December 10, 2008
In addition to the "car czar" nonsense, there was another one of these anti-BCS things in Congress today, this time in the form of an actual bill, an outraged bill that would force college football into a playoff system. Three guesses which state two of the three Congressman who sponsored the bill are representing:
Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, didn’t specify what sort of playoff he wants—only that the BCS should go.
"In some years the sport’s national championship winner was left unsettled, and at least one school was left out of the many millions of dollars in revenue that accompany the title," Barton said in a statement released ahead of the bill’s introduction. "Despite repeated efforts to improve the system, the controversy rages on."
He said the bill -- being co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican -- "will prohibit the marketing, promotion, and advertising of a postseason game as a 'national championship' football game, unless it is the result of a playoff system. Violations of the prohibition will be treated as violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act as an unfair or deceptive act or practice."
I'm pretty sure I've written that bit about the bogus "national championship" a thousand times myself, but one lonely writer hardly represents a constituency -- a constituency which, in the cases of Barton and McCaul, just happens to be gnashing its teeth this week over the Longhorns' exclusion from the big party in Miami, and might anoint them Lonestar King and Queen for life if they came home with the BCS' scalp (or circuit boards, or whatever) in hand. "Mr. Beebe, tear down these computers! And vote for me!"
Usually these things fizzle out as vague threats, complaints or appeals to another agency to "investigate" or something. But there's always a personal motive for wielding the hammer of the state against a ridiculous but voluntary agreement among athletic conferences: Last week's BCS complaint came from Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, who first teamed up with Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and Idaho's Mike Simpson to investigate the Series for trade violations in April -- just a few months after Westmoreland's Bulldogs had been hopped by LSU in the final week and shut out of the championship game, which also snubbed Abercrombie's undefeated Warriors, and a little more than a year after Boise State was shut out of a chance at No. 1 despite thrilling Simpson's state with a 13-0 season and dramatic upset of Oklahoma.
What interest Bobby Rush could have in submarining the BCS, I don't know, unless he's trying to draw attention away from that other thing going on in Illinois this week. Somewhere, there's a rub: If there's one thing I trust even less than the BCS, it's a politician with a fat target and an opportunistic sense of timing.