The various reactions to the BCS' appearance before Congress on Friday have made for interesting reading. Lead inquisitor Joe Barton, if you're so inclined, came off as a hickish clown -- unless, if you're so inclined, he succinctly ripped BCS coordinator John Swofford to shreds. Just in my regular morning lap around the Web today, I came across opinions that "the Congressmen [had] no clue what they were talking about"; that the proceedings resembled "the subcommittee on Guffaws and Good Old Boys"; that Series supporters must have been squirming as "Barton and Co. outmatched BCS defenders"; that Congress has "no shot" at reforming the system, and looked petty and ineffectual in trying; and that the three clearly anti-BCS voices in the room were clearly the three most impressive voices in the room.
Again, that's a very narrow slice of mainstream opinion; since most people don't follow college football obsessively and didn't see Friday's powwow coming, it gets a little harsher. I feel like the only person who actually watched the entire hearing and came away thinking all parties -- even the ones I disagreed with -- came across as knowledgeable, professional and relatively un-chastised. What is wrong with me?
Except, well, there was that one thing:
As you might expect from anything based in New York -- where college football rates somewhere between the geology of Central Park and the ironic influence of Art Nouveau in graffiti murals in the public interest -- the Daily Show's talented montage-ists may not have the firmest grasp on exactly what constitutes a BCS bowl (hint: none of the relevant games are sponsored by an auto parts company or hotel chain), but they aren't right about the Series' fundamentally capitalist setup: The games, and the cartel that packages and markets them, exist because we buy them. Or rather, the games exist because we watch them, and then we buy the things that make the games exist. Still, there is no more capitalistic position in the free market food chain than "middle man," and the big bowl games remain among the most entertaining, lucrative middle men ever.
If you want more proof of the BCS' essentially market-based nature, look no further than today's Austin American-Statesman, which profiles two fans on a cross-country trek to lobby support for the most capitalistic method of subversion known to modern economic man -- the old-fashioned boycott:
Chris Telmosse and his 26-year-old nephew, David Truax, are hardcore college football fans, and they'd decided they'd had enough of all the foot-dragging over a college playoff system.
They borrowed Chris' father's RV, decorated it with an expensive, faux-pigskin wrap trumpeting a boycott of next season's national championship game in order to hurt the advertising sponsors and set out west proclaiming their message for a 16-team playoff.
They left Jacksonville, Fla., on April 14 and have stopped in Auburn, Ala., Baton Rouge, La., and College Station. They showed up in Austin on Monday. They won't rest until they've sold their BCSbash.com T-shirts at $9.95 a pop, visited with playoff proponent Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah, toured seven Big 12 campuses and gotten the word out.
They're asking the nation's fans to not watch the BCS national title game Jan. 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
"All we're asking is one freakin' night," said Truax.
Seems reasonable -- and not totally original. Then-Deadspin blogger Clay Travis tried to organize a similar boycott of BCS sponsors last year, and got, uh, 163 people behind him. (Well, 164, if you count the accidental protests.) And that was only for the sponsors -- Clay himself admitted he was way too interested to actually tune out of the games.
Which, it's safe to say, is probably the stance of at least 99.9 percent of the audience the dedicated RV'ers want to reach; boycotting the BCS title game is a tougher sell right now that wind power. So good luck, Chris and David and all their sympathists. But if we're bringing economic theory into discussion, I think the market has spoken.
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Video hat tip: The Wiz, of course.