Circling the bowl -- again

Judging by what some members of Congress are fixated on these days, America's problems apparently are virtually over.

The economy? Global terrorism? Protecting our borders? Commonsense energy policy? Government corruption? The environment?

All that seems to be in Joe Barton's rear-view mirror. The Texas House Republican still is poking his nose into business where Congress should have no concern -- college football's Bowl Championship Series.

Barton has been flogging this issue for years -- that the BCS is flawed and deprives big-school college football of a genuine national champion crowned through a fair set of playoffs.

True enough. But is really the province of Congress to get involved in the byzantine workings of the BCS?

No. But try telling that to Barton.

He's the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee. In that capacity recently, he called college football officials as witnesses to again tread the worn battleground of this debate.

Now Barton has introduced legislation that would prevent the National Collegiate Athletic Association from calling the BCS title game a "national championship " unless it switched to a playoff system.

"It's like communism," Barton said. "You can't fix it."

Well, the BCS isn't exactly like communism. At least with communism, you know for sure who the winners and losers are.

But not with the BCS, that Bizarro World construct where college football teams with undefeated records can miss out on competing for the national title, while teams that can't even win their own conferences can get a shot.

A 16-team playoff would make so much more sense than the labyrinthine number- crunching that goes into doling out bowl placements. A playoff better ensures that the top teams in the country are pitted against one another, and it naturally would generate more excitement. And it's done on every other level of college football.

Instead, under the current system, we get such gridiron match-ups as Florida Atlantic winning 24-21 over Central Michigan in last season's Motor City Bowl. Who could forget that gripping nail-biter, right? Oh, brother.

A playoff system rightfully would determine a college football champion on the field, not in a voting pool or on a stat sheet.

But that needs to be hammered out by the NCAA, without the meddling of Congress.

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Tue, 02/21/2017 - 22:08

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