Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 3, 2012
Major college football will finally get a playoff

My father told me when I was a little boy, “Remember son, pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered.” I have grown up trying to live worthy of his wisdom. I share it often with my clients almost weekly, “It’s OK to be piggish, but never be hoggish.” Some learn — some don’t.

Well the 35 bowls which have provided the NCAA postseason entertainment for the last 110 years, helped along by their hoggish BCS buddies, finally caught the schools and the NCAA’s attention – let the slaughter begin.

When LSU disclosed how much it cost them to go to the national championship game held at the Sugar Bowl, the NCAA finally put their boots on and strolled into the barnyard. It’s about time. The BCS has slopped at the trough long enough, making their bowl games and those that run them ridiculously wealthy, and they did it on the backs of the universities and their amateur players and fans. This is beyond hoggishness, this is flat-out gluttony.

So how bad is it? LSU’s bill just for tickets to seat their students, faculty and staff and their players’ families ran a cool $526,924. Their complimentary tickets for the players alone cost them $350 a seat. LSU’s marching band, which was contractually obligated to perform for free at the Sugar Bowl for all the other suckers paying full price for their tickets, cost a “Big Easy” $182,830 — all this to watch a proletarian football game?

This is just the first bucket at the hog trough for participating schools. Travel costs, hotel rooms, food, meeting rooms, you name it — the school pays it — its “fat city” and all hogs are welcome. LSU’s food and lodging bill at the Sugar Bowl topped $754,000. Gas looks cheap compared to $95-a-gallon orange juice — the food is wonderful at the trough.

There are similar troughs at 34 other bowl games scattered around the country. Remember Connecticut dumping $2.9 million in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl trough? You get the idea and so does the NCAA and this nation’s universities. They realize “pigs get fed” and they’re trying to carve out their place at the trough at the expense of the bowl hogs — it’s about time.

After hearing about former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker’s two decades at the trough with four country club memberships, over $2,000-a-day expenses, his $33,188 birthday party and a $95,000 tab for he and his hog buddies to play a round of golden golf with Jack Nicklaus, one prominent AD said, “Hey, that’s our money! That’s college football’s money.”

Better late than never. All of college football’s power pigs finished up their BCS meeting in Florida last week squealing the P-word. Ironic isn’t it? These guys still have their scorecards autographed by Nicklaus.

One BCS AD was quoted saying, “Everything has changed in the last couple of years. The business practices of the bowl games are of great discussion — When is enough, enough? There’s a feeling that it’s time to do it ourselves.”

More guys wanting to be hogs themselves? Maybe. Regardless, the NCAA is on the verge of a playoff and we will take it, even if it is the four-team variety. It sounds like it’s a done deal; they’re just trying to figure out how to build their own troughs.

My vote is to hold the semi-finals the week following the last regular season or conference championship game. Highest-ranked schools host the games for the other two teams. No bowls allowed.

The winners advance to the Championship game held on Jan. 2. The bowl games can still do their thing, but they conclude on New Year’s Day and they all are governed by the NCAA, sharing more of the wealth with the schools that play in them, along with their conferences. Oh, and players get free complementary tickets for their families and for the band.

There are rumors; computers will still be in the mix, which disturbs me. I have also heard that weight for “strength of schedule” will be added to the mix, skewing things to the SEC and other power conferences. However, the BCS automatic qualification is over and they may be adding another BCS Bowl to the mix — it better be full of Cotton.

Along with the playoff, it will provide a fun-filled postseason for the top 14 teams in the country. By the looks of it, BYU, Boise State, and other none power-conference schools will have a fair chance.

Is it the way I would have done it? Far from it. However, it’s a start. Perhaps the NCAA and FBS schools have learned what my father knew a long time ago — it sure has taken them long enough. I’ll see your from the sidelines.

David Gumucio

Sports Columnist & Contributing Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Gumby has been writing sports columns for the Tooele Transcript Bulletin for more than 10 years. His “From the Sidelines” column covers everything sports related whether local or international. Gumby is under assignment of Sports Editor Mark Watson and also contributes feature articles in other sections of the paper. He also is a free lance writer for other periodicals in Utah as well as in firearms and hunting magazines throughout the country. He also produces outdoor and sports videos. He is fluent in Japanese.

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