Associate A.D. Kenny Mossman provides his thoughts in his online column.
Entry No. 40 | December 11, 2007
It's that time of year when the stores have out
all of their holiday stuff. No, wait, that's July.
Ah yes, this is the time of year when anyone with
air time starts clamoring for a playoff in college
football. The stadiums are mostly full, ratings are
dynamite and every regular season game has some sort
of post-season implication. By all means, let's implement
There was a time when I ran with the playoff crowd,
and I suppose I could function just fine if that was
our system even now. I worked in Division I-AA for
a few years and experienced a playoff first-hand. It
was fun. But it wasn't as much fun as a bowl game.
Not even close.
Those of us who work in and follow college sports
love to thump our chests about the game, "being
for the student-athlete."
"It's all for the kids," we say.
Then we sometimes turn around and do things completely
counter to the best interest of those young people
competing on the college level.
A good many of those same young people will tell
you that they want a playoff too, and that's fine.
A playoff would have its merits. But many of the student-athletes
that lean towards a playoff have never played in one
at the expense of playing in a bowl. I'm not sure they
understand what they 'd be giving up.
And that leads us to the cock-eyed notion that the
bowls would want to be part of a playoff system. That
suggestion is usually offered up by those with no clue
as to how a bowl functions. Most of them are far more
than a football game; they're week-long (or longer)
Try telling the people in Pasadena that the Rose
Bowl game is bigger than the parade… then duck.
A playoff would be like a series of rapid-fire neutral
site games. The teams would fly in on a Friday, play
the game on a Saturday and then fly out that same night.
That's a far, far cry from what bowls are today. Aside
from the television money, why would they want to be
involved in that scenario?
And those outings for the players to Sea World,
Children's Hospitals, and the week of camaraderie they
enjoy in an often spectacular environment? You can
deep six all of that stuff. When you fly in on Friday
it's all about the game.
Most of us can make a pretty good case that the
best post-season situation in college sports exists
in basketball. March Madness is a blast. As we all
wait for March Madness, take that television clicker
in your hand and get a gander at some of these December
and January games. See the empty seats? College basketball
is so back-loaded on its season now that the earlier
games go by virtually unnoticed.
I tuned in to watch Wake Forest at Iowa the other
night. That's an ACC school playing at what is typically
one of college sports' best-supported athletics programs.
There were hundreds of empty seats. At Duke, student
tickets are still available.
The problem doesn't rest solely on basketball's
post-season tournament. The one-and-done player that
leaves for the NBA has been awful for the college game
and the season itself may start a little too early.
Still, there is no arguing the fact that the basketball's
regular season fails to rival what exists in football.
I appreciate the desire for an undisputed champion,
but let me ask this? Is anyone disputing any of Oklahoma's
seven national titles in football? The 1950 Sooners
won all their regular season games, were declared the
national champs and then lost in the Sugar Bowl to
Kentucky. Do you see anyone peeling down OU's 1950
banner? Me neither.
What we have right now is college football at its
absolute zenith in terms of public interest. ESPN started
a college football show last July for crying out loud
(about the same time the Christmas stuff went up in
the stores). The BCS can certainly use some tweaking,
but don't lose sight of the fact that college football
has a stranglehold on the period from September right
through the BCS Championship in January.
So, yes, let's rush to make a change. Let's start
tinkering with something that, if it's broken, gives
very little evidence of such at the turnstiles or in
the ratings books.
At a time of year when wishes are the norm, the
change agents of college football had better be darned
careful of what they are wishing for.
an inside perspective from the University of Oklahoma
Athletics Department on the latest Sooner sports topics.
Associate Athletics Director for Communications Kenny
Mossman provides his thoughts in his online column