Nov 20, 2008

Obama and the BCS*

Since Southern California is home to the Rose Bowl, the Coliseum, UCLA and USC, I figured President-elect Barack Obama's comments on 60 Minutes about reforming the Bowl Championship Series might reverberate on the local sports pages. Well, sort of.

Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times had this to say in his column in Thursday's paper:
Take out a quill -- the kind Thomas Jefferson used to pen the Declaration of Independence -- and declare this:

President-elect Barack Obama will solve the Middle East crisis before he solves the Bowl Championship Series.

He'll get the polar ice caps to stop melting before he gets "sensible" people to come to a college football consensus.
Sure nothing is likely to happen, but that shouldn't stop us from speculating.

After some prompting, Larry Wilson, public editor of the Pasadena Star-News and my former boss, gave his thoughts on whether talk of BCS reform should be cause for panic (displayed in the most civil manner possible) in the Crown City. Here's what he had to say:
gary, indeed such an obamaorama of a solution to the mighty woes of the ncaa gridironers would mean an end to the messy but lucrative bcs. but wouldn't it then create a neat and also very lucrative series of playoff games which historic and large stadiums such as the [Rose Bowl] would bid for -- and wouldn't the bowl be the likely place for western regional games? and then every five years it would still likely host the final national championship as well. so i say this is obama's way of repaying his pasadena debt. lw
While the BCS already rotates the "championship" game in this way, the Rose Bowl would have to give up the Pac-10/Big Ten match-up under the playoff scheme. Would a regional playoff game attract the same level of excitement as a traditional rivalry? Is the Tournament of Roses ready to embrace a more egalitarian system? Wouldn't the Coliseum make a play for the playoff action?

I'll be waiting for the Pasadena paper to provide some answers.

*UPDATED: My former editor, Bob Rector, whose columns appear in the Star-News, weighed in on the Obama plan. The chances college football drops the bowl system for a playoff series: A big zero. Bob elaborates:
For one thing, the Pac 10 and Big 10 don't want to further diminish the Rose Bowl game, which would undoubtedly happen in a playoff scenario.

Second, there's too much money to be made under the current arrangement. Dump the bowl games and you're dumping the cash.
Bob did some consulting work for the Rose Bowl and has a severe addiction to UCLA home games. His column on the Obama plan, the BCS and ESPN dominance of college football is scheduled to run in Friday's paper.

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