It's always easy to accept a flawed system when you're the one benefiting from its flaws. Which isn't a surprise, because as a society, we're prone to this selfish reasoning that unless it impacts us directly, it's not our problem.
This is how the BCS gets away with it. You've got a group of powerful individuals who benefit from the system, admit its flaws and yet continue to employ it because, well, why should they change? It's not their programs being shut out and it's not their schools that are losing the money. I can guarantee you if tomorrow the Bowl Championship Series decided to remove the Big Ten from their Big Six, the BCS would cease to exist. It would crumble in a matter of hours and college football would revert back to the system we had prior to 1998.
You see, if that were to happen, every school president and power player in the midwest, specifically Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, would charge Washington and demand change. It would be an uprising not seen in this country since the Vietnam-era and that support, from the elite of elites, would be enough to completely overhaul the system.
Unfortunately, we're not talking about the Big Six schools. It's not Michigan who has to fight against the BCS monopoly, because frankly, if it were, they would prevail. Instead, it's the little guys, the schools that often aren't mentioned among the Big Boys and won't be until there is a system in place that doesn't handicap their success. But that won't happen because there isn't a large enough voice to demand change and, as I just mentioned, that's because they aren't allowed to prosper like BCS programs. So ultimately, we're in a Catch-22, as all these problems are mutually exclusive.
Which leads us to the comments by Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, who likened the BCS to communism. His red-baiting on our part can be commended to a degree, but I think it lowers the discourse and cheapens the argument when you quickly throw around words like communism, especially when the BCS isn't really all that similar to communist ideology. You see, that creates the illusion that the BCS is trying to spread the wealth -- a staple in Marxist thought. That just isn't the case. In fact, if the BCS were run like a communist nation, there would be no system and all programs would be equal by nature. Or at least there would be 119 equal programs with one dominant one receiving a huge sum of resources from the Bowl Championship Series. That is, however, not the case.
No, the BCS isn't about equality or spreading the wealth, rather it's about compounding the wealth at the top. It's essentially America in the Gilded Age, an era where all the wealth was logjammed at the top and it never trickled down to the working poor. Utah, Boise State, BYU, TCU and every non-BCS program, unfortunately, belong to the working poor in this example.
What it took was Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive Era to bust up the monopoly at the top, allowing the creation of the working class and giving far greater access to the top resources. But we're not going to see that because there just isn't a Teddy Roosevelt out there who'll step in and truly demand change. Of course, the legal aspect of this is fairly ambiguous as well, which benefits the BCS' cause.
Sure, Pres. Obama can suggest a college football playoff, but does he have the power to enforce it? Not likely and even if he were to put all his weight behind such a cause, without the full backing of the schools in each Big Six Conference, nothing is going to get done.
And that takes us back to the original problem. There really isn't a voice at the table for the schools like Utah. Yes, Craig Thompson can speak in front of Congress and the coaches of these non-BCS schools can protest, but they don't have the clout in this debate. The non-BCS schools are at a duel and all they have is a knife.
Of course, it doesn't help when there are still people against you. Especially when they try to rationalize the argument by suggesting to us that life isn't fair. Well of course life isn't fair and to many families living in the late 19th Century, it wasn't fair they worked and worked and worked and still made absolutely nothing, while the rich got richer. But they spoke up and created a movement that gave them a seat at the table and it provided a staple in American capitalism that allowed the United States to become an economic power.
But I don't think anyone can convince Mr. Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel otherwise, because he's obviously made up his mind and how do you really debate a person whose only line of reasoning is that life isn't fair? It's like fighting with someone who's totally apathetic to what you're arguing over.
Reading Diaz's article is fairly depressing for this very reason and it's summed up perfectly here:
The college system will always be imperfect. Even with a playoff, you'd still need polls and computer rankings to seed the teams. One proposal by the Mountain West Conference — which, surprise, does not get an automatic BCS bid — calls for creating a 12-member committee to select and seed the eight playoff teams.
Yup. Every system employed will be imperfect, so let's just stick with the one that's the most imperfect. That makes total sense. That is the mindset we're up against. They'll suggest nothing can be perfect, so there is no point in changing it and if you ask for a fairer system, you're told life just isn't fair.
Well good. Remember when mom and dad told you anything was possible when you were growing up? Well, it's not. Yup, at least in sports, we've returned the Gilded Age, where fair doesn't matter and we should sit down, shut up and enjoy what little they give us.
Finally, I give you maybe Diaz's biggest head-scratcher:
Why would a 10-1 Georgia team put itself in jeopardy of not making the tournament to make way for an undefeated team from the Mountain West Conference?
Yes, why should an undefeated Utah team get a shot at the championship over a 1-loss Georgia team? That's just insane, right?
Welcome to the Gilded Age Part II: College Football Edition.