With the college bowl game lineup completed last night, football fans can only salivate over some of the upcoming match ups, like Toledo versus Florida International in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26.
That game will be in Detroit, by the way, a bit of a disappointment for the Florida team.
The big game, of course, will pit undefeated Auburn against undefeated Oregon for the national title.
Undefeated TCU will head to the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin with no chance at a title.
Last month, Sports Illustrated had a strong point of view that reminded us of why the top ranks of college football annually steer their season this way:
"...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 ... 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."
Writers Austin Murphy and Dan Wetzel pointed out that bowl executives are paid handsomely while many college football programs still lose money.
Consider this passage:
Read the full piece by clicking here.
SI covered similar territory about how the bowl games aren't necessarily good for football back in 1994, starting out at, of all places, Duke.
You can read that piece here.
The SI writers suggest change could be better for the game, again because of the money:
"In the teeth of the worst economic downturn in several generations, it stands to reason that university presidents might look favorably on ideas that could dramatically raise revenue. Speaking to Congress in 2005, no less staunch a playoff opponent than Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany estimated that 'an NFL-style football playoff would generate three or four times' more than 'the current system does.' That could mean an estimated $700 million to $800 million annually to be distributed among the I-A conferences.
"Not only are the I-A presidents leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table by forgoing a playoff, but by outsourcing their most lucrative product (postseason football), they're also handing over more than half the profits—money that could replace tax dollars in the balancing of public schools' athletic department budgets. Think about it: The NFL and its teams collect every penny of revenue, from television to tickets to parking to popcorn. In college football the bowl games grab the biggest pork chop—and then help themselves to a few more, often more than 50% of a game's revenue. (The 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl generated $12.3 million in revenue but paid out just $5.9 million total to the participating schools, Auburn and Clemson.) They do it by thinking of every conceivable way to profit from their supposed partners.
"Ask Iowa. Halftime entertainment at the Jan. 1, 2009, Outback Bowl was provided by the Hawkeye Marching Band. And how did the Tampa Bay Bowl Association, which runs the game, thank the band for that gratis performance? By charging the university $65 a head for each of the 346 band members. According to university records submitted to the NCAA, the school was forced to purchase face-value tickets totaling $22,490 for the band, even though the game wasn't sold out.
"Very few bowls do, in fact, sell out. Aware of this, their directors require a ticket commitment, which obligates the purchase of thousands of tickets at face value. Schools must then resell those tickets or risk losses that can run into seven figures. Before Internet ticket sites democratized the market, the deal made sense to the participating schools. Now, for all but the biggest games, fans can avoid paying full price—as they must when they go through the school's ticket office. Tickets to the 2009 Music City Bowl were available on StubHub for 19 cents.
"The commitment guarantees only one thing: the fattening of the bowls' profit margins. For their appearance in the 2009 Orange Bowl, Virginia Tech and the ACC agreed to purchase 17,500 tickets at $125 per seat, but they could sell only 3,342, according to university documents. The result: a $1.77 million bath for the school, not the bowl."
-- J. Andrew Curliss