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The BCS Blows Another Chance to Fix Itself

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But this has nothing to do with the regular season. It has everything to do with absolute greed and absolute power.

The BCS is an illegal cartel. Ninety-nine times out of 100 when Congress gets involved in sports, it is nothing more than a dog-and-pony show designed to give members of Congress some easy publicity. (See Clemens, Roger et al). This is one time though when Congress should step in and say "enough." They should threaten to take away tax breaks from BCS schools if they don't change this system. That would get their attention.

Of course if the NCAA wasn't so busy trying to take over summer basketball, it could put an end to this in a heartbeat: All it has to do is say the following: if you want your basketball team to be eligible for the NCAA tournament, you must participate -- if invited -- in the NCAA division I-A football tournament. The BCS schools will squirm and pontificate and threaten to break away from the NCAA but they won't. Remember, basketball is the money-maker at far more schools than football, regardless of what you hear from the football apologists.

The great irony here is the short-sightedness of the BCS buffoons. They don't want to give up the BCS because they get to divide almost all the money amongst themselves, leaving some chump change around for the non-BCS schools. But if there was a tournament -- eight teams; 12 teams, take your pick -- with a national championship game the weekend in between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl -- it would be such a big event that the money coming in would double. Even forced to (gasp!) share, the BCS schools would end up with more money.

The bowl system need not be changed: bowls can be used for the quarterfinals; semifinals and final on a rotating system. The 473 minor bowls can continue so that every 6-6 coach in America can declare is season a success.

But someone needs to -- excuse the coaching cliché -- step up and tell the BCS presidents, commissioners and apologists to shut up. Maybe the NCAA and Congress can get together and, for once, accomplish something positive.

This farce needs to stop. The only difference between the BCS and the Bush administration is that 1-20-09 doesn't exist as a date when we can all escape the nightmare. In college football, it just goes on and on and on ...

John Feinstein's latest book, "Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember," was recently published by Little, Brown and Co.


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