Lawmakers rally against BCS

Updated: January 23, 2009, 8:34 AM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press