Monday, May 19, 2008

The No Win Argument: College Football Playoffs

Just so you know, Gordon Gee is looking out for you. He doesn’t want college football to become too professional; he doesn’t want to cross that line "down a slippery slope". Thanks buddy. Luckily for Ohio State, Gordon Gee is normally right. He states we don’t want to get into an "arms race".

Poe will be the first to tell you that Gee’s argument is pretty weak.

Ohio State is big time college football. Big time college football is professional football without the payroll. Ohio State football has Ohio Stadium (105,000 people), The Woody Hayes Athletic Center ($24 million), ABC primetime games, the Big Ten Network, merchandising deals, sponsorships, and BCS million dollar paydays. This isn’t some two-bit operation that relies on good luck. All that and a playoff pushes us off a slippery slope? Maybe Gee will do away with the athletic department next (ha, Vanderbilt! Seriously though, the real people that run Ohio State would never allow it). Next thing you know, we’ll be talking about paying student-athletes!*

*That’s a whole other topic, but lets just say Poe made $23/hr working during a co-op during college. The school sent applications to the employer, employer hired student, student did work, student was paid, and the employer made profit. Sounds like the academics of a university are professional, but we can’t take our sports there?

Gee has drawn the ire talk show hosts and sports writers alike. Mike Wilbon of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, graduate of Northwestern, crossed his own slippery slope and called Gee "a fraud". Meanwhile, Jim Tressel backs the Ohio State/Big Ten/Pac-10 position on playoffs, probably hoping not to stir the pot and go against the conference and its bowl tie-in (Rose Bowl). Never mind the fact that Tressel won 4 of his 5 national championships in the D-1AA playoff system. It’s a lot like when Wilbon (ESPN) and Dennis Dodd (CBS) take shots at Ohio State and the Big Ten, because it’s the culture created by the network. It’s easy to take shots since the collective memory of our society is 2.5 days, and these guys sit in meetings all day discussing how to make controversy. SportingNews says Jim Delaney is the sports most powerful comissioner, but they are the weakest BCS conference. But if there were a playoff, ESPN would likely have to go off air or play more Texas Hold ’em because they won’t get to "debate" as much.

The only reason ESPN/ABC/Disney is likely to be pushing for a playoff system is that ESPN/ABC/Disney is likely to make a bid the next time the TV deals expire.

The outside view is that the Big Ten doesn’t want a playoff system because then Ohio State wouldn’t get free rides into the championship game. Somehow they figure that Ohio State wouldn’t get an advantage by playing the fourth ranked team (since they have been #1 the past 2 years) and actually playing a game during the 40-day layoff. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sure doesn’t help Ohio State when they lose the national championship game. And what would become of the team if they win the Rose Bowl, but lose in the championship? Hey congrats, you won the Granddaddy of Them All, but you are still overrated!

I’m all for the Plus One, if the BCS guys can all sit down at a table and come up with something clever and logical. I’m just not sure they can (oh well, there’s always congress!). The more football the better, for me at least. Maybe the players can all take a vote, after all they are the ones playing. If they are happy, then who cares? Too many times these ruling committees look out for their own interests while forgetting about the players that make of the teams whether it be the NCAA, NFL, NBA, or MLB (sorry NHL).

Gordon Gee is smarter than we are. In fact, he might even be a bigger Buckeye than we are (any man that wears Buckeye pants is a hero, in my book). We know Gee is all for keeping athletic departments in check and raising academic standards. I’m all for it too. But Ohio State is not Vanderbilt in background, budget, or admissions. I haven’t personally seen a Plus One or playoff system that makes sense logically, but I wouldn’t dare claim college football (and basketball) are separate entities from their professional counterparts.

Besides, the decision-makers already made their decision.


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Poe McNoe said...

I'll take that as a compliment and hope this isn't a scam!

Gatorpilot said...

Poe, just a tip. They drop those bullshit comments everywhere. If this is your first experience with comment spam, it won't be the last.

Massey said...

Yeah, I get that one all the time.

Poe McNoe said...

But he loves me!

Don't break my heart!

Larry Lester said...

I'm with Gee on this one. The beauty of college football is that it is unique (and nothing like the crapfest that is the NFL). And you make a good point when you say let's ask what the players want...after all they are the ones whose needs we should be considering. As a former college football player (in 1-AA) I can tell you we should not be adding additional games unless the NCAA is willing to let these kids get paid for all the work they put in and all the money they make for everybody else.