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Lawmakers rally against BCS

1/23/2009 - College Football

WASHINGTON -- A handful of lawmakers used a resolution
commending the University of Florida's national football
championship Thursday to protest college football's much-maligned
BCS system.

A dozen House members voted "no" or "present" on the
resolution, the latest signal from the nation's capital that many
people aren't happy about the way the NCAA chooses its football
champion. Many of the dissenters were from Utah and Texas, both of
which have schools that made a case to play for this year's
national championship but were passed over.

"A fine school with a great team deserves better than a
national championship that was decided inside somebody's
computer," said Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who has
introduced legislation to force a playoff system. "The Gators
certainly could have won it on the field, but they didn't get the
chance any more than Utah, Texas and USC."

President Barack Obama also has repeatedly criticized the Bowl
Championship Series, saying he plans to "throw [his] weight around
a little bit" to pressure the NCAA to adopt a playoff system.

The BCS was created in 1998 by the six most powerful
conferences. It features a title game between the top two teams in
standings that are based on two human polls and six computer
rankings.

This season, Florida (12-1) met Oklahoma (12-1) in the
championship game. Florida won 24-14 and ended up with a 13-1
record.

But the game was under scrutiny even before it began. Several
schools that played in lesser bowls claimed they deserved a shot at
the championship, including undefeated Utah (13-0), Texas (12-1)
and Southern California (12-1).

"Utah has a legitimate claim but we'll never know because they
couldn't play for it," said Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., who said he
also voted against the resolution because he thinks it's a waste of
Congress' time.

A spokesman for Rep. Bobby Bright, an Alabama Democrat and
Auburn University graduate, said his reasons for not supporting the
measure were simpler: He simply couldn't bring himself to support a
school that is such a bitter rival of his state's universities.