Mark Cuban's quest to install a playoff in college football and how it could work.
It never ceases to amaze me how pro-playoff most of the college football world really is. Xtra Point Football has run two polls asking readers whether they'd prefer a playoff or the current BCS system. The first ran from November 1, 2009 to March 1, 2010 and asked readers 'Do you think the NCAA should have a Playoff to determine the National Champion rather than the BCS/Bowl System?' The response was 65.8% Yes and 34.2% No. Another poll ran around the last bowl season and asked readers, 'What's the best way to crown a National Champion?' The readers were even more in favor of a playoff this time, with 73% responding Playoff and 27% responding Current BCS System.
Count Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban among those who feel the game would be better off with a playoff system. It was no secret that Cuban was exploring the possibility of bringing a playoff to college football, but now he's taken that one step further and has formed a limited liability company "to impact college football so that the last two teams playing are the best teams," according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The name of the company, created December 28 in Texas, is Radical Football LLC.
There is no website for Radical Football and it is unknown exactly how many staff members the company currently has, but we know that number to be at least one. The Union-Tribune reports that Brett Morris is working for the company. Morris is described as a Los Angeles-based digital media consultant who has spent time in the athletic department of Notre Dame as a promotions coordinator.
Cuban clearly plans to move forward with his mission to insert a fair and just means for crowning a national champion. Morris was a judge in a recent business student competition in San Diego as students pitched plans to change the college football postseason. The winning team was from the University of Oxford and will have the opportunity to present their plan for what is reportedly a 16-team playoff format to Cuban sometime this year. Other schools represented at the contest included San Diego State, USC, Notre Dame, Texas, Florida, Georgetown, UCLA, Duke and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Cuban's own plan to makeover the BCS system has included a mid-season playoff. Cuban has said that he was influenced by the book Death to the BCS by Yahoo! Sports writers Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan. In the book, which is a must read for anybody interested in the topic, the writers outline their own plan for a 16-team playoff that sends all 11 conference winners to the dance and includes a committee that selects the final five at-large teams. It is unclear whether Cuban would adopt a similar format in his own college football playoff system, but it's a good starting point considering he was influenced by the book.
Cuban revealed back in December that he would create a monetary incentive for colleges to accept an invitation to a 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.'"
Opponents of a playoff system see it as reducing the significance of what many know as the most important regular season in American sports. They also see it as ruining traditions of the bowl season as well as revenues generated by the bowls.
Wetzel, Peter and Passan have convincing rebuttals to those concerns. The authors argue that by incentivizing playing a tougher schedule by putting the selection of at-large teams in the hands of a selection committee, the regular season would see less cupcakes and more worthwhile out-of-conference matchups, thereby creating a more competitive regular season.
The writers also point out that the bowl season would go on separate from the playoff. This isn't something that is hard to do and I've even suggested a couple of times that an eight-team playoff could determine which teams play in the four major bowl games with one serving as the championship game. Some bowl games may not survive, but can't we do without the Little Caesars Bowl or the GoDaddy.com Bowl? The writers also point out the misleading bowl payouts in a chapter called "Lies, Damn Lies, and Bowl Payouts" that are often exhausted once the school pays for travel, food and accommodations. A lot of teams actually lose money by accepting a bowl invitation because they must pay their own expenses and must purchase a certain number of tickets to the game that they are usually unable to sell.
Living in Miami, I never rooted harder against Cuban than in 2006 when his Mavericks met the hometown Heat in the NBA Championship. Now, I've never rooted harder for Cuban, who is serious about changing the way college football crowns a national champion. He plans to install a fair system that allows the players and coaches to determine the nation's two best teams; not computers or voters.
Previous articles on the subject of alternatives to the BCS:
Danny Hobrock, a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB is the editor of our college football content. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
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