Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ONE SMALL STEP FOR THE BCS, ONE GIANT STEP FOR A FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

You heard it here first.

It’s not the Rose Bowls fault that there isn’t a football playoff, but, yesterday, ESPN literally moved the ball in that direction by wrapping up all the BCS games except the Rose Bowl in a new TV contract. The final hurdle to an even bigger dance might be cleared when the Grandaddy of Them All’s TV contract expires with ABC in 2014.

Huh, you say?

Not long after ACC Commish’s John Swofford’s somewhat tepid response to Barack Obama’s call for a playoff system for college football, ESPN took a big step toward making that a reality – whether the suits in Kansas realized it or not.

What resources does ESPN have that the combined television networks don’t have?
Control. Control over their time and their money. Thus it would be easier to make room on the broadcast schedule for the playoffs while limiting the number of parties to a negotiated agreement. The more the control over the money flowing into college football and the BCS is consolidated, the easier it is to ultimately make this fly.

This means the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls, plus the BCS Championship Game, will be televised in prime time each January. There will also be a BCS show on ESPN every Sunday to unveil the current rankings. With any luck at all that will include “real time” fan comments on a screen crawl!

The Rose Bowl, which will host the 2014 title game, will continue to be televised on ABC through that game.

Nice, ESPN, NICE!

(Photos by Reuters and Getty Images)

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