Football playoffs and the Bruins' rise 

April, 2, 2010
Here's this week's mailbag. Also, just a reminder, if you want to send questions, feel free to do so via @BFeldmanESPN on Twitter.

From Ray in Denton, Texas: I hate that the NCAA is going to ruin the basketball tournament by expanding to 96 teams so that you'll have teams with 16-14 records getting in. Then, [Thursday] they essentially make no bones that it's going to be at the expense of class time for the "student-athletes," which was supposedly one of the points why they've been telling us a playoff shouldn't happen in football. There is no shame!

No, there really isn't any shame. It may not be all about money, but it's mostly about money, and the underlying point the NCAA might argue is that it is so dependent on the money the basketball tournament brings in that this will benefit the other sports across the board. OK, I get that. The issue comes up when they throw out things like missing more classes, when it becomes apparent that's what an expanding hoops tourney will do. That line about how it's usually not the crime but the cover-up that does somebody in seems applicable today.

Basketball and football are different animals when it comes to the power players' view of things. You would think the potential for more money is out there with a playoff, yet the power brokers involved are leery of relinquishing power and risking what they think is a very good thing the way it's structured right now. And no, that doesn't have anything to do with players missing classes.

Last week when it came out that almost 100 percent of the FBS head coaches were against a playoff, a colleague of mine who doesn't cover college football was incredulous. I asked a coach for his take on why they voted that way. His answer was that coaches don't want to lengthen the season any more. They don't want to deal with more games. The other part of this is that they like what the bowl experience means, and it can provide a level of job security. Getting to a bowl game often is the benchmark for saving one's job.