On April 30, I sat around a conference table with about a dozen other writers at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla., and listened as the lords of the BCS discussed their decision to extend the system’s current format through 2014.
Of the eight gentlemen who addressed us that day (the six BCS conference commissioners, Notre Dame AD Kevin White and WAC commissioner Karl Benson, who was representing the other five I-A conferences), three — White, Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese and Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen — have recently announced they’re giving up their seats at the table. White left for Duke, where he will no longer serve as his own commissioner, while Tranghese and Hansen are retiring next summer.
So you knew this question was coming …
How will the impending retirements of Tom Hansen and Mike Tranghese affect the future of college football with respect to the creation of a playoff system?
–Chad, Durham, N.C.
You know how whenever a Supreme Court justice retires, all the pundits start debating whether the new appointee will be the “swing” vote? This feels very much the same, only with one major difference: Nearly the entire bench is already on one end of the spectrum. Even if the new Big East and Pac-10 commissioners turn out to be radical playoff proponents (which is highly unlikely), it still would not be enough to swing the balance of power.
And remember, when it comes to issues like these, the commissioners act primarily as mouthpieces for their member schools’ presidents and chancellors. They are the group that remain most adamantly opposed to a playoff, and therefore any radical changes to the postseason aren’t likely to happen until a new generation of presidents comes along (which could take a decade or more).
The biggest impact of these gentlemen’s departures is likely to be felt within their own conferences. Tranghese, who basically built the Big East’s football conference from scratch, then successfully reinvented it following the ACC’s purge several years back, will be an extremely tough act to follow.
But he’s not the one I got inundated with e-mails about.