Not that they'd learn them. I was struck by Blutarsky's assessment, one that I agree with:
First of all, I think that underestimates the degree to which guys like Slive, Scott and Delany are convinced they’re the sharpest people in the room. I look at them and see a bunch of 21st century Jed Clampetts who just happened to be in the right place at the right time controlling access to a product that consumers want and are willing to pay for, while most simply see the size of the contracts and are dazzled by the numbers.Which sounds like what Bill France was doing in the late 90s. NASCAR went from 26 races to 33 races. Those 33 races don't include the All-Star race or the Bud Shootouts held the week before Daytona. They also decided to have a ten race 'playoff' designed to make the championship, and the build up to it, more interesting.
And now NASCAR is dying, or at least moving backwards in popularity. They turned their back on what worked for them. The shorter tracks and Labor Day in Darlington and fall in Atlanta and North Wilkesboro and Rockingham. And their TV partners are saying no thank you. TBS and ESPN decided they didn't want NASCAR anymore (note the irony of NPR doing a NASCAR piece). And fans aren't going anymore. Why would they? The racing is homogeneous. The only thing unique about the cars are paint schemes and name plates. The cars all look the same.
And all of that for a demographic that was merely passing a fancy at the sport.
That is the biggest red flag I see for college football. At some point, teams are going to stop worrying about the regular season, you know the season that brings in the revenue for the conferences and the teams, when the schools/conferences figure out how to milk more money from a playoff than the regular season can bring. For a good example, see Madness, March. You think I'm joking? Just ask John Calipari:
Calipari: "They're making it like this is a big deal. But it's November. How big a deal is it?"This after an early season loss. Certainly Kentucky can survive a November loss to Michigan State (and for that matter about 10 more losses, approximately 1/4 of their schedule) and still have a shot at playing for the national championship.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) November 11, 2013
You think that won't be the case when we go to 8 teams in college football? How about 16 teams?
They aren't good at leaving great alone or identifying what it is they are facing:
Well, simply, these are people who don’t handle crisis well. Heck, they don’t even identify crisis well. Remember, one of the reasons we’ve got this brand-spanking new playoff is a panic over what they thought at the time were declining postseason revenues that were causing the conferences to bleed money, and that’s turned out to be non-existent. So what happens when the next terrifying thing (another ratings drop, or an O’Bannon loss, perhaps) hits?Thinking back to NASCAR, they were worried about two things: Growing their sport to new markets and the (perceived) problems the season faced with competition in the fall from football and the baseball playoffs. So they shunned what worked for them, went to more 'fan friendly' and TV friendly tracks, and just assumed the base would follow. But it didn't. There is nothing compelling about non-characters running the same car as 42 other non-characters around the same track they are racing at for over half the season. Yet this is the product NASCAR has designed. And if we are being honest, that is what the Mike Slives of the world are also worried about.
The message I take from NASCAR is one that many former fans, including myself, have been saying for some time: Don't screw with what is working for your current demographic in the blind hope that those who are your current fans won't bail when you take away what currently attracts them.
Because they will. There are those of us that are die hards that will always support our teams, but it is harder to say who are general college football fans who will bail on the regular season when a late September match-up is at best a seeding game for the playoffs.