Just kidding. That’s a clickbait headline. Imagine sitting in a work cubicle this afternoon and thinking the 12-team college football playoff system that will soon be introduced to fans is the worst thing to ever happen to the sport we all love. Pump the brakes on your misery. At this stage in the life cycle of college football, this is the greatest news imaginable, and it won’t destroy that regular season that you love so much.
I think the best way to look at such earth-shattering news is to ask, “Why do we watch college football?” The only answer is to get loaded, watch a bunch of college guys play ball for 12 hours on a Saturday to hold us over until Sunday’s 1 ET kickoffs and brag at work on Monday mornings. You guys are smart. You know what’s been happening since the College Football Playoff was introduced. The same 4-6 teams were pretty much guaranteed to get into the playoff so Disney could make a bunch of money via advertiser rates which then kept Disney coming back to pay colleges even more money for the broadcast rights.
That led to pretty much a college football playoff desert from Norman, OK all the way to the Pacific Ocean and has left out a key college football market — Los Angeles. And it wasn’t going to get any better. The Pac-12 Network has been a complete disaster, the Pac-12 Championship Game hasn’t seen attendance over 50,000 since 2015, and the conference is about to get a new commissioner as the disastrous Larry Scott era comes to an end. How bad was it? Pac-12 fans couldn’t even get the conference cable channel.
Expanding the playoff isn’t going to devalue the regular season. Look at the NFL. Did you even realize the 2020 playoffs expanded? Did you suddenly stop watching the regular season? Even in a season that included empty stadiums and a presidential election, the NFL destroyed all TV competitors and it wasn’t even close.
Not only are you going to watch the college football regular season like before, but you’re going to watch more hours of programming because there will be more important hours of programming to watch. You’ll still need to watch Bama because they’ll still have all the great players battling each other for Heisman trophies. You’ll still watch Ohio State because you hate the Buckeyes. You’ll still watch Clemson because you love/hate Dabo. You’ll still watch Oklahoma to see if your OVER hits.
The regular-season difference with a 12-team playoff is that a November Oregon-Utah game has massive playoff implications and an 8 ET kickoff that you’ll need to have on one of your TVs. Fox won’t be sitting there twiddling its thumbs with its Pac-12 offerings. ESPN will have like 30 games with playoff implications. Playoff projection shows will matter. More teams equal more emotions and people willing to be separated from their money.
The financial trickle-down of an expanded playoff system will be incredible. Full stadiums in November for playoff-caliber games mean more meatheads crushing beers at campus bars before games. It means hotels are full. It means VRBO houses are full the weekend before Thanksgiving. In 2020, it was estimated that college football programs making up the Power Five generate $4 billion in annual revenue for 65 universities. That’s right, FOUR BILLION.
In Madison, Wisconsin, Badgers football games generate $114 million annually to the state economy. It’s $130 million in revenue per year for State College, Pennsylvania.
Add it all up and there better be no complaining out of you guys as you belly up to the garage bar or the basement bar to slam a few beers, hang with neighbors and yell at your TVs as college guys battle it out for a shot at playoff glory. I don’t want to hear about how your No. 12 team got screwed because it won a first-round playoff game only to play a rested Bama team that proceeds to steamroll your guys. Just be happy your school will now be able to fly a playoff banner and you’ll be able to brag about it Monday morning around the coffee pot before heading back into your miserable cubicle.
ESPN Radio guy in Utah gets it:
12-team playoff destroys the already awful bowl system and puts more importance back into the late regular season.
Keeps whole regions interested in CFB into DEC/JAN.
I’m all in. Hell, give me 16.
— Porter Larsen (@Larsen_ESPN) June 10, 2021
Todd gets it:
I'll take the opposite viewpoint of those arguing the expanded CFB playoff dilutes the regular season…
Having more teams in the mix makes more games meaningful instead of what we've seen where 3 of 4 semifinal spots are typically secured even before conference title games
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) June 10, 2021
Ben knows how money is made:
There’ll be agreement & of course, disagreement among so-called experts & wannabe commissioners of #CFB🏈! But @CFBPlayoff clearly recognizes that mathematically, this keeps 20+ teams in the chase until end of regular season, preserves @BowlSeason as great reward for other teams. https://t.co/sOksgBhFtf
— Ben C. Sutton, Jr. (@BenSuttonISP) June 10, 2021
John doesn’t get it:
The reason a lot of us are worried about an expanded playoff is right now CFB has the best, most exciting regular season of any sport. If you start making the regular season frivolous, it’s going to completely change everything that’s great about it.
— John Fauxgerty (@_flyentologist) June 10, 2021