NEW YORK Fox Sports televises NFL playoff games as well as college football's BCS bowls, so president Ed Goren knows quite well how popular a tournament-style postseason system can be.
He still values the unique culture of bowls, believing that fans want their college games to be a celebration and an event a bigger spectacle than just another step toward the title.
"For the advertisers, I think it goes beyond hard numbers," said Goren, whose network is paying an average of $80 million a year through 2010 to broadcast the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls and the BCS title game.
"This is an emotional buy," Goren added after a media luncheon Tuesday with Fox's college football commentators. "This is a positive experience where as an advertiser you want to be associated with this event."
In the debate over whether college football should switch to a playoff system, Goren speculates that such a change would temper the enthusiasm that bubbles from fans and players associated with BCS bowls.
"You saw it just the other night on the selection show, thousands of people in Hawaii just celebrating the fact that their team is in a BCS game," Goren said.
Ratings for the championship and the other BCS games have varied depending on the matchup and the competitiveness of the contest. Last season's Orange Bowl between Louisville and Wake Forest drew a 7.0; the Rose Bowl between Southern California and Michigan on ABC earned a 13.9. The title game between Ohio State and Florida received a 17.4.
"The reality is the BCS games are as well-received and as popular in viewership as anything out there," Goren said.
This year's college basketball championship game drew a 13.2. The World Series averaged a 10.6, and the NBA finals averaged a 6.2. The four NFL playoff games on Fox last season averaged a 19.9."As a professional athlete win or go home, that's fine. That's the way pro sports works," Goren said. "Is it exciting? Absolutely. But it's a totally different experience."
BOWDEN EXTENSION: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden agreed to a contract extension Tuesday amid reports he was talking with Arkansas about its coaching vacancy. "I'm very pleased with the contract extension agreement that we reached," Bowden said in a statement. Houston Nutt resigned as Arkansas' coach last week and accepted the job at Mississippi.