- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2009

HE SAID WHAT?

“I feel like the monkey’s off Atlanta’s back. Not just the team’s back, the whole city’s.” — Joe Johnson after the Hawks ousted the Heat in seven games

TAKE YOUR PICK: Should Congress strong-arm the NCAA into adopting a college football playoff?

Yes — Everyone from fans to coaches to players wants a playoff system. BCS coordinator John Swofford and Co. had better get the ball rolling before Congress takes the decision out of their hands. The bowl system is obsolete. The BCS is inherently unfair to smaller conferences (see Mountain West) and painfully narrow in scope. The current system is clearly better than the old Bowl Alliance, but changes have taken place far too slowly. If it takes somebody like Rep. Joe Barton, Texas Republican, to give the BCS/NCAA suits a shove in the right direction, so be it.

No — Don’t these politicians have meatier tasks on their plate than tweaking the BCS? Our economy is in shambles, but sour-grapes Longhorns fan Barton is going to make sure his team doesn’t get shafted out of another national title shot. Perhaps if these folks spent less time worrying about which baseball players were juiced and which playoff model is the most equitable, they might be able to run the country effectively.

Our take — On one hand, the efforts of Barton and others represent governmental meddling at its worst. A true conservative like Thomas Jefferson would be mortified at the notion of the federal tentacles extending to pursuits as trivial as college football. However, the sport is a massive interstate enterprise generating millions and millions of dollars, so therefore it is subject to federal fairness and antitrust scrutiny and congressional evaluation. While purists wince at a bureaucratic mandate, the people have spoken, and they want a playoff. If Congress can affect what is a decidedly democratic change by pressuring college football’s masters into adopting a playoff without attempting to pass actual legislation, we’re all for it.

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