When we first got talking about changes to the college football postseason, we wondered if logistics might be a potential stumbling block to hosting games on campus. Ticketing allocation, hotels, parking, even concessions and security – all things planned out months in advance for the regular season – would have to be reconsidered in a couple of weeks for the postseason. In most cases these aren’t NFL stadiums with a full-time quasi-public stadium authority ready to turn the building around for another event.
I expected that might be a point of contention, but I didn’t expect it to be a show-stopper. That’s the way it’s looking, though. The Chicago Tribune explains why the idea of hosting games on-campus might be “on life support.”
Jason Kirk at SBNation explains why one of the bigger concerns is misplaced. The schools most likely to host these games have capacity far beyond most bowl and NFL stadiums. If money is at the heart of the discussion (of course it is), you’re looking at another 10-20,000 tickets to be sold.
Most fans love going to bowl games, but attendence and lack of sellouts at even the BCS bowls indicate that they’d probably much rather stay home and sell out the local stadium if it gives their team an advantage in advancing. And far be it from me to wax poetic in this context, but wouldn’t the scene of Oregon hosting a major playoff game in its smaller stadium be a great and memorable moment for college football?
One thing that’s caught my attention in this discussion is the claim that “the conference commissioners…are eager to take back New Year’s Day.” We know why the bowls have drifted away from New Year’s: with so much money being paid out, the sponsors and networks want their own prime time slot without competition from other bowls. So we get the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl with their own nights on television but unable to break 70,000 tickets sold as fans choose to stay home after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. If the commissioners are able to consolidate the semifinals on New Year’s, the other traditional New Year’s Day bowls will either have to move their own dates or risk being drown out by hours of analysis and pomp for the big games.