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College Football Playoffs: CBS Wanted Tournament Decades Ago

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Power conferences are settling in to figure out what happens to college football's postseason once the BCS expires in two years. The Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big 12 appear to be in favor of a four-team setup, while the SEC doesn't like losing its warm-weather bowl advantage.

But what about the people who actually, as much as anybody else, run the sport? Former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson revealed Monday that his outfit proposed an eight-team playoff 20 years ago:

That it's been this long without a playoff, despite one of the most powerful networks in the sport pushing the idea two decades ago, shows off college football's fetish for old stuff. TV runs conference realignment (exhibit A, exhibit B), but has been unable to force a major postseason change.

(Also in 1992, five conferences clumped together to form the Bowl Coalition, which led to the BCS. So there were attempts at progress, as weird as it is to call the Coalition progress, even though the sport wasn't moving at Pilson's pace.)

Everyone involved knows there's more money in a playoff (and more money for everybody) than in the bowl system. ESPN's Chris Fowler laments the BCS every week on College GameDay, even though the same network airs the BCS standings the following night. ESPN gains credibility by pointing out the flaws in events in broadcasts.

CBS's Gary Danielson goes out of his way to tout the BCS when BCS standings can boost the SEC, but that's in-the-moment business. When it comes to the big-time stuff, CBS got it 20 years ago. Hard to imagine the numbers networks are whispering to conferences and presidents right now, but it seems they've seen the light by now.