Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So, I've tried to avoid talking about politics on this site despite my mild obsession with it. But this is an issue I feel comfortable weighing in on and espousing my views since it does not seem to be a very partisan issue. Yes, I'm talking about the BCS playoff system and President-Elect Barack Obama's statements that the will through his weight around to get one. Several other sports bloggers have thrown around the idea of a Sports Czar or Playoff Czar. Since I am graduating in the spring and will have a law degree and need a job, I would like to throw my hat into the proverbial ring.
I'm sure when Obama says he's willing to throw his weight around, he actually means he'll tell someone to bug the BCS guys and make them fix this under some imaginary threat and the watchful eye of the president. Hey, if I was president I would use my newfound power to get random things I want done that would also make a bunch of people happy.
I would be happy to fill the role of person who works for President Obama with the BCS to get this playoff system into action. He will have a lot of other stuff to worry about, like fixing the economy, resolving the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in a reasonable manner, fixing healthcare, balancing the budget, fixing Social Security, all the while saving the environment, and increasing the standing of the United States around the world. So, I'd say playoff shouldn't be his top priority. However, all those are going to take a long time, so anything that can be done definitively and quickly will remind people that they still like President Obama, and that his administration can get things done.
The problem with the BCS system is that there is no clear champion. There's a championship game, but just some formula and voting system that no one really understands to decide who gets to go the bowl game. However, colleges like bowl games. They generate revenue for the schools and raise awareness for the programs. No one believes that the team that wins the Tire Bowl is a Champion of anything, but schools and alumni like it. They get to feel good about their teams.
So here is my proposal. First, a playoff system is not going to happen overnight, television contracts and whatnot. So before next year lets make the formula better. I would put Nate Silver in charge of this. He's a stat genuis who happens to like sports and politics and is a big supporter of President Obama. If he was able to predict the popular vote percentages within .1% then he should be able to come up with a better formula for the rankings. And we can keep the rankings. Everyone likes to see their team ranked, even if it doesn't mean much. Right now, there are power rankings for every sport for all sorts of random categories. So if we keep the rankings, we need to make them better.
Next, take the top eight teams for a playoff bracket. The top eight teams are usually pretty easy to figure out. I will talk to some consultants about whether all these teams have to have won their conferences or whether they are the top eight teams. This issue can be fully debated at another time. An eight team playoff will add three weeks onto the season. And only for a few teams. So schools could cut the season by one game and eliminate one of the cupcake teams they play. This will make college football more competitive and fun to watch anyway.
Also, lets keep the other bowls. Colleges still get to keep the promotion and the revenue. Fans still get to say they won a bowl. Those games are meaningless anyway, so why not keep them. They bring plenty of fans such as myself much joy from watching.
That's my platform on changing the college football system. I have already addressed the NFL overtime situation. So if there is anyone out there who would like to appoint me to be the Sports Czar or wants me to meet with the President-Elect, just let me know.