David Hale had this to say at his blog yesterday:
The Senator has done a great job over the last two years of convincing me I should want to support the BCS, but it’s crap like this that makes it really tough. This stinks of the same B.S. that put Kansas in a BCS game over Missouri two years ago.
For starters, let me say that I’m flattered – somewhat surprised, even – that I’ve had any influence on someone’s thinking about the BCS. And that I’m not surprised by David’s frustration over Penn State’s resurrection in the BCS. (And if David thinks that’s bad, this is probably worse.)
But here’s the thing. It’s not so much that I’m pro-BCS as it is that I truly believe that the people pushing hardest for a change to the D-1 football postseason aren’t being thoughtful or honest (hi, Senator Hatch!) about the impact that such a restructuring would have on the sport. My personal feeling is that the end result would be less emotionally satisfying to follow.
You can argue all you want that it’s all about fairness. The reality is that it’s at least as much about money and power as it is about competition. And as much lip service as is directed towards what the fan wants, in the end, whatever comes about won’t be in response to our preferences as it will to the dictates of the conferences, the bowls and the networks.
But don’t take my word for it. Go over to The National Championship Issue and read Ed Gunther’s post on the subject. Here’s the money (pun intended) graf:
That’s been the big question for a while, and there’s two ways to look at it, both of them fair. There are those who want the bond between competition and money to be strong, the type of people who like to say that undefeated teams from the non-BCS conferences “deserve” to be in a BCS bowl game. But what exactly do they deserve? To play a better opponent, or to earn a bigger payday? There’s a biiiiiig difference between the two. Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I’d guess that most of the people who take this view would much rather have the money than fair competition. If you offered them one or the other, either a shot at the national championship or the $18,000,000 that just playing in the game would bring, I’d bet most of them would go for the money. Is is fair that non-BCS teams don’t have a shot at the title? No, decidedly not – nobody is going to argue that. But the real question is if it’s fair that they don’t get a bigger share of the BCS money? That’s a trickier one, isn’t it? People are always going to justify why they should get more money, but the group of people on the other side who want the bond between competition and money to remain weak have a pretty good argument too: since the BCS teams are the ones who bring the majority of the money in, so what’s “fair” is that they keep the majority of it.
You can’t have it both ways, folks, no matter how well-intentioned you may be. No doubt it’s an easy call if you’re a Boise State or a TCU fan. Or Orrin Hatch. But if, like me, you support a Big Six program, how much cash flow do you want to see your school/conference sacrifice on the altar of fair competition? Because as much as the mid-majors complain about wanting their fair shot to play, they want their shot to be paid like the big boys just as much. And keep in mind the risk over time is that the bleeding gets worse, as the tournament expands – they all do, don’t kid yourselves – and the regular season (particularly an SEC or a Big Ten one) becomes less valuable as a result.
I’m a firm believer that the best thing D-1 football could do would be to shrink itself down to eight ten-team conferences and run a playoff comprised solely of conference champs; however, the odds on that happening are slim. In the absence of that, I can live with what we’ve got. It’s far from perfect, but I fear that it beats what’s at the end of the fairness road.