With important college football hair cuts gathering in Florida to map out the future of the sport’s postseason, now’s the time to air any last worries about what sort of playoff we might end up with.
The four-team plan, with top seeds getting home games in the semifinals round, seems to be the most popular plan, outside of SEC country at least, but here’s a new obstacle emerging from Big 10 territory.
Many schools won’t have the infrastructure then because they’re on holiday break. Stadium size would be an issue with schools such as Cincinnati (35,100), TCU (50,000) and Oregon (53,800). If there’s a playoff, officials will want to maximise revenue by selling hospitality and luxury suites. And, besides, most fans love going to bowl games in places like New Orleans and Glendale, Ariz.
All three of those schools would’ve been in the running to host semifinals games in the past three seasons, so this is a reasonable concern. Oregon hosted the Pac-12 championship just fine last year, and had its opponent been USC instead of UCLA, it would’ve been one of the year’s biggest games. But still!
A playoff system will make more money for everyone involved than the bowl system does, thereby increasing the sizes of everybody’s stadiums over time. Would it be shortsighted to insist on neutral-site games, which require two fan bases to travel across the country twice, when the campus plan could limit travel to once even for championship teams?
How much more money can the conferences really squeeze out of fans by staging semifinals games in NFL stadiums across the world if most of the fan’s money is going to plane tickets anyway?
Keeping games off campus over stadium worries actually seems like the bigger risk. Home playoff games are guaranteed sellouts, no matter the teams. And Cincinnati making it in would be the exception — Alabama, Texas, USC, Michigan and Ohio State would forever be much more likely, and all have stadiums much larger than every BCS facility save the Rose Bowl. So send Penn State and LSU to the Orange Bowl if you want, so long as you like losing money.
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