Friday, December 18, 2009

PARTY LINES with Republican Todd Weiler: What does the TCU-Boise State match up say about the BCS?

I have to give it up this week to Rep. Jim Matheson. He really captured the moment in his reaction to the BCS’s decision to pit TCU against Boise State on New Year’s Day. “I don’t know if we should call it the Fiesta Bowl or the Kids’ Table Bowl, because I think these two upstarts were put at the kids’ table to play their own game,” he said. Matheson is right on.

The BCS is based on the false premise that the best team in the nation will invariably emerge from one of eight elite conferences. All other conferences are inferior and therefore incapable of producing a national champion. Over time, the BCS has been bullied into allowing undefeated teams from the lesser, unworthy conferences to play in one of the four most-profitable bowl games (if they meet certain criteria). While the BCS made the correct, and historic, decision to invite two non-BCS teams to go bowling this season, it subsequently cheapened the experience for both of them in an attempt to protect its own. TCU could have beaten Texas, Cincinnati and maybe even Florida. That was a risk the BCS committee was not willing to take. So it punted.

When Utah, Boise State and Hawaii got invited to play with the big boys after their undefeated regular seasons in prior years, they actually got into the game. And the team from the BCS-blessed conference lost three out of four times. Utah won twice. BSU pulled off a miracle overtime win. But Hawaii got exposed as the proverbial over-ranked team who hadn’t really played anyone.

This year, Texas (from the pitiful Big 12 Conference) hasn’t beaten a team ranked in the Top 20 all season. And when it played Nebraska, ranked 22, the Longhorns came up short when the clock ran out of time. After convincing the officials to turn back time a second or two, Texas kicked a game-winning field goal to win 13-12. And the reward for playing its worst game at the end of the season? That’s right, the Longhorns secured a slot in the national championship game.

Unlike a year ago when the Horned Frogs muffed what would have been a game-winning field goal as time ran out, TCU decidedly beat Utah and every other team it played this year. But the BCS cannot withstand another embarrassing shellacking like Utah put on the Crimson Tide. So TCU got cheated.

The current BCS system is, dare I say it, un-American. It reeks of big money, back-room deals by the good old boys. But politicians need to do more than offer witty sound bites. Talk is cheap. Although Obama threatened to “throw his weight around” to get a playoff, a year later things appear to have gotten worse – not better. I have no doubt that the BCS will ultimately be brought down. The only remaining questions are: When? How? And by whom?


Fair Voter said...

The BCS system sounds a lot like the two-party electoral system that cheats most Americans out of a competitive and representative political process.

Anonymous said...

I hear you, Fair Voter. Those Democrats in Washington ramming health care down the throats of all of us make me sick, too! Here's to bringing some balance back in 2010!