By Dr. Jeff A. Glenn – @jagadelic
Notre Dame, Alabama, Texas, Ohio State, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Oklahoma, USC, Florida
No, this is not the top ten as far as how well the programs did on the field. This is another top ten. These are generally considered the ten schools with the top drawing power (or, to put it in you young folks terms, these are the schools that make it rain.) When these teams are playing, TV ratings get a nice little boost. The bowls fall all over themselves to get these teams. Not only can you expect an attractive gate, your hotels, restaurants and bars will be filled as well. Local vendors will get fat and happy selling all kinds of useless, gaudy merchandise to these fanatics. (Anybody want to buy an Eddie George backscratcher?)
Yes, BYU has a considerable following and tremendous, loyal fan base. But their rather spiritual and frugal ways are well-known to bowl committees. As one of them famously put it, “Those BYU Mormon folks come to town with a Bible in one hand and a $20 in the other. And they don’t let go of either one.” Boise St? TCU? Unless you force us to take you in the BCS by going undefeated, hope you enjoy that Poinsettia Bowl.
Ratings are down for all BCS Bowls (except the Fiesta) by 10-20%. How many teams from the above list made BCS Bowls? Zero, zilch, nada. Of course, the National Championship game featuring Alabama has yet to be played and will certainly be a ratings bonanza. Then again, maybe not, since two SEC schools don’t provide much regional balance and it’s a rematch of a boring game. We’ll see. But I digress.
On this very blog, an informal poll showed that the USC vs. Texas National Championship game was the most exciting Bowl game ever. Have there been bowl games just as exciting? Of course, but that game featured two premier programs with the most well-known players facing off in the most prestigious bowl setting. A perfect storm.
OK. That’s interesting. What’s your point?
The point is that you can’t expect the NCAA to put the hammer down on the schools that pay the freight. Did USC and Ohio State get off easy? Certainly. But putting the NCAA in charge of disciplining them is like putting Kenny and Ed in charge of kicking women out of the club if their skirts are too short. Pete Carroll and Jim Tressell lost control and made big mistakes. Death penalty? No way.
USC has served its little sabbatical and is already talking championship. The Buckeyes will sit out one year while Urban gets it together and then they’ll be poised to come back with a vengence. The NCAA isn’t going to bite the hand that feeds it. The hypocrisy was truly exposed when Pryor, Boom, Posey and the boys were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl AFTER their discretions had been found out. The NCAA let them play, ABC got their ratings, the house was packed and the Buckeyes vacated their victory long after most people cared. Everybody’s happy.
Personally, I don’t think sanctions are the right way to go. When someone does something wrong, punish the perpetrators, not the people who come along afterwards. None of this year’s USC players lived in Reggie Bush’s house rent-free. No one on next year’s Buckeye team got tattoos in exchange for Terrelle Pryor’s trophies. Why are current players and coaches paying for past mistakes?
Just punish the people committing the violations and move on. Suspend the players. Suspend or fire the coaches and GM, if involved. Ban troublesome boosters from having anything to do with the program. Don’t take scholarships and bowl games away. The punishments are so light anyway, they just look silly doing it.