A Government-Run BCS — Lord Help Us!

Some Republicans in the Congress want the federal government to manage the college football BCS (Bowl Championship Series) system.  Lord help us if they get their way!  Can you imagine turning the college football national championship process over to the people who have brought us a $12 trillion national debt, the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle, TSA, billion-dollar bailouts, and so much more? 

Yet, here we are in the middle of an economic crisis at home and several brewing crises abroad, and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Joe Barton of Texas are pushing for the federal government to declare the BCS in violation of federal anti-trust laws and be forced to replace the current system with a federally-mandated playoff series. Sen. Hatch took the lead at an official Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday to “investigate” the BCS.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the current BCS system either.  I don’t buy into this notion that you can plug a bunch of data into a computer, toss it around electronically with a fancy algorithm, and — presto! — you have a verifiable, undisputable “best team” in the nation.  That’s nonsense.  And, sometimes I agree wtih the results the BCS Brainiacs come up with, and sometimes I don’t. 

But this is where I part ways with Sen. Hatch and Rep. Barton (who is pushing this notion in the House) – the solution is NOT to get the feds involved.  Why Republicans and Democrats alike continue to think that the federal government is the solution to problems, is beyond me; and with regard to rating college football teams, I can think of no entity less capable of rendering meaningful decisions in this arena, including even what form the rating system should take, than federal bureaucrats.  You can also guarantee that if the feds were to become involved, the playoff system would cost taxpayers millions (perhaps even billions) of dollars.

By the way, I am a Southern Cal graduate (BA, 1970); and I vote for USC as the Number 1 team in the nation.

24 comments Add your comment


July 10th, 2009
7:34 am

Let the Liberals run it like they do gov. We will take points from the winning teams and give them to the losing teams and everyone will tie for the championship. After the tie is declared the prize money could help fund healthcare.

Jim Callihan

July 10th, 2009
7:54 am

“…take point from the winning teams and give them to the losing teams…” LOL!!!

Class of '98

July 10th, 2009
8:34 am

Bob, human voting is has much more influence on BCS standings than computer algorithms.

Remember the law of unintended consequences…. think about the downside if we had a playoff, and they would be numerous.


Matt W

July 10th, 2009
9:02 am

I don’t get it – never have, never will. Why must we have absolute certainty that the NCAA team standing as number 1 at the end of the season was 100% vetted? What a complete waste of time and effort – and most in congress seem to not have any issue with the importance being placed on this. I’m sure someone could justify that a new federal program supporting this would create a few jobs and that a 100% fair BCS alternative would stimulate economic growth. I say forget the irrational importance being placed on this – congress please drop it. If not, God help the young players and the importance the federal government will sanction related to their performance. Will the federal government also regulate their academic performance? Let the bar fights continue for the idiots who incessantly argue the unfairness of the BCS and who should really be the last one standing.

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July 10th, 2009
9:29 am

Republican Hatch wanting to get government involved in college football is another piece of proof that there is no such thing as a conservative Republican.
All Republicans are Liberal – have been since I first got into politics in 1960. I am 67 years old and have never met a conservative Republican.


July 10th, 2009
9:35 am

Yet another example of government run amok…


July 10th, 2009
9:38 am

Orrin Hatch is simply pandering to his Utah constituency – which feels their team got shafted. “Mr. College Football” – Tony Barnhart – had a great column the other day that refutes that. http://blogs.ajc.com/barnhart-college-football/2009/07/07/its-time-to-be-honest-about-the-bcs/

Matt W – NCAA Division I football is the only college sport that doesn’t have a national champion determined by a playoff. If they can do it for all those… why can’t they do it for football?


July 10th, 2009
10:19 am

The antics of our govt. never cease to amaze. The BCS was created because people felt the old system was bad. No matter what system is used some will feel their team was slighted.

Can you imagine our founding fathers reaction to the things our govt. is involved in?


July 10th, 2009
11:25 am

Why in the world would anyboy in Congress even notice something as unimportant as football? It’s just a game for pity’s sake. It doesn’t matter to the environment, the poor, the sick, the old, the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, I guess a lot of the soldiers are sports fans, but they still have more important things to thin about, like staying alive.


July 10th, 2009
11:26 am

Oops, typo in “anybody.”

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 10th, 2009
12:17 pm

Can’t they find something more important to waste time and money on?


July 10th, 2009
12:24 pm

There’s a nice analysis of the BCS’s legal implications here, it’s actually pretty interesting: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/215450-the-bcs-on-trial-understanding-the-implications


July 10th, 2009
1:01 pm

I’d prefer the BCS gods just fixed it themselves, but when there’s money involved people come up with strange solutions. We went from a couple of polls deciding who was the national champion to a “system” where a couple of polls (and some very strange computer geeks) decide on TWO teams to play a game for it. One year, the polls had it one way but the computer geeks had it another and the #1 team according to the polls (USC) was totally left out of the national championship game. Then, after the bowl games, one of the polls voted USC #1 anyway and the other polls was REQUIRED to vote them #2 or lower. Do you think the Congress could hatch a plan any worse than that?

Every other sport (and even the other divisions of football) have a playoff to decide the matter on the field. But the BCS folks think they have it right. Maybe instead of a World Series, we could just have all star voters decide who the best team is. Or we could forget about all that March Madness and just let the sportswriters tell us who the best college basketball team is. And why let those pesky NBA playoffs drag it out. Don’t we all know that Cleveland is the best team?

Playoffs get so messy. An SEC team might turn crimson when they play a MWC team. A Big 12 team might fold sooner than expected. And a Big 10 team might buckle in the eye of the big game.

Yeah, right. Keep it the way it is. Unbelievable.

Oh yeah, Bob, as a graduate of USC, 1969, seniors rule!

Chris Broe

July 10th, 2009
1:28 pm

you kiddin’ me? feds in college football? You kiddin’ me? Dont let the feds in football.

If the feds get involved in the BCS, then there’ll be fillibustering in the huddle. Besided, comedians can’t play football, so nothing will get done. Also, everyone knows that as Ohio goes, so goes the nation, so, why even play the season out? Will a candidate be able to win with a three-point-stance of Guns, Gods, and Gays?

There’s more reasons to keep the feds out of football: The Cheerleaders will think they can be point-and-shoot offensive quarterbacks, (not so much piling-on as Palin). And what will happen to the shotgun formation? Worse, they’ll have to invent a new penalty: FaceMascara. 15 yards. (Sorry). It will also make the split end obsolete.

The players will end up owing the government back(field) taxes. The playoff system will depend on some poor pig-carcas in Iowa.

And does this mean the North Koreans will have to give us a two-minute warning before they nuke Japan? What about suicide squads? What about the two platoon system, is it really twice as good as the one platoon system?

aw this stinks and so do the feds in football!


July 10th, 2009
3:11 pm

BCS hates UGA, just ask them…


July 10th, 2009
5:35 pm

Fang, not a typo but a slip. Should have been any boy, as I don’t think the females in Congress give a flip the BCS, NCAA, or a playoff.


July 10th, 2009
5:49 pm

The funny thing is that the BCS is run so poorly that letting the government control it might actually improve things.

(Oh and Barr, just so you know, this is supposedly a hearing about whether or not the BCS is violating anti-trust laws.)


July 10th, 2009
9:36 pm

Lord help us if the AJC doesn’t fill this spot with some credibility.

Stephen Gordon

July 10th, 2009
10:35 pm

OK, Bob. You held my attention until the final sentence.

Roll Tide! I’m sure to see you at a SEC championship game in your city again soon.


July 11th, 2009
1:03 pm

They are doing this because it’s the kind of non-issue that drives voters.

Redneck Convert

July 12th, 2009
7:26 am

Well, there’s a easy fix to this BCS mess. Just let one side of the championship game rotate between say, Boise State and Utah State. That will satisfy Sen. Hatch. Whichever one gets picked plays UGA. That will satisfy us rednecks.

There, no charge for the fix. Have a good day everybody.


July 13th, 2009
11:32 am

What voters would be driven by issues like this… and do we really WANT them voting?

Frank Whizzle

July 13th, 2009
12:04 pm

THANK GOD these republicans are tackling the tough issues (pun fully intended). Good thing they don’t have more pressing matters like multiple wars, mounting government debt, and the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Oh wait….