MIAMI – In what passes for humor in the joke system of American sports, Bowl Championship Series commissioner Kevin Weiberg took a moment Tuesday to thank one of college football's sponsors, ADT.
"I'm valuing those security services more and more based on the email that I've been getting from fans around the country," Weiberg said.
What a business college football runs.
Millions of its consumers, fans, players and even coaches think the great sport deserves better than annual championship system disappointment, such as Tuesday's lopsided Orange Bowl victory by USC. Meanwhile the powers that be wish you'd stop emailing passionate complaints and suggestion.
Ignore that man behind the pile of cash.
You've got give the BCS honchos – the commissioners of the six BCS conferences, with Weiberg being the head of the Big 12 – credit for this much: No matter how much disillusionment rains down on their title system, they keep pretending it is blue skies above.
But college football is too good of a sport to keep having "it's too bad" conclusions to the season. Southern California is the champion this year because enough people believe they are better than two other unbeaten teams, Auburn and Utah.
Of course, most people believed the Lakers were better than the Pistons, the Yankees were better than the Red Sox and so on and so on in the real world of fair competition.
So while fans yearn for a playoff, the powers that be fiddle the same old song.
"I know many people write about the need for a playoff and I do receive a lot of emails, and by saying this I hope it doesn't increase to even more emails about playoff ideas, but I have yet to really see one, in my own view of it, that I think is workable," Weiberg said.
Just to repeat, among Weiberg's concerns here is a clean mailbox.
The reason Weiberg has not seen a reasonable playoff structure is because there is none that allows the six "major" conferences the power and control they currently enjoy. Yes, a 16-team playoff system, similar to the ones used in all other levels of college football, would increase the money pie. But the BCS guys would have to cut more slices and, most importantly, give up control of the knife.
So out of one side of their mouth they say a playoff isn't feasible because it would add too many extra games to the season while out of the other side they push for a 12-game regular season.
And they actually think you are stupid enough to fall for it. It is like watching a dictator tell the peasants that democracy is overrated.
Momentum and public perception are firmly against the BCS. Television ratings for the games were down this year. Despite overwhelming hype surrounding the Orange Bowl, the stands at Pro Player Stadium here were not full.
Unfortunately the BCS might get even shadier. Weiberg tentatively supports the formation of a selection committee to choose up the teams. It will be similar to the men's basketball committee, but it is an idea rooted in arrogance and a lack of foresight.
If you thought Auburn fans cried about biases and political deals when the selection process was public and arbitrary, just wait until 10 suits emerge from a hotel suite and try to tell America that the best two teams are the best two teams because, ah, well, they said so.
There is enough howling in the basketball tournament when some bubble team gets left out. But that is a decision between the 34th and 35th at-large team – generally two flawed entrants – not two 12-0 powerhouses.
Even if the selection process were on the up and up, the appearance of impropriety would crush the system. If there is one thing that can be said for sure about college football, it's that it doesn't exactly bring out the most ethical behavior in people.
"I'm very interested in it," said Weiberg, of course.
He can't support a process reliant solely on computer formulas because he fears that a computer might somehow spit out a title game matchup involving a Utah or Boise State, or, worse, both.
We know, because guys like Weiberg tell us, that those schools would make a mockery of the championship game because they don't play in real leagues.
You know, like Weiberg's Big 12, which has placed three fraud teams (Nebraska 2002, Oklahoma 2004 and 2005) in the last four title games, leaving us with the familiar taste of an unfulfilled postseason.
Maybe someone should email and remind him.
- college football