A Champion By Any Other Name Would Be Just as Profitable

Speaking of what makes a "true champion" and the continuing destruction of college football, I read this absurd story from Lester Munson on the latest meddling of Congress into the BCS:

Federal legislation that will lead to a college football playoff tournament will move a step closer to reality on Wednesday in a hearing before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will consider a bill that would allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit any bowl game from calling itself a "national championship" unless the game is "the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system." The subcommittee is expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday after a line-by-line consideration of the bill.

Written and sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), the bill is a direct attack on the BCS and, if enacted, would bring the long simmering controversy over the BCS to an end. In a legislative process that is long and can be tortuous, the hearing is a significant step. This is the furthest any bill on the BCS controversy has ever progressed on Capitol Hill.

I'm not going to argue that this represents a stupid government intervention into private economic affairs or a blatant attack on free speech. That is obviously true.

No, what interests me about this story is Munson's belief that this bill would "would bring the long simmering controversy over the BCS to an end." I think it's quite clear that it wouldn't. Since Congress has not (yet) decided it can impose a playoff system, it's working through its authority over false advertising. So you can't call something a "championship". Who cares?

Does anyone honestly think the NCAA wouldn't respond to this either by (1) calling the championship game something else like the "Awesome Megabowl!", or (2) just doing away with the BCS and going back to the old system. After all, everyone on Earth will know when a matchup between a #1 and a #2 is coming, and that it almost certainly will decide who ends up winning the polls. How much can the words "national champion" be worth in advertising? It has got to be smaller than what the schools would give up through the destruction of the bowl system.

Now, I'm virtually alone in viewing that as a good thing, since I'm anti-playoffs for sporting reasons. But even if you are a proponent of playoffs, given the money at stake, wouldn't that strike you as a far more likely outcome than acquiescence?

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