Thursday, December 16, 2010

Memo to Mark Cuban re: BCS

I love that Mark Cuban wants to create a competitor to the BCS. He's no dummy: It's good business.

The plan is a lot less complicated than he might think. All he has to do is nudge the SEC -- which doesn't and shouldn't give a shit about the rest of the BCS cabal -- to create a playoff.

Right off the bat, with only the SEC involved, an 8-team, 7-game, 3-week playoff would command a billion-dollar TV rights fee, and that doesn't even count sponsorship and any offers cities make to host playoff games. Hell, they could do it in single-year auctions and likely make even more than a multi-year commitment.

So the SEC isn't part of the BCS system anymore: OK... and?

The league and its partner, Cuban, will be printing money, satisfying existing SEC triumphalism and, frankly, crowning a champ with more legitimacy than any unbeaten team that comes out of the old BCS system.

Then watch what happens next: When the other leagues see what is happening in that first year of an SEC playoff, they will be clamoring to join.

The Big 12 will be on speed-dial within 5 minutes. The Pac-10 will be on call-waiting. The Big East and ACC will be begging. (Notre Dame? Sure: They can pay to join.)

Equal splits? No chance. Leagues can bid on participating -- everything from revenue share to how many teams they get included. (They can all feel free to set up their own conference playoff system, beyond the current 2-team format that most leagues use.)

Notice that I haven't included the Big Ten. Here is the reality: The Big Ten can try to ignore what everyone else is doing, but good luck when they run out of dance partners. Eventually, if only to remain relevant, the Big Ten will join. (And if they don't: More power to them, and more power to the playoff group.)

The simplicity of the idea is that it all hinges on the SEC, a league with a commissioner and school presidents already inclined to support a playoff.

(This is why I keep arguing that the fastest route to a playoff is the SEC getting screwed by the BCS system -- like a one-loss SEC champ getting vaulted by an unbeaten champ from a lesser league. The SEC would walk away in 10 seconds, and everyone kind of knows it.)

So when Mark Cuban says he has talked with folks in college football who like the idea, I cannot believe that the SEC wasn't a part of that.

It's so easy: Mark Cuban and the SEC walk away from the BCS. It fits Cuban's maverick style; it fits the SEC triumphalism. It makes a ton of money for everyone. And, for fans, a real playoff.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What about unbeaten Auburn a few years back? Or has media changed materially in the interim to enable this Cuban Missile Crisis?