Column: A cartel by any other name still a cartel

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The cartel formerly known as the Bowl Championship Series has changed its name.

Because nothing says college football playoff better than, well, College Football Playoff.

Yeah, it’s unimaginative. The capital letters are pretentious, too. But tell me you don’t envy the marketing consultants who were called in and practically dared to give the old BCS crowd a dose of their own medicine.

Consultant A: “How about the SEC Championship?”

Consultant B: “Just because they won the last seven doesn’t mean they’ll win the next seven. Besides, it’s already taken.”

Consultant C: “The Grifters?”

Consultant B: “Same problem.”

Five minutes of silence ensues.

Consultant A: “I got it. How about college football playoff?”

Consultant B: “Hmmm. Short, and to the point, but let’s make it caps. OK? We’re unanimous, then? … Good, call room service and have them send up lunch.”

Consultant A: “Just so it looks like we actually did something for all that money?”

Consultant B: “Exactly. Because game recognizes game.”

In fairness, there’s plenty to like about the redesign. Most important, after two decades or so of ignoring public opinion, the blazers who hijacked college football’s postseason have finally agreed to some semblance of a playoff.

For another thing, those dreaded capital letters NCAA are still nowhere to be found. And for a third, there will be seven big games instead of five, and with both semifinals and four other major bowls scheduled for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, the sport is reclaiming what used to be its best day of the year.

But the downside is considerable, too. It still concentrates too much money and even more power in the hands of too few. By effectively gutting what used to be the Big East, the commissioners of the five remaining power conferences _ SEC, ACC, Big 10, Pac-12 and Big 12 _ will be able to reserve even more slots in big-paying bowls for their league members, and take home an even bigger share of the extra loot a playoff system brings in.

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