Who will stand up to bullies in BCS?

They sat, talked and did nothing.


The commissioners of the much-maligned Bowl Championship Series met this week in sunny South Florida and collectively stuck their heads in the sand. The commissioners from all 11 Division I-A conferences, plus Notre Dame's athletic director, showed the same kind of commitment Congress does in dealing with the overwhelming sentiments of the public.

Jim Delany, the haughty commish of the Big Ten, says it's not his conference's fault or the Pac-10's or the Rose Bowl's for building the roadblock to a meaningful playoff system that the vast majority of fans are crying for after the repeated fiascoes of an ill-designed system. He banks on the idea that the rest of the conferences don't have the guts to override the standing veto the Rose Bowl and its exclusive TV deal and conference tie-ins represent.

And he's right. The Big East's Mike Tranghese spoke like just another lemming steering the best interests of college football off the cliff.

"We don't think a playoff is in the best interest of college football," Tranghese was quoted as saying.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Notre Dame's Kevin White, who can't even stop the tarnish build-up on his Golden Dome.

It is broken, you idiots. It was built broken.

The only commissioners to exhibit even the slightest backbone and voice reservations about a revolting system that turns off the public were the Southeastern's Mike Slive and the Atlantic Coast's John Swofford. But it fell on Swofford, the current caretaker of the whole mess, to put a brave face on it at the end.

"The BCS is in an unprecedented state of health," he said at the meeting's end, towing a party line even he can't believe after witnessing repeated unfilled stadiums for his beloved ACC championship game and inconsequential bowls.

Slive -- whose conference is the healthiest of all -- in particular seemed disheartened that his "plus-one" proposal was so easily dismissed Wednesday.

"It's a marathon, not a sprint," Slive told reporters. "It is on the table, and it's there now. Everyone knows it's there."

What's there is the reality that nobody is willing to give up their guaranteed postseason checks for a system that would be truly open and appealing. We're stuck with the same ol' garbage for at least six more years -- and I'm sure the Rose Bowl axis will renegotiate its own selfish extension to the national misery before then.

What's needed is a full-scale mutiny. It's time to blow the smug right off Delany's face with a real playoff proposal that dares everyone to either get on board or wave from the sidelines. It's time to detonate the nuclear option that will eviscerate the stupid BCS system and establish a real postseason that everyone craves.

It's time to let the Rose Bowl crowd play with their own ball while the rest of the game advances into the modern era. They've been calling the shots and making their own contracts for too long. They aren't real partners in all this. They don't care what's best for anybody but themselves.

Slive's four-team seeded version of the "plus-one" band-aid the BCS has been bandying about for years was not the answer, and he knows it. Only a truly inclusive system of at least eight teams will stave off more controversies than it creates.

The stop-gap plan was too weak to begin with. It didn't address any of the concerns that qualified teams would still get excluded from the mix. If the scenario existed last year, both Georgia and Southern Cal would have been excluded, and many thought they were the two best teams in the BCS postseason landscape.

So next time these blowhards get together in a luxury conference room to feign discussion on behalf of their constituents, drop the bomb on them. Propose a real playoff, line up a TV partner who will pay gobs more than the current series gets and invite anyone willing to participate to join in the fun. No conference unwilling to send its champion gets to reap any of the shared rewards or take any of the at-large spots.

The teams would love it. The players would love it. The fans would love it.

The only people who wouldn't love it would be Delany and his crowd of obstructionists, who would stare at it through their Rose-colored glasses with great envy while claiming that Pasadena is all they'll ever need.

Then one of his member schools will win the conference and jump the Rose Bowl ship and this whole stupid era of illegitimate postseasons will sink into oblivion.

It will take brave leaders such as the kind who declared independence from tyranny more 230 years ago to do what's right. Men with more vision than the ones who let us all down this week.

Where is Commissioner John Adams when you need him?

Reach Scott Michaux at (706) 823-3219 or scott.michaux@augustachronicle.com.



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