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Enough debate: Adopt a playoff system for college football

May 1, 2009 | 11:43 am

Swofford 

With all of the economic problems going on and a swine flu hysteria that is only threatening to infect the sensibilities of most Americans as it snorts its way into the country, it's great to see Congress is still working hard to solve all of college football's postseason problems.

The old debate between keeping the BCS or adopting a playoff system to determine a college football national champion was resurrected for about the millionth time this morning when BCS coordinator John Swofford basically told Congress that a playoff system would be a financial death knell for bowl games.

Unfortunately, Swofford's arguments for keeping the BCS were pretty weak. He predicted that sponsorship and television revenue from playoff games could endanger BCS bowl games and that "the 29 games that are not part of the BCS would be in peril."

Who cares?

Does Swofford really think anybody gives a hoot about those 29 games? Students and alumni are the only ones interested in seeing their team complete a seven- or eight-win season in some commercially-tainted game.

College football would be better if the vast majority of those yawn bowls went away. I know they make some money for the schools and college presidents love that, but it's about time postseason games had some other meaning that wasn't primarily financial.

The sport needs to break free of the commercial monster that hides behind the mask it calls tradition. The BCS bowls need to be incorporated into a rotating-site, eight-team playoff system that starts in early December and culminates with a championship game on Jan 1.

Conference matchups in bowl games are the casualty -- part of a bygone era when pure athleticism and rivalries were not cultivated as a means for a big payday. I'll let John Wooden tell you how student-athletes have now become athlete-students.

A playoff system coupled with a few post-Christmas bowl games leading up to the championship game is the way to go. It'll make the fans happy, it'll make the president happy and it'll make Congress happy.

The sooner this happens, the sooner we'll hopefully be sitting in the homes we actually own watching a game that is worthy of being labeled a national championship.

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: BCS coordinator and Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford, left, testifies before a House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing on Friday. West Mountain Conference commissioner Craig Thompson, in favor of a college football playoff system, sits at his right. Credit: Susan Walsh / Associated Press

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