Jim Harbaugh Supports Playoff If Stanford Gets Snubbed

Stanford is currently ranked number four in the BCS, which guarantees it a spot in a bowl game. If they fall out of the fifth spot by the time the final rankings come out, however, there is actually a chance that they could get snubbed out of a spot in a bowl game. Why?

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It all comes down to attendance. In this ESPN article, Harbaugh grumbles about the fact that he’s heard a lot of talk about how well schools’ fans travel to regular season games and bowl games. The people who pick the participants for the major bowls want to make the most money, and the conventional wisdom is that schools that have high attendance and large followings will draw big crowds, big TV ratings, and ultimately big dollars.

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But is that right?

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The same logic is probably what is going to keep Michigan State out of the BCS this year — higher ranked Wisconsin (despite having a head-to-head loss against the Spartans) will likely go to the Rose Bowl, and Ohio State is the more likely at-large pick given their perceived stronger fan base.

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Whether or not you considered this “right” as in morally or ethically correct, some of us wonder if it’s actually more likely to make money for the bowl games in the end. One of the highest rated bowl games from last year was actually the Outback Bowl featuring Auburn and Northwestern. The second school consistently has problems with home attendance — but when it comes to bowl games travels exceptionally well and tends to watch too. Though some teams have traditional followers, I wonder about those teams like Stanford and MSU that don’t go to big name bowls all that often. If your team isn’t going to hit up a BCS bowl again in the near future, aren’t you more likely to splurge on a ticket package or park your butt on the couch for the game as opposed to when your team is in the BCS every single year?

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