Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on Obama and the BCS

Scott sends me this link from Slate magazine that looks (almost) seriously at Obama's desire to see college football adopt a playoff system: http://www.slate.com/id/2204922/

My opinion is this... Instead of a wish of a presidential sports fan or an attempt to push for "change" that would meet with near universal approval, I see it as a symbolic gesture on Obama's part, an attempt to connect with a broad swath of the American electorate that could potentially feel alienated by an Obama presidency.

In the waning days of the presidential campaign, the McCain camp attacked Obama as socialist, even (gasp) European! By showing he cares about a playoff system that gives everyone a chance (well, the top 8 teams anyway) and that he likes football--the sporting world's equivalent of red meat--Mr. Obama reassures middle-America that he is both a good capitalist and a good American.

The BCS, after all, is like a state-run economy where the powers-that-be determine the marketplace and select who can do business in it. Under a playoff system, the most competitive team wins, with only limited "state" intervention (less than $700 billion, anyway).

And football is now more American than either baseball or basketball (both of which have practitioners and fans overseas). As long as Mr. Obama avoids showing an interest in soccer (that evil socialist sport), he should maintain his popularity in the American sports world.

The NCAA responded to Obama's proposal by saying their "constituencies" are satisfied with the BCS system and plan to maintain it. It is telling that in ESPN.com's article about this mini-controversy, they cite University of Texas coach Mack Brown as being a "big fan of Obama's idea." By attacking the BCS, Obama, who wants to govern the entire country (not just the blue states), is extending his popularity in the college-football-crazed-South, an area where McCain fared extremely well in the election.

Maybe Obama is right: there are no red states and no blue states after all; just a lot of anti-BCS states....

2 comments:

Robert J. Hudson said...

There is only one real legitimate way to determine the true champ: take the 4 top SEC teams and make an 8 team playoff with the winners of the Big XII, Pac-10 and two at-larges (no automatic bids for Ohio State). The result would be two SEC teams fighting for the NCAA title. This year: Florida and Alabama.

Corry Cropper said...

You and your liberal west-coast SEC bias.... take 6 top-rated conference champs, put them in the tourney, and make the other conf. champs play their way in. 4 SEC teams.......