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10 interesting facts about the Bowl Championship Series

What I learned from reading "Death to the BCS."

By Ross Atkin / January 10, 2011

Groundskeepers ready the field for the 2011 Bowl Championship Series, to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Nick Oza/The Arizona Republic/AP

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Along the way to their argument that the Bowl Championship Series is a disaster, the authors of "Death to the BCS" – sportswriters Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan – also make these 10 points:

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1 - About 60 percent of bowl teams spend more to play in these games than they receive in payouts for their participation.

2 - A big reason that accepting a bowl invitation can be financially burdensome is because the bowls often require schools to buy large allotments of full-price tickets that they’re unable to sell. For the 2009 Fiesta Bowl in Arizona, for example, even a rabid football school like Ohio State was only able to sell little more than half its 17,500 tickets. The result: a $1 million loss.

3 - Although extending the length of the season is often cited as a drawback to a playoff because of the strain it places on unpaid college players, only two teams would wind up playing 17 games with a 16-team format. (It’s not uncommon for high school championship teams, by the way, to play 15 games.)

4 - Penn State Coach Joe Paterno may be old school in many ways (he claims to have never even used e-mail), but he favors a playoff, and with good reason. He’s led Penn State to five perfect seasons during his 45 years with the Nittany Lions, but they’ve been voted national champions just twice.

5 - Despite the appearance of being charitable organizations, the bowls aren’t especially generous. The 23 tax-exempt bowls in 2003 gave just 1.7 percent of their $186 million in revenue to charities. By far, the most liberal givers to charities were the Orange Bowl in Miami and the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

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