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DOES IT MATTER?
Austin Murphy
November 15, 2010
TCU unleashed its purple power against No. 6 Utah last Saturday, staking its claim to a shot at the national championship. But with college football's power brokers profiting from the status quo and blocking the implementation of a playoff ...
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November 15, 2010

Does It Matter?

TCU unleashed its purple power against No. 6 Utah last Saturday, staking its claim to a shot at the national championship. But with college football's power brokers profiting from the status quo and blocking the implementation of a playoff ...

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Refresh our memory, BCS acolytes: Why must college football never have a playoff?

Oh, yes, that's right. Because a postseason tournament would devalue the sport's singularly meaningful regular season.

But if regular-season wins and losses mean so much, how did Boise State drop two places in the AP poll after eviscerating Hawaii 42--7 last Saturday? How do the Broncos fall from No. 2 to No. 4 after outgaining the Rainbows 737 yards to 196?

So please spare Boise the platitudes about the sanctity of college football's regular season. And spare us Talking Point No. 2: "We believe the bowl system wouldn't survive a playoff," predicts BCS executive director Bill Hancock.

According to interviews with numerous bowl executives, television deal makers, athletic directors and conference commissioners, all the bowls—the major BCS ones, the mid-tier ones and the newbies you've never heard of—would survive, albeit in the shadow of the playoff.

But for a playoff to exist, it would mean that those now presiding over the bowl system—some (not all) of the BCS conference commissioners; some (not all) of the ADs and university presidents at whose pleasure Hancock serves—would have to release their grip on the sport's levers of power. And that, quite frankly, isn't going to happen, short of a successful antitrust action by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Until that glad day arrives—and it may be on the way—we are stuck with an inexact, capricious, widely despised system that is propped up and defended, in the main, by the people who profit from it. College football could have an opera, a Shakespearean drama, a season that builds to a stunning (and wildly remunerative) climax. Instead, it has a soap opera.

"It's like Days of Our Lives," says TCU coach Gary Patterson of the ceaseless intriguing and politicking that attends the BCS rankings. "It's 'Who's dating who this week?' and 'Are they mad at you?' and 'Is she gonna go back to him?'

"I'm just going to be the milkman," he concluded. "[I'm going to] deliver the goods."

The Horned Frogs delivered in last Saturday's Quake in Salt Lake, putting the wood to sixth-ranked Utah 47--7. Thus did the Frogs stay in the national title hunt, while the Utes were free to start making plans for the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.

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