Thursday, November 18, 2010

Obama's BCS Promise, We're Still Waiting for Change...

USC college football fans spell out the word playoffs with crimson and yellow body paint
(Article first published as Obama's BCS Promise, We're Still Waiting for Change on Technorati.)

I'm disappointed with President Obama, the candidate of "change." It's not because of the Wall Street bailout, although that really did suck. And it's not because of health care reform or the troops still in the Middle East or that the economy continues to plunge into depths even lower than the Bush administration.
No, it's because of what he said on Monday Night Football in 2008 (just before he got elected). ESPN's Chris Berman asked Obama, "If you could change one thing in sports, what would that be?" Obama's sure answer, "'s about time we had playoffs in college football. I'm fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other... get eight teams... top eight teams right at the end... you got a playoff... decide on a national champion." He spoke with conviction, a smart answer mere days preceding the election.
That got my vote and probably plenty more from sports fans, both red and blue still on the proverbial fence. I whimsically thought, "Here's a candidate for the average American who can relate to want we really want, and he's willing to take on the corruption of powers that be."
The BCS is about as un-American as anything I can think of. How did they ever get the reigns over this sport? Like a Czarist-regime, it ensures only teams from chosen conferences have a chance to content for the top spot. If you ask college football fans what they want, they'll almost unanimously ask for a playoff system, and they'll likely have a design in mind. Like Obama, I can think of a few; it isn't that hard.
Fast forward a week later from MNF in 2008; college football fans voted in record numbers, Obama got elected and a party like never before happened. Obviously nothing materialized that season, and we understandably watched Tim Tebow lead Florida past Oklahoma, but we had hope for '09. A year went by. The next season Alabama destroyed Texas at the status-quo BCS finale, suspiciously with little said about Obama and his "election promises."
Yeah, there were some measures taken in 2010 involving the Justice Dept, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) looked into some "anti-trust" laws on how the BCS has taken over NCAA football, but I haven't seen much beyond a show for good measure and face-saving. At first we all thought, "Sweet, it's Hatch, a Utah guy who has as much beef as anyone about the unfairness of the system." That was then.
Months have passed and nothing that I've seen is promising "change" as the college season is ever-nearer a fitting end with another controversy brewing. We believe we know how it will play out. It appears the good folk of Boise State and TCU are destined to watch either Oregon and Auburn or some 1-loss team from a power conference play for the national championship, even if Boise State and TCU continue their undefeated ways in typical blowout fashion. No disrespect to deserving teams like Oregon or Auburn, but how would those kids feel if they played for Boise or TCU? March Madness is unquestionably the best thing in sports. January Madness could be pretty cool too.
So do we have to wait for the government to file a serious anti-trust suit that truly pushes for change? Can we, the American people and average-Joe-college-football fan, file one for them?
A recent Sports Illustrated article on the subject said, "We are stuck with an inexact, capricious, widely despised system." Were they talking about the BCS or politics?

What are your thoughts?
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