We've reached that point of the college football season where teams are about to play their final games and for some, conference title games, within the next few weeks.
While the FBS (Division I-A) does that, the FCS (formerly Divison I-AA) released their college football playoff bracket Sunday afternoon.
Pretty nice, isn't it? A 12-team playoff system that gives its top four teams a bye week and wraps up two days before the FBS National Champion is crowned in Arlington, Texas.
It feels like every year, some fans think to themselves, "why can't the FBS adopt this?"
The solution to all of our problems with the FBS is staring us in the face every year, but through the years, we have still left it to AP writers, computers and now a committee to determine who wins or plays for a national championship.
While you look at the obvious solution above, it will never come to life because Divison I-A football has dug itself a whole that is filled with a disgusting amount of money stacked on top of it.
With the addition of bowl games with corporate sponsors, television contracts and the massive shakeup of conference realignment over the past decade have resulted in the greed factor of college football's most competitive level of play in the United States.
Now, the new playoff system is the newest solution to make sure the best of the best are playing for the national championship. A 13 (now 12 due to Archie Manning stepping down) member committee made up of past and present athletic directors, former coaches and politicians are now ranking the best teams based on different factors. Comparing it to the old Bowl Championship Series system, we've learned that they grade on a different curve.
A four-team playoff system with a human committee could help determine the best matchups and help avoid a blowout like we saw when Notre Dame played Alabama. Despite this, the NCAA has buried itself with the number of bowl games that have been added over the past 30 years. So much, that it makes it impossible to do a 12-team playoff with the risk of eliminating some bowl games and leaving sponsors out in the cold.
In 1984, there were a total of 12 bowl games. In 1994, there were 19. Ten years ago, 32 bowl games were played. 13 additional games were added between 1994 and 2004. In the last decade, seven more games have been added. 39 bowl games will be played this holiday season. A 40th bowl game, the AutoZone Cure Bowl, will be added next year. There's talk of adding a bowl games out of the country in nations like Dubai. Dubai?
Why have the number of bowl games more than tripled in the last three decades? The largest part of the increase is the payout each conference gets from them.
According to USA Today Sports, payouts are going to double for the Power Five conferences this season. Each will take home $50 million dollars to be divided amongst the schools in their conference. The other five conference in the FBS will split $75 million. In that same article, it is said that the payout to the non-Power Five conferences is five times greater than the payout from 2013. Independent Notre Dame will pick up $2.3 million dollars and whatever amount they get from the bowl they play in (they are bowl eligible at 7-4).
On top of this, conferences gets $6 million for each team that is represented in the playoffs, along with $2 million to cover expenses for the teams in the semifinal game, and if they win, for the championship game as well.
There is money to be had in college football. The article gives further details about what schools and conferences will make. The more bowl games conference teams make, the more the whole group benefits. Wait, weren't we talking about some kind of larger, bracket format?
Money is a powerful thing. It is said that ESPN's television revenue carrying the majority of the bowl and the new College Football Playoff will average around $470 million dollars per year over the next 12 years.
You eliminate bowls, you eliminate easy-to-grab revenue for these conferences. The number of schools that changed conferences over the past 15 years was an example of how wealth affected the college football map.
As Gordon Gekko said in Wall Street, "Greed is Good."
Realistically, you could do a 12-team playoff. Of course, you could limit teams to one bye week and eliminate some of the bowl games nobody really cares about.
Here are a few:
-New Orleans Bowl
-Dallas Bowl (and move the Cotton Bowl back to the Cotton Bowl)
-Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
-Boca Raton Bowl
-BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl
-Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
-Foster Farms Bowl
There are several more that could be added to this list, but you get the point. Anyone else find it odd that BITCOIN is sponsoring the bowl that used to be sponsored by Beef O'Brady's?
People like bowl games. It gives them something to watch during the holiday season and it gives teams one last game to play. What is the harm of having playoff games happening in-between a handful of bowl games during the weekdays?
Yet again, just wave a dollar sign, and that suggestion falls on deaf ears.
College football is a drug that most of us cannot kick. The current setup in the FBS is like our system of government. It is not perfect, we find ourselves griping and whining about it on occasion, but we deal with its flaws because we love football and we love our country.
The majority of fans would favor a playoff system like the FCS has, but the athletic departments, their universities and the conferences they are in are just fine with the current system and the revenue they get.
But keep this in mind, too. Players don't see a penny of it.