Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fighting the good fight

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson has already stated his case for the conference to be given an immediate auto-bid into the BCS. The response from the other commissioners was, "Come back in three years," when the four-year conference evaluation period ends in 2011.

Thompson wasn't too happy about that, obviously, so he recently went to the one place that might have the power to do something about it -- Congress. I've heard people say that not even Congress can order any change in the system as long as the schools agree to it, and while that might technically be true, just look at baseball's steroid testing policy to see what the threat of political interference can do.

What's disappointing about Thompson's stance, though, is that he doesn't appear to be calling for the BCS to be dissolved.
"I'm not certain that we're ultimately looking for government intervention; we're trying to raise public awareness," he said. "We're going to try and work within the system. Our proposal is going to go to the BCS commissioner."
If you're hoping for a playoff, a change that furthers the cause of the non-BCS schools while still avoiding a playoff is the worst possible scenario, as there would be even fewer potential landmines when the system comes up again for review.

And I'm not sure exactly what it is Thompson wishes to accomplish here other than land his own conference an automatic bid (which is a bad idea, in my opinion). There are already three at-large spots available, and any non-BCS team in the top eight is guaranteed to be taken (any team in the top 12 is eligible). Maybe the auto-bid could be extended out a bit further or go to whoever finishes highest among the non-BCS schools, but that's really just a superficial change.

Unsurprisingly, Thompson is an expert in vague generalities:
"We're simply here to educate, inform, make awareness about the BCS and we're trying to help our cause -- the Mountain West's cause and other conferences -- with the entire BCS system," Thompson said. "We are planning to submit within the next two weeks a proposal for changes in the BCS system. ... Our proposal will basically be for a more equitable system and we will have some suggested changes in the determination and a little more performance-based results and determination."
We'll find out soon exactly what that proposal entails, but I'm not really hopeful for any drastic changes. It just seems strange that Thompson's going to this extent for what will likely be a minor adjustment to the contract.

If you're putting in the effort to take your argument to Congress and are truly "trying to help college football fans and basically institute a more equitable system," you might as well go all the way. Barack Obama is already on your side, Mr. Thompson -- why not see if you can do some real damage?

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