Why I'm Rooting for Baylor and Against the BCS
Here's a big cheer for the undefeated Baylor Bears going into their prime-time football showdown Saturday against Oklahoma State.
I have doubts about Baptist-run institutions, like Baylor, being able to keep up in today's competitive academic environment. And the university's president, Kenneth Starr, an admirable man, was a disaster as a special counsel prosecuting President Bill Clinton for lying about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Still, the reason to root for Baylor is to ensure that the corrupt college-sanctioned Bowl Championship Series ends in the ignominy it so richly deserves. The BCS system determines a national championship game based on a convoluted computer system. This is its last year.
There are four undefeated football teams at the highest level of NCAA competition. Florida State and Ohio State are likely to remain so; if Baylor wins Saturday and the defending champion, Alabama, defeats Auburn a week later, two high powered teams with perfect records will be denied a chance to play for the national championship.
That situation will further expose the fraudulence of the BCS system. A system of which the real rationale always has been to preserve more money-making bowl games for more teams.
After intense public pressure for a more equitable solution, college football finally relented and starting next season there will be a four-team playoff to determine the national championship. Ultimately, that will likely expand to eight teams.
Big time college football is driven by one overriding consideration, money and its attendant hypocrisy. Five years ago when President-elect Barack Obama called for a playoff system to determine the national championship, John Swofford, the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, snidely replied: "Our constituencies -- and I know he understands constituencies -- have settled on the current BCS system, which a majority believe is the best system yet to determine a national champion." A missing element to those constituencies was the fans who favored a playoff.
Swofford and others also suggested a playoff, with extra games, would impede academics -- rarely a concern of big time football honchos. Playoff games would be held during winter breaks for schools, most of whom have already added regular season games during the academic year.
My close friend, the late columnist Bob Novak, loved, and often wagered, on college football games. He was pretty good except when he was driven by ideology, usually preferring the team from the most right-wing state. A better way is to root against the BCS format; this is the last chance.
(Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)