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SEC dominance, money help BCS brass come around on college football playoff issue

No change has been announced yet, but the talk coming out of this week's BCS meetings has been about the Plus-One format. Let's call it what it is — a four-team playoff — and celebrate accordingly.
by Jenni Carlson Published: February 22, 2012

Which brings us to the other, and ultimately more important, factor in this movement to change the BCS.


Lots and lots of money.

When ABC won the broadcast rights to the first eight years of the BCS (1998-2005), it paid $550 million. No doubt, that's a hefty sum.

But according to a source on, implementing a four-team playoff format could potentially make the annual payday nearly that much. It could be worth upward of $500 million per season.

The thinking is that ESPN, for example, doles out about $100 million for each NFL game that it broadcasts. Those are regular-season games, and while those run-of-the-mill games have become must-see TV in this NFL-crazed country, they are still regular-season games.

You have to think that the interest in a college football playoff game would be as great.

Or greater.

Networks would shell out big bucks for those rights. It'd be new. It'd be fresh. It'd be a recipe for a multiyear TV deal in the billions of dollars.

And that doesn't even account for the additional profit from the tickets sold to those two extra games.

All of that money, of course, would be divided among the conferences, and that's something every league administrator can support. Sure, the SEC may have to agree to change a system that has been so good to them. Yes, the Big Ten and Pac-12 may have to forgo their idea for on-campus games.

But those types of things are easier to do when your league stands to bag a massive multimillion windfall.

The college football bigwigs still have a lot of questions about the Plus One. How do you schedule games that don't encroach on the academic calendar? How do you avoid Christmas while not conflicting with the NFL? How do you keep the regular season relevant?

(I'll save my argument for how a playoff would actually make the regular season more relevant for another day.)

Despite all the hurdles that still remain, the biggest roadblock has been cleared — the BCS brass believes college football needs a playoff.


by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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