In an interview broadcast last night on 60 Minutes, President-elect Barack Obama embraced what must be heresy from the standpoint of the Tournament of Roses. After punting on questions about his courtship of Hillary Clinton for his cabinet, a resolute Obama told Steve Kroft he wanted college football to institute a straight playoff system to determine the national champion and would "throw my weight around a little bit" to get it. He suggests the top eight teams battle it out at the end of the season:
That would be three rounds to determine a national champion. It would add three extra weeks to the season. You could trim back on the regular season. I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this.This would mean an end to the messy but lucrative Bowl Championship Series at a time when the Rose Bowl needs to invest in major renovations. Even more, it could further diminish the grandeur of the Rose Bowl Game - the Grandaddy of Them All.
Already the BCS "championship" game rotates between the top bowls, relegating the Rose Bowl to a less than elite status of being one of five. Of course, the BCS system took some of the shine off the Rose Bowl when it ended the annual tradition of settling the rivalry between Pac-10 and Big Ten champs (the two conferences play in the Rose Bowl only if the top teams are not in contention for the BCS championship and only if the bowl is not hosting the championship game).
Maybe Pasadena's politicians can convince the new president to help make the Rose Bowl home field of the finals. After all, they scratched his back when it counted.