Source: USA TODAY
PASADENA, Calif. – The upcoming college football playoff will be known as – drum roll – the College Football Playoff.
“Is that really the name?” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione asked reporters Tuesday afternoon “Or is that just a space-filler?”
A couple of hours later, the name was announced at a news conference at the posh Langham Huntington Hotel, where the latest round of Bowl Championship meetings is taking place.
“It’s really simple. It gets to the point — nothing cute, nothing fancy,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. “The name of the new playoff is just that. … At the end of the day, we just decided to call it what it is: College Football Playoff.”
Yeah, cue the jokes – like this one from Twitter: “I bet Bill Hancock’s dog is named Dog.”
Although generic, the new name is certainly descriptive of the process. And as much as it simply explains the format for the new postseason format, which will begin with the 2014 season – four teams, selected by a committee – it’s a constant reminder of what it’s not. College football’s movers and shakers are more than ready to fill their sport’s space with something other than controversy.
“I’m OK with simple,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “And I’m OK with different.”
Good riddance, BCS – and did you know there’s a College Football Playoff?
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, whose league was among the last to embrace both the BCS era and then its successor, provided further evidence of the sea change. The commissioners cannot wait to retire a battered brand.
“The BCS did a lot of good for college football,” Delany said, “but it also became a burden, a huge branding burden. The evolution happened. We all did it together and came out on I think the right side.”
The evolution happened quickly. It was only a year ago that commissioners first openly used the word “playoff.” Previously, they’d been so opposed to the concept that when the topic came up at all, euphemisms like “plus-one” were preferred.
Hancock also announced a fan contest to pick one of four logos designed by Premier Sports Marketing, the Overland Park, Kan., firm retained to help with the image makeover. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said the contest, which will run through 3 p.m. Eastern Monday at www.collegefootballplayoff.com, “reflects a new mindset.”
“College Football Playoff was responsive to the fans, for the fans, and (choosing the logo) lets the fans have some control, some power they’ve never had before,” Scott said.
The subcommittee on branding batted around “in the neighborhood of three dozen” names for the playoff, Hancock said, but the commissioners voted on only one proposal. The phrase “College Football Playoff” was trademarked last month (apparently coincidentally, ESPN has owned the Internet domain name www.collegefootballplayoff.com since 2003). But the goal was to create something classic rather than corporate. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said earlier this month the aim was to be “more like the Masters than NASCAR.”
“Phil Knight once said to me, ‘It’s not the name, it’s what you do with it,’” said Scott, referring to the Nike founder. “This is going to be a hugely important event. It’s going to have iconic status from the get-go. This will be considered, I promise you, a hugely successful brand regardless of what you think about the creativity or how avant-garde it is or isn’t. it’s what you do with it and it’s what it means.”
For the record, Hancock said, he has never owned a dog. If he did?
“I’d name it Beethoven,” he said.
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