NCAA FootballAn NCAA Football Playoff Series has been talked about in the press for the past couple of years.  The current system, known as the BCS, is confusing and frustrating to many sports fans around the country.  Old time regional loyalties and rivalries are falling to the wayside in favor of big TV contracts. Now ESPN steps in talking more money than anyone ever dreamed possible and several well known universities are lining up with hats in hand for a spot on TV.

ESPN president John Skipper said, “Because of college football’s widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games.” The college football playoff system will be televised on ESPN for 12 years once it starts after the 2014 season.  The title game will be played on a Monday, at least a week after the semifinals.  The deal is worth about $470 million a year.  Yes, that’s correct, $470,000,000 per year!

The network already had separate deals for the same 12-year period through the 2025 season for those games, which are affiliated with the Pac 12, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC and SEC. “Folks are going to love this playoff and the attention ESPN will give to it,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement.

ESPN’s current four year contract to air the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl along with the BCS title game is worth about $125 million per year.

ESPN will own the rights to all six bowls involved in the four team playoff system.

There will be three “contract bowls” that offer automatic bids to particular conferences in years they don’t host one of the semifinals: the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl. The new agreement also gives ESPN the rights to the three “host bowls,” which will feature at-large teams along with the top squad from the group of five conferences without ties to a contract bowl. The sites for the host bowls are still to be determined.

College Football Fans across the nation are eagerly awaiting a more satisfying manner of bringing the NCAA gridiron season to some sort of a conclusion.  Basketball has the “Final Four” which is one of the most exciting events of the year and it can only be hoped that the new football playoff system will be able to offer NCAA competition on that level.  The fans deserve it!