All I have to say is, “welcome”! Along with “where have all of you been”?
I’ve posted about the fan logistics problem as one of the reasons the Playoff needs to be (and now, stay) at four teams for more than a decade. Rarely have I gotten much of a response (pro or con), because most stay focused on the size of the field and totally ignored the logistics aspect. But it’s a major issue.
There’s always some naive soul who will toss in the “well, it works pretty well for March Madness, so it can work for football as well” statement, thinking he/she’s dropped the mic on the issue. But these two (NCCA Basketball vs. CFP) are much more dissimilar than they are alike, if you think about it.
For one, you have four teams at one site, with a venue of around 15-20K (first two weekends - field of 64 and sweet sixteen) games. There will be enough local interest to draw maybe 5K local fans (unless a local team is in their venue’s field), so that means there’s just 3-4K tickets per visiting team to fill up the arena. Contrast that with football, where venues are at least 70K and there are only two teams participating. Even with decent local support, that leaves 20-30K tickets per team to sell if they’re going to have the type of crowd a game of this magnitude deserves. If your team wins, you have to do it again the very next week. And you only have 6 days to plan - which means premium cost of airline tickets (if not drive-able), and last second pricing on lodging. Plus jumping into the secondary market for tickets, of course.
Multiply that by three games (for an 8 team playoff), and however many folks you are taking with you, and that starts to become a sizable dent in the old bank account. For good measure, factor in the ability to take extra vacation that you probably weren’t planning on (iF you have any left at the end of the year), and right around the Holidays when you’ve probably already taken some time off, and it’s clear that not very many folks can follow their team in a 8 or 16 team field.
The ONLY way it would work is if the first round (or two) was at the higher seed’s stadium; but that would gut the Bowl system (taking the top 8 or 16 teams out of the pool of teams to draw fans), and that system is so well entrenched that it isn’t going anywhere soon. I’d be the first to say that there are WAY too many Bowl games now - I’d like to see 15 to 20 - but the places that have them don’t want to let them go. And even at the type of money ESPN could get for the four extra playoff games, they would be losing several existing Bowl games so it wouldn’t net out to be as much difference as many of you seem to think (ESPN is the driving force behind a lot of these bottom-feeding Bowls. Why? Because they learned a long time ago there is a core of college football fans that will watch virtually ANY game they put on, and advertisers know this as well).
For me - a college football purist - this isn’t the main reason to keep the playoff at four; but it is a major factor, and one that few ever talk about.
Swine . . . glad to see that you have joined “us”. I remember you stumping for an 8 team playoff not very long ago. Glad you have seen the light!