ESPNDallas.com is reporting that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is, "'actively interested but in the exploratory stage' of creating and funding a playoff system to crown a champion for major college football." The latest development in the BCS/Playoff debate brings a bit of hope to playoff advocates who believe that the backing, and, of course, possible funding, of a successful, well-known figure such as Cuban will bring added pressure on university presidents to support and lobby for a playoff system.
The website reports that Cuban has said that he's talked to "two athletic directors from BCS conferences who were extremely enthusiastic about the idea." The website goes onto report that "he intends to contact several school presidents and state senators in the coming weeks to determine whether the idea is worth pursuing."
His plan is to create a monetary incentive for colleges to accept an invitation to a college football playoff. "Put $500 million in the bank and go to all the schools and pay them money as an option," Cuban said according to ESPNDallas.com. "Say, 'Look, I'm going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you're picked for the playoff system, you'll go.'"
The bowl system would live on, although it's safe to assume some of the lower tier bowls would probably fail. I suppose Cuban's plan has that going against it, as fans across the nation will inevitably lash out as the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Little Caesars Bowl and Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl will likely fall off the map. Right...
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Cuban envisions a 12- or 16-team playoff according to the website, with higher seeded teams rewarded with home field advantage to keep the regular season relevant and important. How those teams would be determined was not mentioned in the article, although possibilities include using some ranking system or poll to seed the teams, or taking the 11 conference winners with five at-large teams in a 16-team playoff. In a 12-team playoff, perhaps the final spot is determined by a play-in between the highest-ranked teams in a particular poll who did not win their conference.
Whether Cuban's plan will have any impact on the future of the college football postseason is yet to be seen, although he does carry weight in one area that largely influences college presidents and conference commissioners when it comes to backing a plan for the postseason: the wallets of their respective universities and conferences. Cuban even "suggested convincing [major donors of college athletic programs] to cut off their donations until their presidents approved a playoff system."
Despite Cuban's influence and business savvy, it's hard to imagine the BCS collapsing short of government intervention into the matter. Still, playoff advocates will take any opportunity to draw attention to the desperate need for a playoff in college football. Cuban's celebrity and the public's perception of him as a major player in American sports, regardless of whether you're turned off by his larger-than-life persona, will only help shed light on the postseason plight.
As a side note, the ESPNDallas.com article mentions that Cuban is reading "Death to the BCS" by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan. In the book, the Yahoo! Sports writers present arguments for a playoff system in college football and use overwhelming facts to systematically discredit the BCS cartel's own arguments for the current system and/or against a playoff. If you're a college football fan, this is a must-read. - Danny Hobrock
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Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.
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