May 5, 2008

Bowden: Bowl arguments make no sense

"There has never been a collegiate or professional playoff that stops at four teams."

So goes Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany's explanation for why we should not have a four-team playoff such as the one proposed by the SEC's Mike Slive.

How illogical is that?

We should not have one because it could be so successful that we would want more?

It's like being made to watch the postseason on a 19-inch black-and-white TV while it sits on top of your 56-inch high-definition flat screen.

The problem: Delany is part-owner of the company that makes those black-and-white televisions and Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen is his business partner.


Then there is the argument that, under the BCS system, college football is experiencing unprecedented success in attendance and revenues and that, somehow, this success is because we went to the BCS format in 1998. Folks, college football was on a steady rise in revenues and attendance before the BCS was ever dreamed of. Even a system as unfulfilling and unpopular as the BCS couldn't screw that up.

If you want to talk about revenues, I don't care how much money the BCS brings in over the next six years, it would pale in comparison to the revenues we would be looking at with some type of playoff.

As for the other two arguments being used by the Rose Bo I mean the bowl advocates, they are just as ludicrous. They argue that we don't want a two-semester postseason and we don't want to compromise the integrity of the regular season.

First, unless you weren't paying attention, the championship game is already being played in the second week of January under the current system. If that isn't the second semester at most schools I'll eat my hat. If we can't conclude a four-, eight-, or 16- team playoff by the second week of January then we shouldn't have one.

And, exactly which regular season is it that we are we worried about compromising? Is it the 10-game season that I grew up with, or the 11-game season that we've used for the past two or three decades? Maybe it's the 12-game regular season that we now have, or even the 13-game season that conferences with a championship game have. If we are going to talk about not compromising the integrity of the regular season, then I say he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The fact is, Slive had it right. A plus-one system, where No. 1 plays No. 4 and No. 2 plays No. 3 on Jan. 1 and the winners play in the championship game the next week, was the right thing to do.

Slive is not going to let this thing die. Neither am I.

Don't you.


There have been a lot of comments from head coaches regarding the new rule that prohibits them from going out and recruiting in the spring. Some are for it and some are against it.

I say this is one the NCAA got right.

The spring is an evaluation period only. That means you can watch but just don't touch (they call it a bump). Head coaches aren't evaluators they are touchers. It's their job to close the deal.

But guys such as Nick Saban, Pate Carroll, and Urban Meyer are adamantly against the new rule. These guys are all great recruiters. The problem is they are also rock stars. When they walk into a high school, the place goes nuts. Of course, the high school coach has to makes sure the recruit accidentally bumps into the head coach which is clearly against the rules. EVERBODY knows what's going on including the head coaches who are complaining about the new rule. That's why they are great recruiters.

If I was coaching today, I would do the same thing. (although I'm more like Jack Black in School of Rock instead of a real rock star) I would want to be in a different high school every day of the evaluation period.

But it is disruptive, it circumvents the intent of the rules, and, quite honestly, is unnecessary to the process.

You might not like it because you think it hurts your team more than the other team, but it's a pretty good rule.

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