Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Bill would force college football playoff
WASHINGTON -- Taking aim at a BCS system he said "consistently misfires," a member of Congress planned to introduce legislation Wednesday that would force college football to adopt a playoff to determine the national champion.
Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, didn't specify what sort of playoff he wants -- only that the BCS should go.
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"In some years the sport's national championship winner was left unsettled, and at least one school was left out of the many millions of dollars in revenue that accompany the title," Barton said in a statement released ahead of the bill's introduction. "Despite repeated efforts to improve the system, the controversy rages on."
He said the bill -- being co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican -- "will prohibit the marketing, promotion, and advertising of a postseason game as a 'national championship' football game, unless it is the result of a playoff system. Violations of the prohibition will be treated as violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act as an unfair or deceptive act or practice."
The BCS was created in 1998 by the six most powerful conferences. Since then, the system has been tweaked to make it easier for teams from smaller conferences to qualify for the top games. The sites for the four BCS bowls -- the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta -- take turns hosting a championship game between the top two teams in the BCS standings, which are based on two human polls and six computer ratings.
This season, Florida (12-1) and Oklahoma (12-1) will meet in the BCS title game Jan. 8 in Miami.
Barton cited Southern California in 2003 and undefeated Auburn in 2004 as examples of worthy teams left out of the BCS national championship game.
"This year, we again have two teams with one loss each playing for the 'championship,' while two undefeated teams and four additional teams with only one loss will play in bowl games, but none can become 'champion," he said.
When an Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a hearing about the BCS in 2005, lawmakers said they weren't going to pursue legislation.
"The BCS method of determining who is No. 1 consistently misfires," Barton said Wednesday. "Simply exposing the flaws and subjecting them to discussion ... hasn't led to improvement by those who run the system."