Phi Beta Cons

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Higher Education’s Annual Scandal


I don’t want to get all populist and low-brow on this esteemed higher-ed blog, but can we really go all week without a single reference to higher education’s Great Annual Scandal? I’m referring, of course, to the vacation from truth, justice, and the American Way that is the Bowl Championship Series, where each year esteemed university presidents defend the least fair system in any major sport in the United States.  

This year — and for the sixth time in the last ten years — the “national champion” will be clouded in controversy. Just days ago I watched the University of Utah absolutely paste an elite SEC team in the heart of the South, yet they have no chance at the BCS “championship.”

As one commentator noted this week (I can’t find the reference at the moment), if matters are not settled on the field, then it’s not a sport. So until college presidents can get past their boundless greed, one of the most enjoyable forms of athletic endeavor will remain the equivalent of a particularly violent form of figure skating or synchronized swimming.

Former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly states the case with crystal clarity:

Some gifts people give are pointless: Styling mousse to Dick Vitale. An all-you-can-eat card to Kate Moss. The BCS Championship given to Oklahoma or Florida.

It means nothing because the BCS has no credibility. Florida? Oklahoma? Who cares? Utah is the national champion.

The End. Roll credits.

Argue with this, please. I beg you. Find me anybody else that went undefeated. Thirteen-and-zero. Beat four ranked teams. Went to the Deep South and seal-clubbed Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The same Alabama that was ranked No. 1 for five weeks. The same Alabama that went undefeated in the regular season. The same Alabama that Florida beat in order to get INTO the BCS Championship game in the first place.

Well said, Rick. And now … to echo Bob Dole in 1996. Where is the outrage in America?


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