By Joey Merkel
The night before he was elected, now President Barack Obama shocked the sports world with his scandalous comments regarding college football’s Bowl Championship Series “playoff system,” or lack thereof.
Some say it might have been risky to disclose his interest on such a tender topic in America right now, on the eve of what at the time was the most important day of his life. But Obama stared adversity right in the face as he has done all throughout his life and spoken his true feelings on national television. Well, at least to those that have ESPN, or care enough to check out the video on YouTube.
When ESPN’s Chris Berman asked the future president how he felt about the way that we decided a National Champion in college football, Obama looked right into the camera and spoke passionately about the intensely-debated subject.
“I think it’s about time we had playoffs in college football. I’m fed up with these computer rankings and this that and the other,” Obama said. “Get eight teams — the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff. Decide on a national champion.”
Many ESPN analysts, along with other sports site around the country agree with Obama’s sentiments, but unfortunately, even someone with as much power as he currently has little to no effect on the committees decisions to change the system.
“We deeply respect the president-elect and we are glad that he is a fan of college football,” David Frohnmayer said in an e-mail response to ESPN. “We have the most compelling regular season in all of sports, and I’m sure that contributes to Senator Obama’s enjoyment of our great game.”
Frohnmayer, currently the head of the Bowl Championship Series Presidential Oversight Committee was sure to be politically correct in his response. But the way it came out to some Obama supporters was, “Thanks, but no Thanks, Mr. President-Elect.”
“My colleagues and I on the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee have discussed the future of postseason football on many occasions and we do not believe a playoff would be in the best interest of the sport, the student-athletes or our many other constituencies,” Frohnmayer said.
But Obama did not stop there. He wanted to make sure people know that he was serious about change. Even after Frohnmayer’s comments respecting him for his opinion but to leave decisions up to the committee, Obama followed his Monday Night Football statements by elaborating his feelings in an interview with “60 Minutes.”
“If you’ve got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season and many of them have one loss or two losses, there’s no clear, decisive winner,” Obama said during his “60 Minutes” appearance. “We should be creating a playoff system.”
By the end of the interview, Obama made sure that his point was clear.
“I’m going to throw my weight around a little bit.”
At the end of the college football season, in the top 10, there were seven one-loss teams, including two undefeated teams in Utah and Boise State ranked seven and nine respectively.
The biggest argument for a playoff, most analysts say, is that because the schools in the top ten often don’t play each other during the regular season, it’s impossible to find out who is really better than who.
Even when they do play each other, it is not so clear-cut, as we saw in the Big 12 this year. When then No.1 Oklahoma played then No. 5 Texas, Texas came out victorious. However, a month later when No. 1 Texas rolled in to Lubbock to play the No. 7 ranked Red Raiders of Texas Tech, they left with their first loss.
Then to throw another wrench into the situation just two weeks after defeating Texas, Texas Tech was beat badly by Oklahoma.
At the regular season, each loss was the only one for each team, but in the end it was, for some reason, Oklahoma that was given the opportunity to play in the National Championship game, leaving Texas Tech and Texas in lesser-important bowl games.
In the end, the University of Florida Gators took down the Oklahoma Sooners in the National Championship game and earned the No. 1 spot in the final ranking.
Though President Obama’s plan is not flawless, it is a start to a problem that absolutely needs fixing.