Tomorrow, Penn State fans will know which BCS bowl has selected the Nittany Lions for its 2006 edition, ending several weeks of analysis and speculation. Will it be the Orange Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl? Who will provide the opposition? Notre Dame? Virginia Tech? Oregon? Florida State?
Beyond passive speculation, fans will be sitting on the edge of their chairs today watching USC vs. UCLA and Texas vs. Colorado—a loss by either USC or Texas could land the Nittany Lions in the Rose Bowl in the game that will be played for the [still somewhat mythical] national championship. LSU fans have their hopes, too. You can bet that if, for example, UCLA beats USC, you’ll be hearing a lot of squawking about which of the many one-loss teams really deserves the shot at the so-called national championship.
Yeah, the BCS is as screwed up as ever. Our curmudgeon-in-chief, Joe Paterno, even called the BCS “a joke” in a press conference this year.
Penn State will be rewarded with a lot of money for itself and its conference, no matter which BCS bowl selects them. The BCS is a big money institution for all involved. Thus, it is no surprise that Congress is making noise about investigating the BCS system.
Oh, boy! Now, we’re really getting somewhere!
Please pardon me if I’m dripping with sarcasm.
A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that is charged with regulating sports has announced yesterday that it will conduct hearings about the BCS next week, calling the hearings a comprehensive review.
In prior columns, The Turkey has opined negatively about the current BCS system, stating that there has to be a better way to determine a real national champion. Thus, he should be happy that someone is looking into the mess. But Congress? Man, if you really want something to get screwed up, give it to Congress to fix!
What the hell are they going to do? Enact legislation to fix the BCS?
Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, chairs the committee. “College football is not just an exhilarating sport, but a billion-dollar business that Congress cannot ignore,” he said. “Too often college football ends in sniping and controversy, rather than winners and losers. The current system of determining who’s No. 1 appears deeply flawed.”
We all agree on that, but what, pray tell, is Congress going to do about it?
No doubt, the testimony from the pollsters, the bowlsters, and the computer rankers will be entertaining. But the posturing and regional bias displayed by various committee members should be even more fun to watch. Given the nation’s fervor about college football, one wonders whether Congress’ involvement will eventually lead to gerrymandering of Congressional districts based on appeals to football fans. Instead of voting for Republicans or Democrats, people will be voting for Gators or Seminoles. Don’t laugh! Once Congress gets involved, anything can happen!
Fortunately, the most likely outcome of these Congressional hearings is that nothing will happen.
As The Turkey had stated before, the NCAA needs to fix this from within. A playoff system would be a much leveler field with much less controversy. Teams would know what they were playing for from the beginning of the season—if the NCAA would only expend as much energy developing a playoff scheme as it spends in sanitizing politically incorrect mascots.