Sleep on this interview with Big East Commissioner John Marinatto at your own risk, because buried between the AOL sidebars here is a chilling scenario for college football fans.â†µ
“It [the BCS] is such an entity where there’s so many diverse things that come together that make it work,” Marinatto said. "I don’t know if all that will continue to go on the way it is. If they’re pressured to create a playoff, they would simply go back to what the system used to be like and have it as an at-large free-for-all where people can go [to whichever bowl] they want.â†µ
“I don’t think the pressure would cause people to create a playoff. I think it would cause them to go back to where we used to be [before the BCS].”â†µ
It’s a scary thought, but also an unlikely one. It could also be the very partisan thoughts of a commissioner whose league benefits greatly from the current set up. The BCS contract with ESPN expires in 2013, and could be up for a huge contract renewal if all parties stay on board. Turning down the kind of cash the BCS generates makes the notion of returning to the old bowl system an absurd one, financially speaking (especially in a recession.)â†µ
As unequal as the current way of doing things is, it is at least bears some resemblance to a playoff. Threatening a return to the old is merely a way of making the present half-measure look far better than it actually is; additionally, it ain’t happening, and Marinatto knows it full and well. Please be terrified, however, of the idea of a world without the BCS if you’d like to fall right into his clutches.