Saturday, August 5, 2006

Money and ... More Money

Money is the third major factor that must be taken into account when figuring out how to decide on a national champion. With money, it usually comes in the form of "what can we do to make more of it?" Over the years, especially in the last fifteen, college football has become a major business that makes a lot of people a lot of money. This has created quite a few questions that must be asked, from "should we pay student athletes?" to "how much is that coach worth?" to "what teams should we invite to our bowl game that will attract the most fans & attention?" And answered those questions are. The economics of the game are of major importance to all parties involved, including schools, fans, conferences, television, bowls, etc. The money issue basically comes down to this: implementing a playoff, or making any other major change to the game, isn’t going to happen if it even looks like it will negatively impact too many groups’ finances.

I’d argue that since most of the proposed changes to fix the way the national champion is crowned would only affect the post-season, the impact will be greatest on the bowls. I’ve already detailed the bowls situation when it comes to the factor of tradition, but here's the thing about money – it is the only thing that can trump tradition. Of course, tradition is the only thing that can trump money, so in that way these two factors are like the yin & yang of college football. Even though many college football traditions are set in stone, for most of them it’s just a matter of how much money it will take to change them.

As I mentioned, the only problem with adding bowl games is that it dilutes the whole bowl season. But since there’s more money to be made for everyone involved and it doesn’t take away from the tradition of the other bowls, this is a small price that coordinators are more than willing to pay. Changing or eliminating bowl games is major task though, mainly because it impacts both money and tradition. Sure the effect of implementing a playoff might be more money for the bowls, but how much of their tradition are they willing to trade for it, especially if the gamble turns out to reduce their revenue? Most of the bowls have a good thing going, both financially and traditionally – I can’t see them taking a huge risk on a playoff or any other major change unless their finances are all but guaranteed to increase and their tradition will not be significantly diminished.

Tradition < Top > What is to be done?

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