Couple weeks back I published a piece about ESPN forcing the NCAA into a football playoff when the TV net wrests the BCS bowl games away from Fox in 2011. Coincidentally, today Tuffy had a piece on SbB that featured ESPN VP of Programming Dave Brown exclaiming that the BCS bowl system is here to stay.
(Legacy-minded Jim Delany as Pontius Pilate: “I am not the face of the BCS”)
“The next four-year cycle is done, so a playoff is not a consideration at this point,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t want to see the bowls changed because I don’t want to create meaningless games during the regular season. I don’t think that would be good for college football.”
Besides, Brown said, this bowl season has been one of the most successful ever, even if some people complain that 34 games is a few more than necessary.
“This season’s bowl results have been great for us,” Brown said. “Our ratings on ESPN and ESPN2 have been up, so business continues to be very good.”
So ESPN corporate now has its talking points when it comes to defending the indefensible:
“I wouldn’t want to see the bowls changed because I don’t want to create meaningless games during the regular season.”
Now there’s a newsbreaker, there are no meaningless games during the regular season! Hear that, Baylor fans? The ratings might be up for the minor bowls televised by ESPN, but it’s painfully obvious that interest in the non-BCS Championship Game bowls is in decline. Significant decline. TV ratings for the games continue to recede, and even attendance, in some cases, is becoming an issue.
After I scored tickets to the Rose Bowl game and I asked four people to go. All of them, who live in Los Angeles and support USC, balked. They cited lack of interest in the game, parking hassles and New Year’s Eve hangover. I also spied some empty seats at the OSU-UT Fiesta Bowl and it goes without saying there were some at the Orange Bowl.
But if those same bowls were part of a playoff, do you think apathy would be an issue? Of course not. And it appears that one of the BCS’ most staunch proponents, Big 10 President Jim Delany, may be starting to realize that as well. Read more…