Obama wants playoff; McCain to stop performance-enhancing drugs

Updated: November 3, 2008, 11:08 PM ET
ESPN.com

Barack Obama says he'd start an eight-team playoff for college football's national championship. John McCain says he'd continue the battle against performance-enhancing substances in sports.

Both of the major presidential candidates talked to ESPN's Chris Berman via satellite during halftime of the Monday Night Football game between Pittsburgh and Washington. The interviews were aired less than eight hours before the polls opened in the eastern part of the country. The Obama interview was conducted before the announcement of his grandmother's death.

When asked what would be the one thing he'd change about sports, Obama said he'd like to see a college football playoff.

"You know, I am fed up with these computer rankings, and this and that and the other," he said. "Get eight teams. The top eight teams right at the end. You've got a playoff. Decide on a national champion."

McCain, who's been active in the Senate on the issue of performance-enhancing substances, said he'd work to prevent the spread and use of them.

"I think it's a game we're going to be in for a long time," McCain said. "What I mean by that is that there is somebody in a laboratory right now trying to develop some kind of substance that can't be detected and we've got to stay ahead of it. It's not good for the athletes. It's not good for the sports. It's very bad for those that don't do it, and I think it can attack the very integrity of all sports going all the way down to high school."

Obama also talked about his Chicago Bears (and an ankle injury to quarterback Kyle Orton) and relayed a story about scrimmaging against the North Carolina men's basketball team (which he picked in his NCAA tournament pool last year).

"Let me tell you, they are big and really fast," Obama said. "And I'm old."

McCain, an Arizona Cardinals fan, turned the tables on Berman when asked what he wanted voters to think of when they went into the voting booth on Tuesday. McCain trails in national polls on the eve of the election.

"I want them to think: 'He. Could. Go. All. The. Way ... To the White House,'" McCain said with a laugh.