President-elect Obama today continued to push for a Bowl Game Series playoff system, despite opposition from university presidents and NCAA executives.
At a press availability today, after congratulating the University of Florida Gators –- the victor last in the BCS college "championship" beating the University of Oklahoma — the president-elect quickly made his case for a change in the rules.
"I have to point out — if I’m Utah, if I’m USC, or if I’m Texas, I may still have some quibbles," he said. "And you’ve heard my pitch."
NCAA sports and other divisions of NCAA football decide a national champion through playoffs. The BCS –- the Bowl Championship Series –- gives the two top teams ranked highest in the BCS a spot to compete in a "national championship game" –- not a formal playoff.
Many fans of the also-ran teams are quite annoyed with the official process. Most glaringly, perhaps, the No. 2 ranked team, the Sugar Bowl winning University of Utah Utes, are, with a record of 13-0, the only undefeated college football team. The officially labeled No. 1 team, the Gators, have a defeat blemishing their season record.
Last November, Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes that he supported an eight-school playoffs for college football.
"I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this," he said. "So I’m going to throw my weight around a little bit."
After Mr. Obama today noted the possible opposition in Utah, Texas, and Southern California to Florida being considered No. 1, a reporter asked "who is number one?"
"That’s why we need a playoff," the President-elect said, laughing.
At an Orange Bowl event yesterday, eight former Heisman Trophy winners supported a playoff system.
"Definitely," said 1984 Heisman trophy winner Doug Flutie. "Different system."
"Ditto," said Tony Dorsett, the 1976 winner. "I agree."
Lawmakers are considering legislation that would say if the NCAA declares any game a "championship" game without a playoff system, that would constitute fraud under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has joined with Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., on such an effort, and says he’s spoken with the president-elect on their objective to create a college football playoff system.
"OK, Mr. president-elect, let’s work together on this playoff system, because you said you’re for a playoff, and I’m for a playoff," Barton said to the President-elect a few weeks ago, the Texas Republican told the Associated Press.
"Sure, let’s do it," Mr. Obama replied, Barton says.
– Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller