Now this is a very, very interesting little bit of news that hasn’t been talked about as much as it should. First, a little background. Mark Cuban is a billionaire. He owns the Dallas Mavericks and does pretty well with that. He has tried to purchase the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers, but both attempts were unsuccessful. He recently said that he bought “Death To The BCS,” an absolute must read for any college football fan. He has looked at the postseason of college football and thought, “Hey, I have money, I can do something to fix this.” What is the Cafeteria’s impression of this? GO FOR IT!
First, let’s look at the mind-numbingly simple logic that Cuban demonstrates which no one associated with the BCS could possibly grasp:
“The more I think about it, the more sense it makes as opposed to buying a baseball team. You can do something the whole country wants done.”
Look at that, someone who finally recognizes what the country wants! Amazing! So how does he plan to make a playoff happen? Again, more obvious simplicity:
“Put $500 million in the bank and go to all the schools and pay them money as an option. Say, ‘Look, I’m going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you’re picked for the playoff system, you’ll go.’ “
How simple is this? So simple it could make Jim Delany’s head explode. Simply give teams an allowance of sorts so that they agree to sign a contract to play in a playoff. That sounds good. Then he determines what criteria to follow in shaping his playoff, I’m sure he’ll stick close to my approach here. Then the higher seeds get home games and they go. It’s so easy a caveman could do it!
“It’s an inefficient business where there’s obviously a better way of doing it. The only thing that’s kept them from doing it is a lack of capital, which I can deal with. The one thing every college football fan wants you can probably create for less than it takes to buy a baseball team.”
Mark Cuban might be my new favorite person…and I’m a Warriors fan. I like the way he thinks. And truth be told, he can definitely do it. All he has to do is get the schools on board, which would be easy. Tell them you’ll pay them no matter what, and if they make the playoff, they bring in major bank. Who wouldn’t go for that? The BCS would instantly die since #1 and #2 in their rankings would be in a playoff and not playing each other. The whole BCS system would collapse. I’m sure bowls would stick around, at least one’s people care about.
In their normally idiotic and insulting manner, the BCS was all over this in no time. PR grunt Bill Hancock, director of the BCS, released a few words:
“Given how much support our current system has among university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and athletes, I don’t think any amount of financial inducement will make people abandon” the BCS.
Ah yes, tell the universities they can make more money and they won’t jump ship, right? Sorry, but schools support paychecks, and the BCS has given them one. If a much bigger paycheck were on the line, they would abandon the BCS faster than a Big Ten fan can quote you useless history form 70 years ago. But don’t worry, it gets better:
“College football is so popular today because we have a great regular season and because we have an important bowl tradition that provides a meaningful experience for the students and fans — all of which would be at risk if this concept were implemented.”
Oh no, the important bowl tradition could be in jeopardy! Excuse me, but how many new bowls have sprung up in just the last 15 years? Tradition? How stupid does Bill Hancock thing we are? That doesn’t even top it off. The real gem in the news right now came from Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac 10:
“But the fact is that college football has never been more popular in its current format, and it’s a mistake to assume the impediment to a playoff is money. We could get a lot more money tomorrow from lots of folks by moving to an expansive playoff; this is about a broader set of priorities benefiting schools and student-athletes.”
Yes, you did read that right, and I quote yet again: “WE COULD MAKE A LOT MORE MONEY TOMORROW FROM LOTS OF FOLKS BY MOVING TO AN EXPANSIVE PLAYOFF.” This is straight from the commissioner of the Pac-10. He has openly admitted that there is more money, in fact, a lot more money, in a playoff than the BCS. So what holds them back? In his words, “a broader set of priorities benefiting schools and student-athletes.” What do you think those broader priorities are exactly?
Let me put one thing to rest right now. This whole notion that the BCS is working because college football is more popular now than in the past is incredibly stupid, and here’s why. This is comparing the BCS to the old bowl system postseason. When we talk about a playoff, you should compare the merits of the BCS to the merits of a playoff. By saying. “Look, the BCS has made us more popular than the bowls ever did on their own!” Fantastic. How much more popular could college football be with a playoff? This is called a Red Herring logical fallacy.
So why is college football so popular? Let me explain my new invention, I’m calling it 3-CO. 3-CO is a sports mantra to live by. If you want to popularize a sport, you need 3-CO:
Sports fans crave 3-CO like oxygen. Why is soccer so unpopular in the US? Because the competition sucks. There are few shots ever taken and even fewer goals. Why is golf not as popular as football? No consequence. Who cares who wins the tournament, they’re all going to play again next week. The winner gets more money, that’s all. No consequence to the sport if you win, come in second or come in third. The only difference is to your paycheck. And any sport with a ref is going to have controversy. We love to debate.
So what has the BCS done? First, it made bowl games that are almost always competitive. Finally, a system that gets the top teams in the country playing each other at the end of the season. That was great. It also created a bit more consequence. Winning a bowl game or losing a bowl game means a little more, especially when No. 1 plays No. 2. And the controversy, well, that’s the whole reason this blog even exists. So of course the BCS has made the sport more popular, it started to give fans what fans love to have in their sport. But why stop there?
A playoff creates even more competition. Imagine not just one great matchup at the end of the season, but several more! And consequence? EVERY game means something. Controversy? Seeding, who gets left out, what the bowls do, etc. are all controversies that will surely be debated for decades to come. Do we need a spectacle like March Madness? No, not even close. 16 teams would be plenty. But all of a sudden the regular season becomes infinitely more important when a lucrative, championship-potential playoff spot is on the line, rather than an exhibition match opportunity.
So I say to Mark Cuban- full steam ahead! If you can get ever university to sign a contract (for money of course) that says they will accept a playoff spot over a bowl bid, then move forward with the plan. Feel free to contact me for help too, I’m a very influential blogger among the 8 people reading this right now 🙂