The math just doesn't add up for a college football playoff.
That's one man's opinion from Tom Starr, the executive director of the Freedom Bowl, who has taken a hard look at the issue that will be voted upon next month at the College Football Association convention in Dallas. If the majority of the 63 schools approve the playoff, it will be presented to the NCAA convention next January."The last time it came up I know there were 13 votes against because schools were so worried that bowl people would read who voted and who didn't," Starr said. "They didn't want to make the bowls angry. I know there are eight or nine CFA schools who would vote against it right now. Then you've got the Big Ten and Pac-10 (two non-CFA conferences). The MAC (Mid-America Conference) and the Big West would probably vote against it because of the California Bowl."
The Big Ten and PAC-10 conferences are not members of the CFA. Those 20 schools have their own television contract with ABC. They also have their own deal with Rose Bowl - the richest of all the postseason bowls.
Unless the CFA's playoff system could match the estimated $5 million per team payoff of the Rose Bowl, the PAC-10 and Big Ten would likely remain on the outside.
Starr is worried about the impact a playoff would have on the smaller bowls - those that don't play on New Year's Day. He says a lot of college football purists still believe in the bowl format where there are at least 18 winners every year.
That's the number of bowls there will be next season as the Copper Bowl in Tucson, Ariz. joins the list.
The television committee of the CFA has come up with a 16-team playoff that would likely employ the New Year's bowls as sites for the quarterfinals. Starr sees that as stealing the thunder of smaller bowls.
"Right now 36 coaches come out wih bowl teams," Starr said. "There are 18 winners. If you have a playoff you have what happened to (former Houston basketball Coach) Guy Lewis. He took his team to three Final Fours, but people said he couldn't coach because he couldn't win the big one."
If there is a playoff, Starr favors the so-called "Vince Dooley Plan" in which two selected teams would play for the national title.
"It's obvious any kind of a playoff plan is not going to help the bowls," Starr said. "In basketball, you can send Georgetown to be the top seed in the West Regional, but if Syracuse played West Virginia in Anaheim (in football), there wouldn't be a person in the stands."
Starr is headed in the other direction. The first "Disneyland Game" will make its debut in 1990 at Anaheim Stadium based on the format of the Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.
The CFA playoff plan has one "yes" vote from Missouri. Athletic Director Dick Tamburo said that is the way Missouri will vote - with reservations - when administrative assistant Jim Cochran represents the school at the CFA convention.
"I think we'll support the thing, but how do you support a national championship without the Pac-10 and Big Ten?" Tamburo said.