BCS Doubts A College Football Stadium Can Host A College Football Game Comment Count

Brian April 25th, 2012 at 11:40 AM


It appears that conference commissioners are against home games for a four-team college football playoff. Since it's tough to think of a valid reason to be against them, the commissioners have to make up bad reasons. Bad reasons like "they play basketball at neutral sites" that ignore things like the NFL and every other playoff in the country that is not NCAA hockey.

That only is the third-worst argument.


The second-worst is "what if Cincinnati gets a bid?" Here is a complete list of teams that would have hosted first-round games if a four-team playoff had been instituted in 1998, the year of the BCS's inception:

  • Tennessee [102,455]
  • Florida State [82,300]
  • Virginia Tech [66,233]
  • Oklahoma [82,112]
  • Miami [74,916]
  • Nebraska [86,304]
  • Ohio State [102,329]
  • LSU [92,542]
  • USC [93,607]
  • Texas [101,624]
  • Florida [88,548]
  • Alabama [101,821]
  • Auburn [87,451]
  • Oregon [53,800]

All but three of those stadiums have capacities above 82,000. The exceptions are Miami's Your Name Here Stadium (75k), VT's Lane Stadium (66k) and Oregon's Autzen Stadium (54k). Each would have hosted once. Since the capacity of the Fiesta Bowl is 63k and the Orange Bowl is held at the same place Miami plays home games, stadium size cannot be a reasonable objection. In the event a tiny stadium would get to host, make them move the site to a reasonably close stadium of appropriate size, or just count your money from the many, many times college teams with capacities 20k larger than the biggest pro stadiums have hosted. Problem solved.


So that's a bad argument. But it's not the worst. This is the worst:

BCS executive director Bill Hancock has said there are questions about whether some college campuses had the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the crush of fans and media attending a college football semifinal.

"The infrastructure needed on campus is significant," Hancock told the Associated Press. "That's a factor. That's just one example of the intricacies that are part of this."

Bill Hancock wonders if college football stadiums have the infrastructure to host college football games.


You can't make this up, because if you did people would hit you really hard with rolled-up socks.



April 25th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

OK, now compare those stadiums listed and their concourses, concessions infrastructure, infrastructural layout as I discussed, etc., etc. If there are ANY infrastructural differences at the pro stadiums as opposed to college stadiums that enhance them as feasible cold-weather event venues, then you just proved my point.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't say hosting a final 4 playoff wasn't feasible at Michigan Stadium (or a similarly situated forum). I only said that the "infrastructural concerns" weren't necessarily as scoffable as Brian would portray them. The concerns, insofar as they're valid, exist. But I would argue they can be mitigated, and the idea of home playoff games is a good one. I think it would generate a lot of excitement, create memorable matchups, and result in teams scheduling more competitive regular seasons in order to get that very important home playoff game.


April 25th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

Thats precisely the problem, they are viewing it like a corporate superbowl event rather than a football game.   When tickets are priced at $150 each and USC is playing Wisconsin in the semi-finals in Miami on January 3rd and then the winner plays in Dallas on Monday, January 9th, lets see how packed the stadium is with fans.  


April 25th, 2012 at 3:02 PM ^

but the counter-argument there is ... if your worst-case scenario is a half-full stadium, your risk is pretty low.  They can always reduce the ticket costs.  (And anyway, the school's athletic departments are going to be on the hook for much of them via guarantees - when their jubilant fans will be in no mood to care about costs anyway.)

Compare this to a worst-case scenario for the home-game scenario: national media and SEC fans overrunning an ill-prepared, remote, snowed-over, college town like Pullman, WA.


April 25th, 2012 at 3:59 PM ^

So the worst case scenario of the neutral site is multi-million dollar charges to what are, in many cases, cash-strapped publicly funded institutions by private entities that have, in the past, proven themselves to be engaged in the high level corruption of local and state politics vs. local inconveniences to the media.  

I know which one I'd choose.


April 25th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

Michigan did recently pack 100k+ in the stadium for a Hockey Game in December!  The idea that they need a heated stadium or canopies is weak sauce.  The NFL doesn't deny Chicago or Green Bay home playoff games because the weather is different that it is in Tampa Bay or Jacksonville.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:01 PM ^

- Scoreboards aren't big enough for all attending the game to see.

- The grass is not used to being stepped on after November.

- The airports/roads in said areas can't handle all the extra traffic

- Change is scary

- I have a tough time cheating on my wife in Nebraska

- My limo doesn't have snow tires

Sextus Empiricus

April 25th, 2012 at 12:06 PM ^

But who would have the onerous task of bidding out the sites... oh please save us BCS.  Only you could do that with the scruples required such a difficult and unrewarding a task. 


April 25th, 2012 at 12:07 PM ^

So, it appears that Hancock has not been to a big time college football game in a while.  Let's take Michigan - Notre Dame from this past year or Michigan - Ohio from 2006.. You're telling me that there will be more media attending those games than a National Semi-Final?  Maybe a handful. 

As for fans, if he would walk around a campus he would easily see that for the 100,000 fans inside the stadium, there are another 25,000 outside without tickets tailgating, watching at bars, etc.  Infrastructure.  Laughable.

The real reason is cold weather and money.  Southern teams / conferences don't want to entertain the thought of playing at Michigan Stadium or the Horseshoe in December.  Also, the power brokers are looking at having a windfall of money by having sites bid on the games while charging $300 plus per ticket for the semi-finals and probably a Super Bowl-esque $500+ for the National Championship. 

That is absurd.  It will lead to less than optimal attendance at the semi-final games and the less affluent fans will save their money and only travel to the Championship game. 


April 25th, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

Or in orther words, our corporate sponsers feel they can make more money at neutral sites (Jerry's World) than college stadiums.  Or, the current sponsers don't want to give up their $$$rights$$$ to their bowls already in place. (no idea if this is true, but I wouldn't doubt for a second this isn't Hancock's thought process)

Same philosophy, different 'arena'


April 25th, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

The in-game revenue from these things isn't just about the overall capacity - it's also about the skyboxes.  It's quite possible that a modern NFL-style stadium that seats 60k would generate more revenue than a college stadium that holds 80k if there are a lot more skyboxes in the modern stadium.  Corporate interests and all.

I don't agree with the decision - I agree that the semifinal games should be held at the higher-seed's home site - but if the argument is that an 80k seat stadium necessarily generates more revenue than a 60k stadium, I'm not quite sure that's accurate.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:15 PM ^

Considering I question if the semifinals would sell out if it is at a nuetral site, I think you would probably make more money in general from having it at a higher seeded teams site.  People generally tend to overrate their teams, so if they could only make one trip, it would be to the championship game that the fans figure their team will make it to.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

When the Metrodome roof caved in, one of the options explored was playing at Minnesota's TCF Stadium. It was abandoned, at least in part, because the field did not have any heating built in, and thus would be like playing on pavement. Anybody out there know whether Michigan Stadium's field is heated? I'm guessing not.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:26 PM ^

...though there were complaints leading up to the game that the efforts to thaw the field weren't completely successful. I imagine that if Michigan had any hope of hosting a game in late December or early January, they would cover the field immediately after the final home game to alleviate the snow removal/thawing issues that Minnesota faced.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:12 PM ^

Play the semi-final games a week after the championship games. Yes, It's December and cold, but each of those northern stadiums will be above capacity. 

The higher seeds are meant to have an advantage, hence the home game format. You would not have the infastructure problems becasue, well, the oposing teams will only have the number of tickets that are usually sold to such teams. This should not even be an issue. Any one of those college towns can accomodate all media that would like to attend. 

The only travel problem that could occur is Dave Brandon securing the donor dollars for the band to make the trip. 


April 25th, 2012 at 12:15 PM ^

I think that's an over-simplification of Hancock's comments.  I'm guessing he meant more about the logistics of having a large number of people coming from outside of the area as opposed to having 95% local people attending regular home games.  Regardless, it's probably still not a very good argument


April 25th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

I'm guessing he meant more about the logistics of having a large number of people coming from outside of the area as opposed to having 95% local people attending regular home games

It's a home site, so 95% of the people attending will be from the local area. It's no different than having ND at the Big House, or USC at the Horseshoe


April 25th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

I'm guessing it would be set up where the visiting school would get more than just a section, but not too many. After all, it's not much of a home site if the visiting team has 50% of the tickets (which would most likely just end up on Stubhub anyways, since I doubt too many USC fans would travel to Michigan and then to a hypothetical National Championship game the next week and vice versa)


April 25th, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

Just like everything else these days, it seems, it really all boils down to money.  I assume the powers-that-be have information or have summarily decided that more money is to be had by keeping the bowl game system intact and are merely coming up with reasons to justify that all-powerful deciding factor.  Right?  



April 25th, 2012 at 12:21 PM ^


Cold weather versus warm weather

Warm weather teams do not want to play a playoff game hosted by a BIG 10 whoops B1G team. Playing a college football playoff game hosted by the #1 or #2 team would eventually see a game hosted by a B1G team. Playing a playoff game in the BIG 10 country in the winter would be an advantage to the B1G team.

Decisions are made by emotions. Brian is exposing the emotion because there is no logic for not rewarding the top two teams in a four team playoff by allowing them to host the first two playoff games.

Brady Hoke has pointed the way to argue with some of the comments coming from the BCS. “What is best for the student athletes?” Playing at home or playing at a neutral site? Playing at home is better for 50% of the participating teams versus playing at a neutral site would be worse for 100% of the student athletes because of travel time and time away from their studies. Let the emotion of college football rule and reward the top two teams with a home game. More spirit, more bands and more fun because it benefits more students.

PS: The Rose Bowl is awesome and I hope the B1G can maintain its relationship with the PAC12.


April 25th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

Also, what is best for the STUDENTS who at many schools, contribute an "activities fee" or portion of their tuition towards running the athletic department.  It might be nice to at least give them a chance to be able to see a "Bowl" game for $50-150, rather than forcing them to shell out half a grand for plane tickets, hotels, lodging, etc.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:21 PM ^

As I deconstruct Bill Hancock's statements, here's what I think his true meaning is:

1.  Moar money for guys in yellow jackets;

2.  Moar junket trips for guys in yellow jackets;

3. Moar bowl game like perks for guys in yellow jackets; and

4. Moar ways for guys in yellow jackets to skirt non-profit laws and get even moar of that  moar money.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

that this sport has been twisted like this. it makes me long for the days when there were just bowl games and a split championship once every decade. this feels like 10 bad solutions to what was, in hindsight, not really that bad anyway.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:33 PM ^

If the games are home games, who would get the money for tickets, broadcast rights, and concessions?  I feel like that is the biggest reason the BCS would fight against the home stadium semifinals.  It would also potentially kill the attractiveness of the other bowl games because the top 4 teams wouldn't be there.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:36 PM ^

If no home games then noreal difference between the team finishing 1st or 4th now is there?  It would seem that other than the all-important jersey color selection there would be no advantadge in finishing 1st and undefeated (for example) over a team finishing 4th with potentially two losses.



April 25th, 2012 at 12:39 PM ^

I'm now in my 40's and these idiots have now deprived me and more importantly thousands of coaches and players of 30+ years of fantastic football and intrigue and resolution.

So may great games have been cockblocked by these idiots it is staggering.   We as fans have been robbed of intrigue down the stretch over and over again.  As Michigan fans we have suffered some of the worst as over the last 40 years how many times would Michigan been in a playoff or at least close enough to getting a plyoff spot that the build up and intrigue down the stretch would have been incredible.   We missed out on all these games for what?

I hate these guys so much.   Ever since the early 80's  when Miami claimed the NC by beating Nebraska in their home stadium and Michigan was made fun of because we couldn't beat USC in their home stadium I have dreamed of the day we could host a playoff game and play Miami or USC at Michigan and see how it turned out for them.

Fuck the BCS so Hard!!!!!


Hardware Sushi

April 25th, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

So my question is this: Why the hell do 20K tickets matter every year, let alone once out of 28 games?

For the sake of mental math, let's say a team with a 55k stadium hosts a semifinal. Tickets go for $200. The alternate neutral site stadium holds 75k. (We can do this with different numbers but I don't really want to get a calc out).

Holding it at this on-campus location will generate $4million less than imaginary 75k neutral site stadium, not including variance for total suites available to sell.

Now, the television rights per year number that has been tossed around for a couple years now (I can't remember if it was Dennis Dodd or Dan Wetzel) is $700+ million for a 4-team playoff. Let's be conservative an go with $600 million, $300 for the Championship and $150 for each Semifinal.

Yes, the BCS commissioners are worried about potentially generating $4-milliion less once over a 28-game period when each yearly television payout is $300 million plus for the semifinals.

This does not count the points Brian makes about the most likely collegiate stadiums to host a semifinal being larger than the neutral site alternatives. Makes a lot of fucking sense. AHH I WANT TO KNOW WHO IS IN CHARGE.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^


There are a couple parts of the infrastructure complaint that make sense to me. For games that are more than say, 1,000 miles away, it is going to be very difficult to drive. Most people going to a home game of their preferred team are within an 8 hour drive, making it feasible to go to a game in a weekend, and not miss work. This is true for almost all conference games. For instance, I can get to almost all Michigan games, home and back, inside of one day. (The exceptions are Nebraska and Penn State, with Minnesota and Ohio being borderline.) If you have to fly, the infrastructure of areas outside of a major metro airport would make it challenging. Would there be enough flights into Lincoln? University Park? Iowa City? And flights to those cities would cost a lot more than flights into Chicago or Detroit.

The other issue, forgetting about the cold, is safety in driving in blizzard conditions. Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and Colorado can be bad places to travel in December and January. I can see the headlines now if a hundred SEC fans froze to death on I-80 outside of Lincoln one winter in a blizzard.

Hardware Sushi

April 25th, 2012 at 12:55 PM ^

There will be the same amount of time to figure out plans for travel for a neutral site or on-campus game. The difference would be knowing earlier where the neutral site game is as opposed to "officially" finding out about the semifinal locations. There will typically only be 4 or 5 finalists to host a semifinal going into the first weekend in December so it's not like drawing out of a hat from 120 options. Also keep in mind that regardless of knowing the semifinal location for neutral sites, participants still need to be determined just like the on-campus situation.

Airlines will be aware of this. Hotels will be aware of this. Most tickets to on-campus events will be sold to the demographic of people that attend home games at the on-campus location anyway.

Infrastructure is a red herring, in my opinion. Same as money, which I tried to break down above.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

Why would these games need more flights? Presumably, most tickets would go to the people who already attend games in that stadium.

As for the weather concerns, you're totally overblowing them. We shouldn't play in California because there are earthquakes. what happens if New Orleans floods again? When was the last time even 10s of people froze in their cars in a blizzard? Even when all those cars were trapped on Lake Shore Drive last year, no one suffered serious injury.


April 25th, 2012 at 5:33 PM ^

... events like Hurricane Katrina and the Loma Prieto earthquake, and the routine snowstorms and freezing rain that trap cars on the interstates, close roads in Ann Arbor, etc. every year(1).

ProTip: If you're going to make that argument, don't use the word "overblown".

1.  Yes, I've lived in Ann Arbor when there were white 4th of July days and green Christmas days.  I've also played car pinball more times than I can count trying to get my car out of a flat-sheet-of-ice parking lot.  Weather is *not* an overblown concern for scheduling major revenue events for the people who have to make it work.


April 26th, 2012 at 10:34 AM ^

And were trapped on the Interstate every year.  Or even once. I'd say storms at that level are probably less coomon than Earthquakes in Cali. I've lived in the north all my life, and NEVER been stuck anyway. Drive slow? Sure. Think it's better to stay in if you can? Yup. DEATH ICE STORM? Probably about as often as games have to be switched around because a hurricane is coming.

(You really remember it snowing on July 4th? Because the National Weather Service has the last major snowstorm as May 9th....in 1923.



Ed Shuttlesworth

April 25th, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

You just knew they weren't going to get this right.  Three extra neutral/corporate-stie games outside the bowl system makes less than zero sense.  Two major road trips in two weeks in the dead of winter to get gouged at the ticket window each time -- no one's going to be into that.

Plus it makes the 4 seed the effective equal of the 1 seed, diluting the regular season badly.

Thanks, but no thanks.  I'd prefer the pre-BCS system to the garbage that's going to come out of this.


April 25th, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

One reason not to have higher seeds host is that it puts a lot of pressure on the polls or selectors to get the top seeds right, because the home field is such an advantage. If the 2-3 game is at a neutral site, it really doesn't matter th is seeded higher, but if the 2 plays at home, it is a huge deal. For example, if Okie St. and Bama played last year at in New Orleans, it is basically neutral in terms of fans and venue. But, if it was at one campus or the other, the one team that the polls decided was better would have a significant home field advantage.

It just opens the process up to more shenanigans among the voters and top teams.


April 25th, 2012 at 7:42 PM ^

Somehow I think Okie State would have been okay having to travel to Bama for a semi-final, instead of being straight fucked like they were this year. There will always be poll shenanigans, right now they happen for numbers 1 and 2, in a 4 team playoff they would happen for numbers 5, and/or 3 in your scenario.

Ed Shuttlesworth

April 25th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

And you just know fans will have to pay in advance for a two-game "package" complete with non-refundable "facility fees" and "convenience fees" and wait forever for refunds if their school loses in the semis -- if refunds are available at all.