I am of two minds on Fox basically ceding the contract to broadcast the BCS to the Four-Letter. There are two sapproaches to note: the first is the quality of hte production, the second is what it means in a journalistic sense. Several of ESPN’s regular cadre of college football analysts calling for a playoff, but first, we’ll deal with the aesthetic aspect, because it’s all about what you see, and then what’s underneath.
In a pure TV production sense, no sport should be handled by Fox. They do an absolutely loathsome job with the BCS — seeing as they handle no college football games during the regular season on the main network, they then put together some truly poor announcnig teams (most notably, any team involving Charles Davis.) College football is obviously secondary to them, and it shows on air every time they do the BCS bowls they hold the rights for (all save the Rose Bowl.) There is gimmickry (the robot for NFL football, the talking animated baseball explaining the basics of pitching to an audience likely older than its execs imagine).
(If I had my way and could assign a network to handle the vast majority of televised sports. it would be CBS, who, particularly with college football and basketball, brings in the best announcers and analysts. It’s hard to imagine ESPN willfully discussing the recent study by Richard Lapchick on the number of minority coaches now being at six after the firing of Ron Prince at K-State, but two weeks ago, Spencer Tillman went for it and called out the university presidents and conference bosses on it.)
While ESPN is at the very least competent in game presentation, announcing, and analysis (save clankers like Pam Ward, Andre Ware, Brad Nessler, and Bob Griese), it also has a problem: will owning the TV rights to the all the big bowl games lead some of them to keep quiet about a playoff possibility? The more problematic issue is that ESPN now holds a complete monopoly on the important aspects of college football, which is never particularly a good diea for any enterprise. Lack of competition leads to stagnation, and bad efects for the sport in general — it’s safe to guess that shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars until 2014 will do nothing to get rid of the crap system in college football. ESPN will now have a further investment in the status quo.
So, eight-team playoff, 16-team playoff, plus-one…..all of these options will be dragged out even longer.