Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

This (h/t Matt Hinton) shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

… The college game headlined the political agendas for several lawmakers, particularly those determined to promote a head-to-head playoff system designed to replace the current Bowl Championship Series.

Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the ringleaders of this movement, in December created the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus to examine a playoff. Barton had previously sponsored a bill written to prevent the BCS from deeming its title game a college football championship game unless a playoff system precedes it.

Meanwhile, former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.), now a lobbyist running Washington, D.C.-based firm The Moffett Group, in December spearheaded We Want a Playoff Now, a campaign aimed at rallying lawmakers and the public against the BCS. And Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have also been outspoken on the matter, arguing the BCS is prejudiced against schools in their states.

“Americans care about sports, and they care about fairness,” Cohen said, explaining why he considers the college football postseason a congressional concern. “If something like this isn’t fair, it is the prerogative of Congress, and its job, to address it and fashion remedies.”

This might explain why the BCS in 2011 spent $350,000 on federal lobbying efforts defending itself.

Prior to 2003, the BCS didn’t lobby the government, and it had never spent more than $120,000 doing so until 2009, records show.  [Emphasis added.]  It now counts former college football great Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) among its hired guns.

It’s only natural.

“We go to Washington because Washington is interested in this, and we’re achieving our goal of helping educate people on the benefits of the BCS system,” Bill Hancock, the BCS’s executive director, said, citing revenue distribution.

There are all kinds of ways to fill a vacuum, though.  Which is why I wonder if the BCS is getting the same quality advice from Ari Fleischer that the Susan G. Komen Center for the Cure’s been getting.

60 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Political Wankery

60 responses to “Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

  1. Lrgk9

    Any topic other than Fiscal Austerity.

    • Macallanlover

      While that single issue is THE most significant issue facing every single American today regardless of political affiliation, Barton is right in his statement. Until a championship is earned, it should not be claimed. I am OK if we don’t have one. I find that silly, but if that is the situation we want/have, let’s live with that and forget the false claims. The worst part of the BCS is it has allowed many to believe we have solved the issue. 2012 and no one has ever earned the right to be called NC, not once.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        Who cares if some people think it was illegitimate? Bush spent 8 years as President with a significant chunk of the public thinking he was illegitimate. A differing chunk of the public remains convinced that Obama’s illegitimate. Do we scrap democracy?

        I hate this illusion that every other sport ends its season with some sort of emotional finality and closure. BS. We just forget and move on because deep down, we don’t really care. Yes, 110 million people “watched” the Super Bowl Sunday. 10 of them were at my house, stopping conversation to watch commercials and replays, then resuming conversation when the game was actually being played. 4 of them were women who haven’t watched a non-Super Bowl NFL game in years – but all 4 make annual trips back to campus for a fall football game and watch the others on TV. Actually watch.

        • Macallanlover

          Typical, if someone feels differently than you it gets the “who cares” attitude. I accept there are others who feel differently than me about a playoff, and I am OK without one as long as someone doesn’t claim a title they haven’t earned. If CFB fans want a NC, then put in a playoff, otherwise let’s have conference champions and argue about which team/conference is the best without pretended we have attempted to give those winners a chance to prove something on the field. It won’t determine who is best, but it will give someone the right to claim to have earned the title, not had it awarded. So yeah, claims should be legitimized.

          • If it doesn’t determine who is best, what’s the point? Otherwise you’re just conjuring up extra games to sell more ad time, and we’ve got enough of that as it is.

            • Macallanlover

              It doesn’t determine who is best, and you may be right, but I like seeing some finality to having conference representatives forced to perform against one another. That gives some legitimacy to someone claiming a title since they are going to anyway. Rather that determine it than a handful of computer geeks and SID’s at a few dozen schools.

              And, I am very much on favor of a few more quality games scattered through the remainder of the month of December, with one in January. What CFB fan doesn’t want more highly anticipated games after all the mismatches we get shoved down our throats?

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Here’s the problem: The current “World Champion” pro football team lost 7 games during the regular season. That’s 7 losses out of 16 games played. I can foresee a situation where the NCAA D-IA playoff has something around 16 to 32 teams with all conference champions getting in and getting byes in the first round. So you get a Big East Champ at 8-4 like UConn a couple of years back who advances by default to the second round. They should be playing Bama in that round and going home shortly thereafter but (yikes!) Bama got upset by Central Florida (Big East runner-up which beat UConn in the regular season), so UConn plays them instead. UCF falls back to earth and loses to UConn. The next opponent is similar, a MAC team that upset Ohio State and (goodness!) UConn beats them and advances to the finals. Their finals opponent is Oklahoma which (as we all know always finds a way to lose the big game) and UConn ends up being the D-IA National Champion with conference losses to UCF and Rutgers and OOC losses to Wake Forest and Vandy. Be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it.

                • Macallanlover

                  Start with a false premise and you will end up in the wrong place Mayor. If the playoff in CFB were 16-32, you may be right, but that is not the playoff we need, or that I could support. Eight teams out of 120 is a very exclusive club, and most agree it could be slightly less, but that would deny conference champions a seat at the table which is my issue. Not all conferences, just 5-6 with the rest of the eight being highest rated not covered in the above.

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            An 8 team playoff might reduce significantly the number of people who complain about illegitimate titles. Probably would.

            But reducing that number doesn’t mean anything for CFB. Oregon fans are going to watch Oregon no matter how they feel about Alabama’s 2011 national title. In fact, a few of them just might start watching Alabama games now hoping to watch them lose.

            A playoff has plenty of arguments in its favor, but “legitimacy” means nothing to the popularity of the sport. It rarely has had a “legitimate” champion in its history. Adding it now isn’t going to take the sport to new heights.

  2. Gravidy

    Looks like the hit count will be getting another off season boost…

  3. Spence

    Oh my God!!! You mentioned politics! F you you flag burning pinko and/or facist!

    Don’t you know some of your readers heads are going to explode into this blog? Don’t you know we are far too immature to handle a tiny political mention without going apeshit?

    Come to think of it, you probably do know.

    • Gravidy

      Of course he knows. That’s the point.

      • It affects college football. Am I supposed to ignore it?

        • Gravidy

          Senator, I’m not going to get into a political argument with you. I’m not so deluded that I think I can change your mind on such things, so I steer clear. I will, however, give you a gentle jab in the ribs on the occasions that you put gratuitous jabs in your posts. The fact is that you could have made your point perfectly well without the last paragraph. In fact, I was with you up until that point.

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            I think SB’s point was that the political arena becomes inherently absurd at some point. Example: Ari Fleischer only makes news when he’s attached to some PR debacle (and in fairness, he seems pretty good at the device of manufacturing attention through debacle).

            The Komen thing is absurd. So is this tap dance between Congress and BCS officials. I totally get it, without assuming SB’s been subconsciously co-opted by a liberal media conspiracy to demonize/trivialize the conservative movement.

            • Gravidy

              That’s a hell of an attempt to characterize an argument that I didn’t make and assign it to me. Good for you, but I made my point quite clearly all by myself. I used words and everything.

            • Exactly. It’s one thing to have to respond in a political environment. It’s another when you have virtually no experience at it. Just ask the Komen folks.

              • Or Planned Parenthood. The reports on this stuff sound like it was a perfect play for them and has really boosted their short term fundraising. Like with college football, follow the money.

          • But Hancock hired Fleischer… why isn’t that relevant?

            • Gravidy

              I’m sure Hancock hired a lot of people. That fact remains that you could have made your point quite well without mentioning Fleischer. And you certainly could have made your point without mentioning the Komen Center. You mentioned both for reasons that had very little to do with making your point about college football. Now allow me to issue this disclaimer again, lest you misunderstand me. All of that is fine with me. It is your blog. You can write what you want. It is a really good blog – worth every penny I pay you for the right to read it. But don’t expect to toss in those little hit-mining jabs without have a smartass like me call you out on it. :-)

              • Always Someone Else's Fault

                See? You assume the references represent a political agenda rather than a theatrical observation. That’s your opinion, and it’s your right, and it’s based on your experiences – but it ignores better alternatives.

                • Gravidy

                  Nope. Wrong again. I don’t assume he did it to further a political agenda. I assume he did it because he knows it will drive up traffic. Could my assumption be wrong? Maybe. But this is the third time you’ve replied to one of my posts in the last week, and you haven’t gotten a good read on me yet. You are, however, free to try again.

              • Oh, I don’t mind the jabs. I just don’t agree with you about Fleischer. ;)

        • The question to me Senator is why? Not to get political, but for Washington to move their lazy butts, someone has to pay for them to do so. So who is footing the bill of this anti-BCS movement, with congress members, with lobbying groups, etc. Getting them to act how they’ve been usually isn’t cheap, so who is financing this? A competitor for the TV rights, perhaps Jerry Jones or someone out of Atlanta wanting to get their cities in the national championship hosting mix, who?

  4. Dog in Fla

    We have ignition and liftoff

    “You know you’re in trouble when Ari fucking Fleischer starts to announce his hands are clean.”

    http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2012/02/06/the-pink-taint/

    http://cdn02.cdnwp.thefrisky.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/02/komen-hack-020212-600×450.jpg

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    If Ari Fleischer has been advising Komen, on the one hand he ought to be sued for PR Malpractice, and on the other hand he ought to get a commission for the donation boost Komen received.

    Apparently Blutarsky’s post wasn’t incendiary enough to start a good Tuesday argument, so I’ll try: The bull dykes at Planned Parenthood need to calm down, take a valium and go burn a bra somewhere. Just because Komen wants to put its money where more of it will be spent on cancer and less on abortions, that doesn’t mean Komen wants to reverse Roe vs. Wade and force womyn into back alley coat hanger abortions.

    • Dog in Fla

      The good news is that the Komen dustup provides cover on plans for drone attacks to take out the $8,000,000,000.00 Abortionplex while the bull dykes are just wasting time laying back, relaxing and enjoying it

      http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/subjects/anti-abortion

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Damn straight. Bomb ‘em!

      • Cojones

        Now that they have reversed their decision and the VP responsible at Komen has resigned, we can go back to normal funding of Planned Parenthood.

        Why doesn’t AUL use the “f” in their name (AUFL)? Because the acronym would sound too much like the organization? Those idiots undermine so much good in the country that they should be required to join the AFLCIO. For those who aren’t familiar with that acronym, it has something to do with the head of information for a part of the NFL.

  6. mwo

    We shit in our mess kit when we gave women the right to vote!

  7. Nakasa

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around Senator Cohen’s statement. So if something isn’t fair, it’s the responsibility of Congress to fix it? If Americans care about it, then Congress should care about it? He sounds like a damn 6th grader. Republican or Democrat, is it so much to ask for our congressmen to have a slightly more refined political philosophy? Or perhaps he is just speaking to the lowest common voter?

    • Or perhaps someone is now giving to his campaign, or PAC, or Super PAC, or whatever, and wants him to discuss this. Isn’t that the only reason they open their mouths in the first place? So who would pay all this money on an anti-BCS crusade, and why?

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Now that we’ve achieved our ultimate goal of a 7 loss team winning the super bowl, we should apply this system to college football. Mediocrity, here we come.

    • Dog in Fla

      As a great patriot, Ari Fleisher and Associates will fight against this threat to the country until the time its retainer is exhausted

      http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7022/6817335019_0889057321.jpg

      • Cojones

        Are those his retainers looking over his shoulder? One looks like “W” in uniform. Hell, another one looks like Jeb! Are they getting ready for drafting Jeb at the RNC? Good ole Ari. Always there for the start of a conflagration.

        • Dog in Fla

          Draft Jeb! Bush* operatives are rumored to be preparing to go live to have Jeb! accept a draft in a brokered convention in Tampa, Porn Capital of the Southeast, over Willard, who has some fundamental problems**

          *http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/288986/draft-jeb-bush-artur-davis

          *http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/jeb-bush-for-president-2012-6619508

          **http://barkersandrubes.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/meet-mitt-the-mormon/

          • Cojones

            Jeb’s “the right to rise” doctrine is advocated by my wife as she makes biscuits and certainly by me when it refers to a part of my anatomy at 71 yrs of age. The wife is not-so-much behind the latter as I am. All I want to do is just refresh my memory.

            • Dog in Fla

              Jeb! and Daddy Go to See the Kenyan:

              “One dinner tradition is to nominate a future presidential candidate, although none of this year’s Republican hopefuls were reported to be in attendance. President Obama remarked, “It is great to see Jeb Bush, who is accepting a nomination for President tonight. I have to say, though, it’s not fair to tease your friends like that.”

              “This year’s dinner was only the second time Obama has attended as president. He joked about the club’s exclusive reputation. “You’ve heard it from the pundits: ‘Obama is cloistered in the White House.’ ‘He’s aloof.’ ‘He’s in the bubble.’ ‘He’s not connecting.’ And that’s why one of my big goals this year was to get out and be among everyday, ordinary Americans – like the men and women of the Alfalfa Club.”

              http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/29/comedian-in-chief-comes-out-at-alfalfa-dinner/

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            Premise: Republicans toss their nomination process to draft-nominate a guy with a last name that makes him the political equivalent of New Coke.

            Screw March Madness. That would be epic theater.

            • Dog in Fla

              Epic indeed! Great fun and merriment may happen if Jeb!, who – based on an eight year statute of limitations – would have been a shoe-in as the GOP Presidential nominee in 2016, assuming the country survives after President Carebear’s second term as a moderate-to-conservative Republican, thinks that Williard has any chance whatsoever of winning the 2012 Presidential election. You can’t keep a Bush down forever no matter how much you trim it.

  9. TennesseeDawg

    As usual, politicians have managed to figure out a money making racket. First they politicize a non political issue. It rallies the idiots who think the government should fix every single problem in America which in turn means more votes. Secondly, it causes an infusion of cash from lobbyist who now have to be hired to protect one side or the other.

  10. init

    How come none of these lawmakers understand that Government shouldn’t even be involved in this kind of stuff? This is completely ridiculous. This is just like Senator Hatch saying the Government should regulate the Internet by blowing up computers- http://www.dethronehatch.com/orrin-hatch-is-no-friend-of-the-internet/

  11. shane#1

    Fairness is a load of crap. Anyone over the age of 12 knows this. You realize that life ain’t fair at that age on the first day of school. If life was fair I would be 6’10″ and in the NBA hall of fame. What right has ol’ Dirk to have what I don’t? I vote for a redistribution of athletic talent and size. Coach Jim Grobe agrees.

  12. Hogbody Spradlin

    I feel the satisfaction of a job well done.

  13. flukebucket

    Santorum / Bachmann 2012!