Dr. Saturday

Playoff or no playoff, reformed BCS is in it for the long haul

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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One of the recurring themes this offseason (the recurring theme, so far) is the renewed fight for the soul of the BCS, an even higher-stakes game than usual this year for two reasons. One: The growing consensus in favor of a limited playoff, thereby opening the door to a more expansive version that obliterates the traditional system of crowning a national champion as college football has known it for the last eight decades. And two: Whatever comes from the current round of revisions had better be good, because it may very well be serving two terms in office. From the Wall Street Journal:

Leaders of major-college football's national-title group are aiming for a TV deal for eight years or longer. A lengthier deal would mean less-frequent negotiations about the Bowl Championship Series format, which annually comes under intense scrutiny and debate from fans and media. A longer contract also could help stem the recent rush of conference-jumping.

Pac-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott said he would advocate for considering a longer-term deal. "I've been troubled by some of the jockeying for position in terms of conference alignment before the BCS discussions," he said. "I think that's been an unintended consequence and not a healthy one."

BCS executive director Bill Hancock said a longer TV deal has been discussed among BCS members but that nothing has been decided. An ESPN spokesman said "a longer term would benefit all involved."

As an aside, I'd really like to know what former commissioner Dan Beebe and the rest of the Big 12 think about Larry Scott's sudden concern for the "unintended consequences" of conference realignment, after Scott made it his first priority as Pac-10 commissioner in 2010 to attempt to annex the entire Big 12 South, a Machiavellian stroke that nearly destroyed the Big 12 — twice — and ultimately cost Beebe his job. I suspect Mountain West officials have spent more than a few nights wondering their conference would be right now if Scott's conference hadn't poached Utah, too, triggering the eventual departures of BYU, TCU and Boise State. But I digress.

As to the matter at hand: The current BCS contract has two more years to go; whatever the power brokers settle on this year will be formally adopted for the next contract, which takes effect in 2014. In other words, an eight-year deal means the decisions being formed right now will still be in effect a decade from now, after most of the men (they are all men) making them have shuffled off the scene. All the more reason to get this round right.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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