of course, there is no reason that the bowls could not continue to exist even with a playoff system.
So, sorry Mr. O'Malley. While the college presidents have deep held beliefs against a playoff, the reasons you gave are insincere.
The truth is the BCS is about keeping the money, power, and prestige of major college football inside a circle of the select few.
Roy Kramer knew this when he started the whole system back in the early 1990s.
Kevin O'Malley, college presidents, conference commissioners, athletic directors, and coaches know this today.
So, it is o.k. to be honest and just say "We like the current system because we are greedy."
It is whole lot better than getting all high and mighty about the integrity of college football.