Commentary

Change we can believe in

Updated: January 3, 2011, 5:25 PM ET
By Rick Reilly | ESPN.com

Gary PattersonKevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesTCU coach Gary Patterson led the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season. But was it all for nothing?
There is no Auburn versus Oregon game. No Tostitos BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 10. It's been cancelled on account of fraud. It's as phony as an Ivory Coast election.

If TCU can't play for the national championship, then nobody should play for it. Bust the crystal football this year. Until Nostradamus rises from the grave and can predict the future, we need to play this thing off. Anything else is about as real as Cheez Whiz.

TCU's 21-19 win over arguably the hottest team in college football -- Wisconsin -- Saturday in the Rose Bowl means the Horned Frogs are undefeated and untied and unwelcome in the BCS "Doesn't Prove A Damn Thing Game" in Glendale.

The Horned Frogs' perfect 13-0 season was rendered pointless by The Greedheads Who Run College Football.

Crazy, huh? TCU wins the roses and gets the thorns.

What a lie this BCS era is. They say a playoff would take too much time away from school, yet Oregon's players will have had 37 days off when they play again.

They say with this system, "every game counts." Except of course, TCU's epic win over Wisconsin to stay undefeated Saturday. Counts exactly as much as a rainbow to Stevie Wonder.

They say they don't believe in a playoff but they already have a two-team playoff. Why is a four-team playoff system any worse than a two-team system?

And what's the upside of a playoff? Besides quadrupling the money the colleges would make and quintupling fan satisfaction, I mean? And what's the downside? Oh, yeah, it would end the cash grab BCS officials wallow in now.

What a lie this BCS era is. They say a playoff would take too much time away from school, yet Oregon's players will have had 37 days off when they play again.

Just another day in college football -- the Chrysler K Car of sport -- the only place in the world where athletes have to shrug and say, "Well, I guess we just have to settle for an undefeated season," as a few Horned Frogs did after the game Saturday. "Today we proved that we have just as good players as anybody else in the country," said Horned Frogs QB Andy Dalton, who won't get the chance to prove another thing -- that they're better.

It makes me so mad I want to knock people's hats off their heads.

But when somebody asked TCU coach Gary Patterson on Saturday night if he was mad about it, all he said was, "I'm looking forward to sitting on my couch and watching the national championship game, because I don't have to sweat. I don't have to call a defense."

Really? That's all he's got? The inspirational "I Have a Couch" speech? He may have a great brain for football (he's won 36 of his past 39 games), but he seems to have mislaid his spine for the moment.

What Patterson should've said was: I don't know what game they're playin' next week, but if we're not in it, it's a load of bull potatoes. Just 'cuz somebody puts their boots in the oven don't make 'em biscuits. Anybody wants to be champion has gotta come through Fort Worth. It ain't hard. We got hotels, too.

Patterson is a guy who supports a playoff. He received texts all week from "all the little guys" in college football who never get the chance. But when he had a chance to speak up for them, for an entire sport, he got even littler.

Rick Reilly and President Obama
Rick ReillyRick Reilly would like President Obama to follow through on what candidate Obama told him in 2008.

That's OK. There's one guy who can change all this with the stroke of a pen. He's a guy who has broken a mountain of promises in the past two years, but can make it all right by making good on a promise he did make, the one to look hard into a playoff. President Obama.

In October of '08, he told me on his campaign bus that he was going to make a real try at getting an eight-team playoff done. Once in office, he told "60 Minutes," "I'm gonna throw my weight around a little bit." But he hasn't.

You want to win re-election, Mr. President? You could do worse than backing something that's already favored by 63 percent of Americans, and will now be favored by nearly every Texan, not to mention Utahan (Utah undefeated in 2004 and '08, but left out of the mix for a BCS title shot), Alabaman (Auburn undefeated in '04 but left out) and Idahoan (Boise State undefeated in '06 and '09 and left out).

Obama must have the Justice Department sue the BCS for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. The BCS is run by a cartel of the 11 BCS conference presidents, Notre Dame and the five big bowl games who are restraining trade and colluding to hoard the gold. They are not exempt from antitrust rules. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) and Texas Rep. Joe Barton (R) have already looked into this. It would work. How many millions of dollars did TCU just lose by not being allowed to play for the title, not just in bowl TV dollars but in alumni donations and national prestige?

My favorite hypocrisy of the Bowlsheviks is: "The bowl system is tradition!" Yes, kids, there's nothing so "traditional" as a team from Texas winning the Rose Bowl and then moving to the Big East.

TCU is a killer team with an amazing story. TCU's seniors won 44 games. What reeks is they won't get a chance to win a 45th.

Just do it, Mr. President.

If this were basketball we were talking about, you'd have it done by the weekend.


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