On Sunday night, President-Elect Barack Obama restated his position that initially shocked the world, as his unabashed support for a college football playoff on the eve of his election, a controversial move that I believe pushed him over the top in the final 24 hours of the campaign. Now, with the power of the nation's highest executive office at his command, the President-Elect laid out his playoff plans in further detail in his much-discussed appearance on last night's 60 Minutes:
"It would add three extra weeks to the season," he said at the conclusion of a wide-ranging interview. "You could trim back on the regular season. I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do." - Barack Obama
Finally, a man in the Oval Office who shares the hopes and values of his people. A college football playoff is the right thing to do. I've said it many times over many years. I can back it up. And if Mr. Obama is serious about throwing his weight around, I would like to officially throw Ed The Sports Fan's hat in the ring to become America's first Secretary of the College Football Postseason, based on my long list of qualifications:
• 2008 Black Weblog Award, Best Sports Blog in 2008. Get at me.
• No one has argued more about playoffs with friends and family than me. From my early days at Langston University, to my new stomping grounds here in Buckeye Nation It's an issue close to my heart and mind, and for all its dirty tricks and appeals to the bogus sanctity of the past, the opposition will not catch me by surprise.
• A record of reaching across the aisle. With all due respect, sir, you are mistaken when you say "no serious fan of college football" disagrees with you about the urgency of a playoff. There are quite a lot of anti-playoff conservatives passionately engaged in the national discourse, and they are quite serious. They must be assuaged by someone who understands their point of view and concedes some of its points. I am that man.
I can work with bowls by assuring all bowl games will continue to exist, even the ridiculous ones in awful places no one wants to go to. I can work with conference commissioners by introducing flexible standards that allow automatic entry for conference champions if (and only if) those teams meet certain criteria, which would be at least 9 wins, 10 if there is a conference championship. I, too, highly value the tense, competitive regular season that has always defined college football, and would never allow a bracket to grow too large and inclusive to undermine that key element of its appeal. Which brings us to my next point...
The 2004 undefeated Auburn Tigers...Yes, You Can Too
• I have strongly endorsed your eight-team policy. Here is the construct of success for future seasons. Take the 6 Conference Champions, plus 2 at-large teams would then be ranked by the BCS. Here's your 8-team playoff! If the season ended today, here's what you'd get.
#1 Alabama (SEC Champ) vs. #8 Miami (ACC Champ)
#4 Florida (at-large) vs. #5 USC (Pac-10 Champ)
#3 Texas (at-large) vs. #6 Penn State (Big 10 Champ)
#2 Texas Tech (Big 12 Champ) vs. #7 Cincinnati (Big East Champ)
Now, I hear the people from Utah, Oklahoma, Boise State, and Ohio State crying foul. Rest easy and that there is plenty of season left. Miami and Cincinnati get in from the anemic ACC and Big East conferences. We are considering enacting a new rule taken from European Soccer. If you are rated the crappiest conference in the BCS, you can be dropped from the BCS big 6. I would firmly say that the Mountain West conference is stronger than the ACC. (Utah, TCU, BYU, Air Force all have at least 8 wins) No one in the ACC has 8 wins.
• I recognize the historical mandate of Change. As you clearly understand, Mr. President-elect, we're at a turning point in America. The direction is clear, and you need someone on your college football playoff team who understands that trajectory.
Twenty years ago, the bowls were a mishmash of lawless, backroom handshakes with no accountability to the polls. Today, through the Bowl Alliance, which beget the Bowl Coalition, which beget the endlessly-tweaked BCS, the top games are part of a rigidly organized system whose sole purpose is to determine a so-called champion. Ten years ago -- even two years ago -- no president, athletic director, commissioner or other establishment power broker would be caught dead considering the idea of a playoff in public. For too long, we heard, "They will never let it happen." Now, in consecutive offseasons, a small insurgency of the men always said to be staunchly barricading the castle from the bracket-wielding barbarians has not only publicly promoted the idea of a playoff on multiple occasions, in an official capacity, but declared a playoff an inevitability. Its time will come.
I will seek the advice of experienced men of vision such as Pete Carroll, Bob Stoops and the most poll-scorned of them all, Joe Paterno. Together, we can make that time sooner rather than later.
• I will not extend special circumstances to special interests. I understand Domers are a key element of your constituency in Chicago, but it's time to put an end to the cronyism and good-ol-boy networks of the last century once and for all. Notre Dame will operate under the same conditions as all at-large teams until it joins a conference and wins it. "Change" means real change.
For all these reasons and more, if you want someone who has put a great deal of thought and work into the issue and who believes in your vision, Mr. Future President, get at me!