Cleat Geeks

College Football Playoff: And The Winner Is…

For the first time in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision a playoff system was used to determine the 2015 NCAA Football National Champion.

The College Football Playoff replaced the much-maligned Bowl Championship Series as the method of selection to the National Championship game. A selection committee patterned after the NCAA Basketball Tournament Selection Committee has replaced the BCS, a formula blend of polls and computer rankings to select the ‘best’ two teams to play for the National Championship. With the implementation of the committee, the number of participating teams increased from two to four teams and from one game to three games.

The first season with the new format can be considered nothing less than a success. Is the system perfect? No. Do changes need to be made? Certainly. With any professional organization or event, the self-evaluation process has been on-going throughout the season and continues even now that the trophy has been presented and the teams and supporters are back home celebrating and/or preparing for next season. (The recruiting quiet period ends on January 14th and beginning January 15th the push to National Signing Day on February 4th means little time to celebrate or recover before hitting the recruiting trail.) But was Urban Meyer’s Ohio State University, OSU, Buckeyes the real winner?

Without a doubt OSU won a football game versus the University of Oregon Ducks in formidable fashion. The Buckeyes dominated the Ducks on the field and on the sideline, the final horn sounded, and the final score, 42-20, was in their favor declaring them the winners and National Champions. Confetti rained onto the indoor field at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and the Dr. Pepper Trophy was presented to Coach Meyer and OSU. However, I contend that the actual winners in the first College Football Playoff can be identified by two four letter words, ESPN and NIKE.

NIKE is obviously one of the largest suppliers of athletic footwear, equipment and apparel in the world. NIKE has apparel deals with hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the United States. All four teams in the 2015 College Football Playoff, the University of Alabama, the University of Oregon, the Florida State University, and the Ohio State University, are NIKE schools. The combined value of the four football contracts of the CFP schools were $15.1 million. A significant investment by NIKE? Absolutely! However, the enormity of the publicity and presentation of the NIKE name and Swoosh trademark through the entirety of the playoffs, not to mention the memorabilia and souvenir sales, is invaluable if not immeasurable.

ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network), The Worldwide Leader in Sports paid $7.3 billion to be the home of the College Football Playoffs through 2026. The risk has brought a great deal of reward in just the first year of the playoffs. The three playoff games, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the National Championship Game, are the three highest rating programs in the over thirty-five year storied history of the cable network. Commercials for the final game were reported to cost advertisers $1 million for thirty seconds. A bargain compared to the $4.5 million for an NFL Super Bowl commercial, balancing out with one-quarter the total number of viewers. A win? I think so.

The 2015 College Football Playoffs ‘Undisputed Champs’, ESPN and NIKE.

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