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Mark Cuban's College Football Playoff Proposal Exposes More Deulsional BCS Logic

Mark Cuban's got a plan...and it's making the BCS crazier than usual.
Mark Cuban's got a plan...and it's making the BCS crazier than usual.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Marcas GrantContributor IDecember 20, 2010

Whatever the perpetrators of the BCS are smoking, I want some.

Substance abuse and/or brain damage are about the only reasons I can come up with to explain the responses of The Powers That Be to Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban proposing to bankroll a college football playoff. 

It's not a total surprise that Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, would p'shaw at the idea of a competitor stealing his thunder. After all, he's paid to be the group's shill.

But when he makes statements touting the "support our system has among university presidents, athletic directors, coaches and athletes", it's hard not to immediately want to smash your head into a wall.

Is he talking about the support from Boise State president Bob Kustra, who has pleaded with anyone who will listen about how unfair the system is—even going so far as to use the university's official communications and marketing network to write a commentary

Or maybe he means coaches like Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson or Penn State legend Joe Paterno, who have each expressed interest in a playoff system.

Even more laughable is Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott's party-line defense of the system. Scott, you may remember, nearly imploded all of college football by trying to co-opt half of the Big 12 into his own conference.

Instead, he settled for the less-than-thrilling duo of Utah and Colorado. Nonetheless, Scott says the BCS is "about a broader set of priorities benefiting schools and student-athletes".

I guess those benefits include cutting sports programs. And it's not like Scott has to look hard. Not only is it going on in his own conference, just 15 miles west of his Walnut Creek office, Cal announced in September that it's cutting five sports—including baseball and its perennially successful rugby program.

And I'm sure athletic directors are overjoyed at the prospect of shelling out millions of dollars (often constituting large percentages of their athletic budgets) to cover the cost of unsold bowl game tickets to cover the guarantees bowl organizers force them into.

Aah, but college football is more popular today than ever before. So sayeth both Scott and Hancock. In fact, it's so popular that television ratings were down almost all across the board. It didn't help that some of the sport's marquee programs (Florida, Texas, Michigan, USC) were nowhere to be found in the national championship picture. 

Speaking of USC, they were one of the lowlights of a college football season that was memorable for many of the wrong reasons. Beginning with the Trojans being decimated by NCAA sanctions, some of the biggest stories of the season surrounded Schools Behaving Badly.

From investigations into players at Alabama and North Carolina allegedly attending parties on someone else's dime to UNC assistant coach John Blake accused of funneling players to an agent to everything that surrounded Cam Newton, college football came off as something worthy of a Cormac McCarthy novel.

When it comes down to it, TPTB always fall back on bowl tradition. Because, ya know, we all remember the halcyon days of the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl or the BBVA Compass Bowl.

On his own, Cuban probably won't be able to affect any change to the BCS. But he's opened the door, and you can be sure there will be other like-minded, deep-pocketed sports fans who will walk through it. Let's just hope they're a little more sober than the guys currently running the show.

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