I was critical of the decision to hold legislative hearings on goings on regarding college football’s BCS system, but now that they have occurred, let’s see what was said. From the Chronicle of Higher Education ($$$ req’d):
“I just don’t see the danger of a playoff,” said Mr. Barton, who represents a district about 150 miles northeast of Austin. “The way you talk about it, it’s like somebody’s going to get cancer or something.”
The witnesses, who included Robert C. Khayat, chancellor of the University of Mississippi, and John Junker, president of the Fiesta Bowl, said that a multigame playoff — like that used by the National Football League — would rob teams of a chance to compete in less-prestigious bowls, make it harder for athletes to keep up with their studies, and minimize the importance of individual games.
One could argue that under the current structure, the Rose Bowl and the Motor City Bowl (or the Bourbon Bowl) are still “bowls” although there’s certainly a pecking order. But if, for example, the bowls that currently make up the BCS system (Sugar, Rose, Orange, and Fiesta) were to become the playoff games, the relative status of the all the current bowl games would be altered. In other words, changing the set of bowl games from “all bowls” to two sets, “bowls” and “playoffs” could possibly reduce the marginal value of the bowls more than it would enhance the marginal values of the playoff games.
Regarding a playoff’s effect on studies: division 1 football is unique in that it is the only division in the NCAA (and the NAIA for that matter) that does not have a playoff system. Are players in the other divisions somehow more able to multi-task between football and their studies?
Herein lies a testable hypothesis. After controlling for various items that affect academic outcomes, for instance, are academic outcomes worse for D1 players involved in bowls lower than those for non-D1 players involved in playoffs?
Here are the current brackets for Division 1AA. Here are the brackets for D2 and here are the brackets for D3.