Football Helmet Will College Football Ever Have A Playoff?

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16 Team Playoff

Surveys Show that most fans would like to see a 16 team playoff to replace the bowls.

New Year’s Day is a great day for all college football fans. The stress of Christmas is over, your deadbeat in-laws have finally left town, and all you plan to do is watch football. There are 28 bowl games for you to choose from. Most of the bowl games have interesting match ups, putting power conferences head to head to battle for conference pride. Pride however, is the only thing that these teams have to play for. Going into the bowl season only two teams have the opportunity to play for the championship. All of the other teams are just playing for pride. Out of 28 Bowl games, only one game really counts towards the big picture. A 16 team playoff would give the fans and players more meaning full games to watch during bowl season, but don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.

According to a survey on 124 of the decision makers that would eventually vote on a playoff proposal are against a playoff with a vote of 8 to 1. This shows how the decision makers feel about changing the system to a 16 or 8 team playoff. However, many of the decision makers indicated they would be in favor of a 4 team playoff, adding one week to the current bowl system.

According to a survey on 82% of fans would like to see an 8 or 16 team playoff.

These numbers definitely don’t agree with the attitudes most fans show toward a playoff. Almost all of the surveys and message boards I have seen show that more than 80% of fans would like to see a playoff. This kind of demand has put pressure on the current system to change. After the 2002-2003 season the BCS formed a committee to propose the possibility of moving to a playoff system. The current proposal has a 4 team playoff using the bowl system we have now. This proposal has not been voted on yet. If it does get voted in, we will probably not see it go into effect until 2006, when the current BCS contract runs out.

Strong arguments have been made by both sides. One of the strongest arguments for change has to be the need to have a true champion. Several seasons have ended in controversy instead of having a champion everyone recognizes and agrees with. Every football league from pee wee to the NFL has some form of a playoff except for Division 1A football. The system for Division 1A is confusing and at times doesn’t work.

Despite solid fan support a long playoff is not supported by the decision makers. The decision makers are college presidents, athletic directors, and coaches. A complete system change to a playoff would be a difficult transition. The way the bowls are set up now each conference have connections to bowls and the money they bring. Smaller schools also have the opportunity to play in the post season and build their program. For instance, I am sure most of you could care less about last years Humanitarian Bowl. While this game may not have a large national audience it was important to Iowa State University. The Cyclones received a $750,000 check for playing Boise State in the Humanitarian Bowl. This money helped Iowa State to offset tuition increases and up the schools scholarship bill by more than $472,000. Iowa State University definitely had a lot riding on this bowl game, even though it didn’t have any national championship implications.

However, playoff supporters argue that the revenues generated by a playoff could draw in as much money as the Super Bowl. The projected figures for a playoff could bring in between three and four hundred million dollars. If all the money is distributed equally between every Division 1A school, each school could earn between two to three million dollars a season.

Like it or not the bowl system is not going to be replaced by a pure playoff for a long time. However don’t be surprised to see a 4 team playoff go into effect in 2006.



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Copyright© 2003 Bruce Varnadore