A new poll of 135 college football players released this week by ESPN The Magazine showed that support for an undefined "playoff" vanishes instantly if the current bowl system were a casualty of a new postseason format. When players were asked to choose between the current system of the BCS and the bowls or a 16-team playoff format based on Football Championship Series (FCS) postseason, players by more than two to one chose the current system.
Would you rather have an FCS-style, 16-team playoff with no bowls or the current system?
Current system: 70.4%
"Playoffs may be popular in concept, but for student athletes, that thin support switches to even stronger opposition if it means the end of the bowls as we know them. College football is thriving because of the system we have, which delivers the most meaningful regular season in sports and the pageantry and tradition of the bowl season, capped off by the national championship game," said Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the BCS.
Players also strongly preferred bowl trips to a playoff.
Would you rather have a college football career with three bowl trips or one playoff trip?
3 Bowls: 77.0%
1 Playoff: 23.0%
"Several polls show support for a playoff, but the support is often just skin deep. When people see the negative effect a playoff would have on the regular season and the multi-day bowl celebrations, the support quickly fades," said Hancock.