February 09, 2010
Last November, besieged by the holy trinity of official controversy -- an unfriendly president, an enthusiastic opposition lobby and Congressmen on the bipartisan warpath in Washington -- the BCS ratcheted up the first real public relations campaign in its history to demonstrate just how un-controversial the Series is. New BCS executive director Bill Hancock, recently tasked with one of the most thankless jobs in America, even warns visitors to the Series' propaganda Web site, PlayoffProblem.com, that the BCS is one of the few strands of consensus the nation is still able to reach: "If you think the BCS is controversial," he wrote, "just wait until you realize how much more contentious a playoff would be."
Fortunately, we don't have to wait, because every other major team sport on every level in America settles its championship via some form of playoff with no significant input from opinion polls on the result. That includes the nation's most popular and lucrative sporting endeavor, the NFL, which just concluded its annual tournament-style championship to stunning levels of dissent according to readers of ESPN's SportsNation this morning:
So, OK, nothing that elicits that sort of rare display of unanimity among sports fans can possibly qualify as "controversial" in the big picture. But maybe the number belie a certain regional nuance, wherein overcrowded, NFL-centric megalopoli overrule the solid, BCS-loving heartland ...
It's safe to say Mssr. Hancock's messages won't be taking any democratic turns any time soon. Only two states -- Georgia at 22 percent and (of course, given the favorable ending in the last BCS title game) Alabama at 30 -- gave the Series an approval rating above 15 percent. That's worse than both George W. Bush's historic low at the end of his presidency and even the permanently detested Congress. I guess it's comforting to know that at this moment of division and low morale, no American institution brings a partisan country together like hatred of the BCS.