Obama Proposes Eight Team Playoff

Walter Thompson Jr.Contributor INovember 16, 2008

The 2008 college football regular season will soon come to a close in a couple weeks. The debate about whether the current Bowl system is fair continues.

Since its inception in 1998, the Bowl Championship Series has caused controversy among college football fans everywhere. This year will be no different. The fact is some very competitive teams will be left out of the national championship picture.

Under the current BCS system, only the top two ranked teams are allowed to play for the national championship on Jan. 8. Many people ask what is the BCS and how does it work?

The BCS consist of five premier college football bowl games, which traditionally begin on New Year's Day. The games include the Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, and Rose Bowl. Then the BCS National Championship game is played on Jan. 8.

The BCS standings consist of three major components. They are the USA Today Coaches Poll, Harris Interactive College Football Poll and an average of six computer rankings.

The six rankings include the Peter Wolfe, Wes Colley, Sagarin, Seattle Times, Richard Billingsley and Kenneth Massey computer rankings.  Each component counts as 1/3 of a team's BCS ranking each week.

The age-old question that many fans and football experts have is why not get rid of the BCS and just have a traditional playoff like the lower divisions in college football? Many experts say that it will make for some great football.

President-elect Barack Obama even has an opinion on this issue. "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. Get eight teams—the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff. Decide on a national champion," Obama said in a Monday Night Football interview with Chris Berman on the night prior to his monumental presidential election.

Just imagine each week you would get the top teams in the country like Alabama, Texas Tech, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma and USC, just to name a few, going to battle with the winner moving on and the loser going home. This is what's best for college football.

Fans want to see the best match-ups possible and what would be better than the top teams in the country engaging in a one and done playoff. The entire season would rest on that one game. Each game would have the atmosphere of a national championship game. If you are lucky enough to survive you move on to the next week.

Obama even has an idea on how the playoffs would work. According to the associated press, Obama's proposed playoff system would consist of three rounds and the top eight teams playing over a period of three weeks.

In a recent interview on CBS' 60 Minutes Obama said he would be in favor of trimming back the regular season and starting the playoffs earlier. 

Under Obama's plan if the playoffs were to start today using the current USA Today coaches poll the first round games would include: No.1 Alabama—No.8 Penn State, No.2 Texas Tech—No.7 Utah, No.3 Florida—No. 6. USC, and No.4 Texas—No.5 Oklahoma. That is a college football fans dream.

Sounds pretty simple, but there are some higher powers that don't want see this happen. Specifically the BCS Governance, which is the group that manages the BCS.

The BCS Governance is made up of 11 NCAA D-IA conference commissioners, the director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame and representatives of the bowl organizations.

Any decisions made by the BCS Governance has to be approved by the presidential oversight committee, whose members represent all 119 Division 1-A programs. Everyone has something at stake in this BCS system and the biggest issue is money.

With a playoff in place, some of the traditional bowl games would become almost irrelevant and revenue for these games would drop. Bowl game representatives don't want to see that.

Another issue of concern is student athletes having to play more games, which could conflict with their classes. That argument is squashed because D-IAA teams have a playoff and it doesn't seem to affect those athletes. Basketball players play more games than anyone during the school year and no one seems to complain.

The BCS Governance seems to make every excuse not to have a playoff because they stand to lose millions of dollars. The problem is they are all benefiting from this system and teams and fans are being cheated out of being able participate in and witness some of the greatest football games in history.  There are no checks and balances when it comes to the BCS.

It is time for a playoff in D-IA football and Obama says he plans to throw his weight around in order to make a playoff happen in the near future. "I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do," Obama said on 60 Minutes.

Simplifying the BCS formula (collegefootballpoll.com)

A = Harris Poll
B = Coaches Poll
C = Throw out the high and low of the six computer rankings for each team. Add the remaining four. Divide that total by four.
Result: A+B+C = Total Score