Do we need 35-40 bowl games ? Face it, after 10 or so bowl games, the reminader are pretty lame...
I might watch the games that have bearing on the final rankings up at the top, the rest are just TV "filler" material.
We now have 3 "must-see games" (the 2 semi-fianls and the NCG).
I'd be fore expanding the College Football Playoff to not just 8 teams, but 16 teams.
That'd be 7 or 15 MEANINGFUL games.
Otherwise you have a whole lot of 8-4 vs. 7-5 teams playing far from their home cities, and it just beges the question "WHY ?"
The empty seats are real. There is little passion for these games.
Why are we getting more, rather than less of them, if nobody attends these games ?
Here is your answer.... ESPN needs "content", any kind of sports to fill up air time over the holidays, when you have a lot of couch-potato eyeballs available who will watch anything.
So ESPN has taken ownership of many of these bowl games. Economically, it still works for ESPN, even if they sell no tickets whatsoever.... It's all about TV.
They can give each school about $100,000 to transport their team and band down to the bowl game and put them up in a hotel for 2 nights.
ESPN can then sell a bunch of commercial time (and I believe they give some free commerical time to corporations that help to "Sponsor" the game).
And they now have programming for that 2-5 pm slot on Wednesday, December 29th, when there are a goodly number of college football fans sitting at home over XMAS-New Years break.
The games end up being rather meaningless, but hey, maybe this ESPN-owned bowl concept is a win-win for a lot of people.
It's provided bowl opportunities for a lotof G5 schools who don't travel well, and therefore aren't attractive to the better-known bowl games that want to see
a lot of ticket sales and hotel room bookings.
Personally I view these games as "mildly entertaining" or "background noise".
The TV industry knows that even bowl games between the #3 SEC team and the #2 ACC team aren't all THAT meaningful, although they tend to be high-quality football and much more watchable.
But from a marketing perspective, if you held a 16-team playoff, you would have 15 all-or-nothing elimination games that would command TV audiences (and advertising revenue)
more along the lines of the NFL playoffs. The viewing audience would far prefer that, than the current rather random "Outback Bowl" match-ups, and the TV networks like ESPN will be dangling big bucks in front of the CFP powers-that-be,
once we see the Nielsen ratings for this 4-team playoff. This 4-team playoff is set up for the next 12-years, but there would seem to be an oppotunity to alter it after 6 years, when all the bowls have been through one complete rotation.
Money talks, just ask any of those P5 conference commissioners.....
I fully expect the playoff to go from 4 to 8 teams after the first 6 year cycle is competed. Television money talks. Modifying the system will give ESPN, or whomever wins the contract, an additional weekend of big bowl games and high Nielsen ratings. The bowls who host schools #9-#16 will still wind up as filler programing around New Years and the evenings leading up to it. You hit the nail on the head--the elimination game atmosphere will drive up ratings. Fans who have a team in the playoffs will have a vested interest in watching all the games because they will want to see the teams that their school will be facing in the next round.