Commentary: Don’t forget to cast your BCS ballot too

Published On:
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
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My fellow football-loving, pigskinned Americans, today brings great opportunity. The channel of change is upon us.

Tuesday, from the West Coast to the most biased regions of the East, football aficionados can vote for their future, the future of college football, of course.

With so many teams in need of a Bowl Championship Series bailout and with no adequate postseason plans to serve the greater good (mid-majors) and not just the wealthy few (major conferences), your vote for college football's future has never mattered more.

Here is each party’s platform:

The Republicans

College football has never, not once, proclaimed an official national champion. While most Americans are unaware of this fact, the champion has always been bowl-anointed and media-appointed. Look in the hall of records if you must, or save time by noting what the Republicans already have: College football has always been content to let the bowls decide the postseason. The NCAA has never been involved, never made a trophy.

Conservatives don’t want to change such storied histories. For this party, a nation of college football without a Rose Bowl is not the America they believe our ancestors would have envisioned.

The GOP is nevertheless aware that things haven’t been going so well. Party officials know the nation needs change or, in other words, a unified national champion.

Their platform suggests an eight-team playoff that would treat each major bowl game as one step in a quarterfinal stage.

Participants would be selected using the BCS formula.

The semifinal stage would open up the opportunity for additional sponsorship, and it also adds two marquee games.

The Republicans argue this maintains the sanctity of the major bowl games and provides a fair end to a long season. The remaining bowl games, from the Holiday Bowl to the Peach Bowl, could still be played as normal.

The GOP justifies the additional two games to the season by arguing this system would only add to the validity of the true champion.

The Democrats

Consistently demanding change, the Dems see the bowl system as outdated. These generally more liberal officials say college football deserves a true and fair playoff system that upends the major bowl games as we know it.

The gaping hole with the Republican stance, argue the Democrats, is that the underprivileged are not represented. Only the top eight BCS schools are included, which of course leaves out the Boise States and other mid-majors.

The Democrats want to develop a 12-team playoff system similar to that of college football's big brother: the NFL.

In their format, the Dems give the top four BCS teams a bye and begin with a quasitournament of eight before adding in the four idle teams.

To ensure minority representation, the Democrats offer one guaranteed bye to the top BCS ranked mid-major team, and at least two positions thereafter.

Democrats argue that taking major college football’s top nine teams is beyond an adequate representation. Furthermore, in order to preserve some bowl tradition, the four major bowl games could be used in the quarterfinals.

The possibility of three additional games (for some of the teams) has caused the Dems to cap the regular season schedule at 11 games.

Increased prestige of the additional bowl games would result in more revenue.

The Green Party

This underdog party believes there’s a sincere need for change and looks to represent the underrepresented.

Its officials call for two tournaments of eight teams, one for the major conferences, and one for the mid-majors. After one round from each tournament, the conferences combine into one final seeding for all of college football. This is done to ensure the mid-majors face formidable opponents on their road to an earned championship.

Like the Democrats, these nature-lovers stress the need for an 11-game season, and begin postseason play earlier in the calendar year. Unlike the Democrats, however, party officials give four additional teams an opportunity while still limiting each team’s postseason to four games, giving far greater representation to the mid-majors.

To maintain the national tradition, the Green Party argues the Rose Bowl and other major contests could be maintained in a variety of ways in the first or second rounds.

Get out and vote

I can't say that your one, individual vote will change this election.
But by voting, you’re saying you believe in something. Of course none of these plans will do what is completely right. Voters rarely agree with every aspect of a party’s platform.

But if we can accept the fact we can't control every nuance of this election and instead focus on the greater picture, we’ll realize that our vote much more than a number.

In order to take steps in the right direction, we must be willing to take chances and take stances.

So on this very important Election Day, do what is right for college football and cast your ballot.

Reach the reporter at joshua.spivack@asu.edu.