Friday, December 18, 2009

PARTY LINES with Utah Democrat Rob Miller: What does the TCU-Boise State match up say about the BCS?

Because of my Grandpa Clarke, I love college football. Grandpa Clarke would often drive from Tooele to our home just above the Villa Theater in Salt Lake to pick me up for a Saturday BYU game. Those were the days of Coach LaVell Edwards, when the forward pass was king and the “Hail Mary” became a legend in Utah.

Because of my love for football I chose to attend BYU. I wish I could say I wanted a top-notch education, but the truth is I fell in love with BYU because of Coach Edwards and quarterbacks like Gifford Nielson, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon and Steve Young who were all first team All-Americans.

A year later I transferred to the University of Utah. Although I was a BYU football fan, I was happy to be at the “U” because of Coach Jerry Pimm and great players like Jeff Jonas, Danny Vranes, Jeff Judkins, Buster Matheney, and Tom Chambers.

Eventually, I would realize there was more to college than a football or basketball game, but unlike most people who cheer adamantly for one school or the other I have become a fan of both schools’ athletic programs, have cheered for both, and sometimes just one, depending on the team and the events surrounding those teams during a specific year. But cheering for those teams and following sports as a die-hard fan has taken a major back seat to raising my family, “The Great Recession” and my political activism.

I have one thought when it comes to the BCS decision to pit Boise State against TCU. I hope you won’t take offense, but take the “C” out of BCS and there’s my feelings on the BCS’s blatant manipulation to protect their teams from possible losses to non-BCS opponents.

I have to admit that until the Clipper asked this question I had not even given BCS policies much thought, unlike Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff who believes the Justice Department should join in a lawsuit claiming that the Bowl Championship Series could potentially be violating the Sherman Anti-trust Act which requires fairness because the BCS showers successful top market schools with money year after year as a result of their performance.

And, he is not alone.

In December 2008, Idaho Representative Mike Simpson joined Utah Rep. Jim Matheson in sending a letter to then President-elect Obama asking him to have the Department of Justice investigate the BCS system — and just this last Monday AG Shurtleff told KSL Radio that it was his intent to speak about this issue personally with President Obama at a holiday reception at the White House.

“I am really going to try and talk college football,” Shurtleff told KSL.

“This isn’t just about bragging rights to say we’re number one truly. It’s about money,” said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff in an interview last January.

Like President Obama who said, “I think a football playoff makes sense.” I feel a playoff series would benefit college football, but for me it isn’t about money. It’s about the American Dream where the underdog can rise up against all odds and show its heart — win or lose.

After all, isn’t that the story of America?

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