The Bowl Championship Series would really be in trouble if Congressmen Neil Abercrombie, Lynn Westmoreland and Mike Simpson were educated about the issue. The three politicians announced last week they want the Justice Department to investigate the BCS. Something about it being an illegal enterprise, anti-trust and all that. The BCS might be unfair, silly, ridiculous and highly contagious to infants and seniors but it never tried to sell you cartons of stolen cigarettes off some loading dock in South Jersey.
|Anyone have a clue for Rep. Abercrombie? (Getty Images)|
Dismayed? Cheer up, this Mike Simpson seems to be a heavy hitter. Well, if you consider dentists to be anti-trust experts. Simpson, in office since 1999, just happens to represent the 2nd District of Idaho. Boise is located in his district. Boise State is located in Boise.
See where this is heading?
By chance, these Congressmen just happen to have within their districts two schools coming off monster seasons, because of the BCS. The Three Stooges, er, congressman, haven't seemed to grasp that fact. Abercrombie actually stood up at the press conference with a Hawaii football in hands talking about the vagaries of the system. If not for the BCS, Hawaii could have taken its 13-0 record to ... Hawaii to play in the Hawaii Bowl.
Where would Boise have gone bowling after the 2006 season if not for the BCS? Certainly not the Fiesta Bowl where the school enjoyed not only a victory over Oklahoma but arguably the biggest shot of publicity in its history.
Norman Rockwell couldn't have painted star running back Ian Johnson proposing to his cheerleader fiancé.
Oh, and there's this: As far as the 53 so-called non-BCS schools are concerned, the anti-trust issue isn't one. Tulane president Scott Cowan rallied support among his peers a few years ago to threaten legal action if non-BCS schools weren't given more of a financial cut and allowed more access to BCS bowls.
That's all it took for the BCS commissioners to open the purse strings and create a fifth BCS bowl to accommodate a non-BCS qualifier. I got a T-shirt in the mail from the WAC over the weekend celebrating back-to-back appearances by its teams in BCS bowls. Gee, that almost seems like they're satisfied, not ready to run to the feds.
Are the WAC, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and the Sun Belt fully satisfied? Probably not but they're not exactly hiring lawyers either. I'm no anti-trust expert, but I do know how to read bowl agate. Number of current non-BCS schools to play in the four current BCS bowls (Orange, Sugar, Rose, Fiesta) from 1955-2004: Five. Number of current non-BCS schools to play in the Big Four since then: Three.
Wow, it almost seems like there's more access to the big bowls. It doesn't end there. If three cities get their way and add to the postseason total, there will soon be 35 bowls. That's 70 of the 119 schools, almost 60 percent of Division I-A, in a bowl game.
That makes the NCAA basketball tournament look practically restrictive. Only 65 teams out of 320-plus in Division I get to play in the tournament.
But I'm not going to tell the Justice Dept. its business. I am going to cut through the Congressional crap. Everybody wants to play for the national championship. Everybody can't, but more can in the BCS system.