Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama needs to back off playoff push

President-elect Barack Obama is continuing his college football playoff rhetoric, and frankly, this is none of his damn business. Don't get me wrong, I think there's a lot of good that Obama will accomplish as president, but in no way should he be poking around with how college football decides its national champion.

Obama first talked about how he'd like to see a playoff instead of the current BCS system on his Monday Night Football appearance the night before the election. Now he's talking about this on 60 Minutes.

"If you've got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season, and many of them have one loss or two losses, there's no clear decisive winner. We should be creating a playoff system," he tells CBS' Steve Kroft in an interview to be broadcast Sunday.

According to Obama's proposed system, eight teams would play over three rounds to settle the national champion.

"It would add three extra weeks to the season," he said at the conclusion of a wide-ranging interview. "You could trim back on the regular season. I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."

Thanks for trying to do the right thing, President Obama, but I've always felt that sports and politics are a lot like church and state: they need to be separated.

I've been a major BCS-antagonist, especially since USC was left out of the 2004 Sugar Bowl after finishing the 2003 season ranked No. 1 in both human polls. During last season's unset-filled college football season, I even thought that perhaps a 12-team playoff was the answer. But regardless of what the answer is, the responsibility to find that answer is not President-elect Obama's. This is a man who is taking over a country in what we're told is the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. We're in two wars. The general attitude is "things are bad," and Obama wants to work on - what? - the college football crisis? Get real.

I realize that this isn't on the top of his priority list. And I know that this is probably just talk from a politician coming off a high of winning the office of the President. But leave the college football playoff talk to those equipped to handle it.

The government does a lot to try to get involved with the sports realm. Congress held hearing on steroids in baseball. The Mitchell Report. How about a meeting over the cruelty of the personal seat license? Or $115 hockey tickets? Or $75 parking passes at NFL games?

If the government wanted to help sports fans, they've somehow find a way to limit the monster contracts that teams pay out and would find a way to get that savings passed along to the fans. I'd much rather be able to afford to see my favorite teams play than have the comfort of knowing the national champion in college football was 100 percent legitimate.

President-elect Obama, congratulations, you won. Heck, you even had my vote (I know, after all this ranting, you wouldn't have guessed that, would you?). But please don't think that people like me voted you into office so you could change college football. And frankly if anyone would vote for a candidate based on that issue, it probably would have been me. Just stick to solving the other problems that our country is facing.

As far as determining who should play for college football's national championship, that really seems more like a "second-term" issue for you to handle.

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