Playoffs backed by panel in Congress

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WASHINGTON --- Dismissing complaints from some members that Congress had more pressing matters, a House subcommittee approved legislation Wednesday aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system to determine its national champion.

"We can walk across the street and chew gum at the same time," said the subcommittee chairman, Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush, one of the bill's co-sponsors. "We can do a number of things at the same time."

The legislation, which faces steep odds, would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision game as a national championship unless it results from a playoff.

The measure passed by voice vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee's commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee, with one audible "no," from Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.

"With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on," Barrow said before the vote, though he stressed he didn't like the current Bowl Championship Series, either.

"What can we say -- it's December and the BCS is in chaos again," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the top Republican on the committee. He said the BCS system is unfair and won't change unless prompted by Congress.

The legislation, which now goes to the full committee, would make it illegal to promote a national championship game "or make a similar representation," unless it results from a playoff.

There is no Senate version, although Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has pressed for a Justice Department antitrust investigation into the BCS.

Shortly after his election last year, President Obama said there should be a playoff system.

In a statement before the vote, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said, "With all the serious matters facing our country, surely Congress has more important issues than spending taxpayer money to dictate how college football is played."

Barrow wasn't alone in criticizing his colleagues' priorities; Reps. Zach Space, D-Ohio, and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., made similar arguments. Space said that in tough times, the decision to focus on college football sends the "wrong message."

The legislation has a tough road ahead, given the wide geographic representation and political clout of schools in the six conferences that have automatic BCS bowl bids: the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC.

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smartie
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smartie 12/10/09 - 03:20 am
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you think the bcs is screwed

you think the bcs is screwed up? wait 'til you see how screwed up congress will have it.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 12/10/09 - 06:17 am
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like most thing in congress,

like most thing in congress, this makes no sense. If they'd concentrate on their job and leave other people's alone, the might not appear to be so incompetent. Isn't a camel a horse improved by congress?

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 12/10/09 - 06:19 am
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please add the "s" and "y" in

please add the "s" and "y" in the appropriate places.

Waymore
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Waymore 12/10/09 - 07:54 am
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The imperial federal

The imperial federal government has no business in this. People can name their college teams and stats; how many can name their elected officials? How many can recite their "stats?" They can't even effectively run the programs already in place, and now they want to run college football. More smoke and mirrors and more vote buying schemes.

ramble
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ramble 12/10/09 - 09:43 am
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Another example of the

Another example of the federal government overstepping their bounds, in a gross and negligent way. Thank goodness John Barrow has the common sense to realize that.

The Knave
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The Knave 12/10/09 - 12:37 pm
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That this matter should

That this matter should receive one scintilla of a moments consideration demonstrates just how thoroughly inept, poorly educated, self-centered, uninformed, uncaring, unaware and just plain goofy are those grand-standing jerks who use up oxygen in the building at one end of the National Mall. And, it mostly doesn't matter whether they be Republi-cons or Demon-rats. With few exceptions, those adjectives fit all of them. Orin Hatch is the poster-boy for this group of creeps. The American people continue to get the government that they so richly deserve. I am reminded of the two congressmen, Huey and Louie, who are being entertained at a fishing lodge owned by a lobbyist. On the first day, they rented a fishing boat on the lake. They caught so many crappies that their large bucket overflowed, so they returned to shore and took their catch home. During the drive home, Huey said to Louie, "I hope you remember the spot where we caught all those fish, so we can go to that spot when we return tomorrow." "Yes," Louie said, "I made an 'X' on the side of the boat to mark the spot" -- to which Huey retorted: "You idiot! How do you know we'll get the same boat tomorrow?"

jimbobob
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jimbobob 12/10/09 - 07:29 pm
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The economy is in the tank,

The economy is in the tank, our whole nation is screwed up and that bunch of clowns are worried about football. 2010 can't come fast enough.

JacquesUlar
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JacquesUlar 12/10/09 - 07:34 pm
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Hey, look at the bright side.

Hey, look at the bright side. This might actually be the first pre-election promise that Obama gets done.....

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