Thursday, December 10, 2009

House Panel OKs Bill on College Football Playoff

A House panel has given the OK to a bill proposed by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington (that would be very close to TCU), which would prevent the BCS from calling its title game any form of a "national championship game" unless it were the result of a playoff system.

"What our friends and fans need to know about the Bowl Championship Series is that it is not about choosing the champion or competition on the gridiron," Barton said. "It is about revenue sharing for the schools that are in the BCS conferences."

The BCS, which started in 1998, was supposed to diminish controversy over determining a college football champion. But critics say the format has only muddled the situation further and left many schools at a disadvantage. BCS officials and other defenders of the system say it has a good record of producing a championship matchup and is constantly being adjusted for fairness.

Barton and others reiterated concerns about the system, though, during a jocular hourlong hearing that featured a number of references to team loyalties. Tradition-rich schools and conferences receive the bulk of the BCS' multimillion-dollar payouts, they said, and smaller schools, such as TCU and Boise State, have little opportunity to participate in the title game.

That's putting it too kindly. By eliminating point spread in the computer ratings which make up 1/3 of the BCS rankings, the BCS system has made it mathematically impossible for a team from a small conference, like Boise State, to reach the top even it defeated every opponent 100-0. Middle-of-the-roaders like TCU could do it, but it would require a crazy year like this one where many top teams lost games they were heavily favored to win.

Let's hope this fundamental disparity triggers some principle in anti-trust law to break up the BCS oligarchy and allow a playoff and a champion decided on the field, as happens in every other college sport, including lower division football.

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