This is the story of the week, as far as this Turkey is concerned, so I’ll continue to beat it to death. I think Senator Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) has finally flipped his sparsely populated wig. He’s been the driving force behind this weeks Senate subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights hearings on the subject of Bowl Championship Series fairness. Appropriately, Hatch has been the only member to have attended all the sessions from beginning to end.
Hatch believes that the system of assigning bowl games and determining the national champion is unfair — not because it leaves the true national championship issue in doubt, but because of the inequity he and other fairness advocates perceive in the way the BCS tacitly allocates money. Of course, the University of Utah is one of those institutions being slighted by the BCS, thus the particular interest by the school’s home state’s U.S. Senator.
“You have 50 percent of the schools who are the elite schools. They get almost all of the money, and the other schools, no matter how good they are, don’t even have a chance to compete for the national title,” said Hatch.
Interestingly enough, Hatch’s comments came a day after BCS officials rejected a proposal by the Mountain West Conference (Utah’s conference) that would replace the present system by an eight-team playoff. The Mountain West, having waged the fight for six months, capitulated. Following is an excerpt from the statement by the Mountain West:
The Mountain West believes it has no choice at this time but to sign the agreements. If a conference wishes to compete at the highest levels of college football, and the only postseason system in place for that is the BCS, no one conference can afford to drop out and penalize its football programs and student-athletes.
Of course, if the Mountain West hadn’t agreed, they would have been cut out of more than the national championship picture. They would have lost the ESPN television revenue as well. Their capitulation means that they’ll lay low for the next four years.
Meanwhile, Hatch is not giving up. He continues to amp up the rhetoric, calling for antitrust proceedings by the Department of Justice.
“I think there are definite antitrust laws being broken here, and we should do something about it,” said the senator.
But the DOJ hasn’t really been doing much trust-busting lately, and furthermore, they and Congress would be subjecting themselves to public ridicule for pursuing something as frivolous as fairness in sports when they have much bigger fish to fry.
As for this Turkey and other Penn State fans, well, hell — we’re already in that 50 percent that Hatch mentioned, so best to leave sleeping dogs lie.
Now, as to the issue of fairness in deciding the national champ, that’s quite another thing.
Will the Nittany Lions have a shot at that championship this year? I have my doubts, mostly centering on the inexperienced receivers and the mostly new defensive secondary, but that’s another subject for another story for another day as we approach the sweet days of autumn.