The bowls are out, and guess what? There's controversy. There's ALWAYS controversy. And the NCAA wants it that way. Ignore the quotes from Pete Carroll
("Every sport in college sports has a playoff") and Gene Wojciechowski
("College football deserves better than simple bedlam"), and the grumbling around the college coaching fraternity
. The bowl system is the only way for college football to control television on New Year's Day and beyond. With a playoff, there would be interest for a few weeks, but by the end the only game anyone would care about is the championship. Right now there are about 30 bowls, and I'm not saying that people watch all of them, but most college football fans watch parts of 4 or 5 of them.
The current system makes the NCAA and the major conferences wealthy, and the constant controversy only adds to the coverage and ratings that the bowl games, even outside of the BCS championship game, enjoy. If the only bowl game that "mattered" was #1 vs. #2, who would watch the rest? And then who would pay to sponsor and advertise in those side-bowl games?
Of course a playoff makes sense if the goal was to determine the "best" team. But that's not the point of the college football season, the point is to maximize profits and pay for exorbitant coaching salaries
, fancy stadiums and equipment, and oh, by the way, bankroll every other college sport that isn't Division I basketball. Money is the simplest and best answer to why there's no playoff in college football.