Obama On The Important Issue . . .

. . . a college football playoff:

Kroft: I have one last question. As president of the United States, what can you do, or what do you plan to do, about getting a college football playoff for the national championship?

. . . Mr. Obama: This is important . . . I think any sensible person would say that if you've got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season, and many of them have one loss or two losses, there's no clear decisive winner that we should be creating a playoff system. Eight teams. That would be three rounds, to determine a national champion. It would it would add three extra weeks to the season. You could trim back on the regular season. I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I'm gonna throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do.

This has to be at the top of the agenda. My previous post on this paramount issue here.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    I favor shortening the football season (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 09:51:33 AM EST
    and eliminating playoffs, to give the students more time for classes.

    He he he (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 09:59:33 AM EST
    one of the reasons why I quit state school (none / 0) (#49)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:06:07 PM EST
    at Mizzou...

    too much focus on extracurricular, not enough focus on education...

    I know, I know, football brings in money..yada yada...

    Like Chomsky, I was quite disillusioned by the fact college ended up being high school on steroids (not that I didn't love HS, but I was ready for real education, real intellect)


    How will he square. . . (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:09:31 AM EST
    his promise to end torture with the continued existence of college football?

    I think BHO's having said (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:25:54 AM EST
    (a) "It's important" and (b) that he expects it will be resolved will result in (c) The College Football Powers That Be miraculously finding a way to make it work out such that the solution will pop up in the middle of the scorched battlefield where they previously had been unable to work things out.

    Frankly, I like college football.  But I also like it as a Saturday afternoon thing.  Maybe Saturday nights for The Really Big Game.  I always liked walking across campus with friends, alcoholic beverage hidden under my coat, and entering into the stadium.  My college alma mater is an smaller, older one in the northeast, so the weather was usually crisp and the Saturday afternoon light had that wonderful quality that a northeastern October afternoon, turning leaves and all, has.  And, being a small school, I had a number of classes with guys on the teams.  Given the size of the school that was inevitable, but it also helped build a sense of community.

    I'm sure colleges all across the country have their own individual football traditions and atmospheres which are dear to their alumni and alumnae.  Obama's alma mater, Columbia, was for many years a notorious doormat (even to smaller schools, like mine), and losing seemed almost a part of their mystique.  A friend from my post-college years went to Alabama and recounted all the different traditions they had.  We also had long JoePa v. Bear Bryant dicsussions.  But I digress.

    When college football started showing up on TV on Thursday nights, I got concerned.  Now it's on Wednesdays, Sundays, Fridays and just about every day except, I guess, Monday.  Maybe Tuesday.  It's nice to see the Boise States and Marshalls, but...

    The kids - the vast majority of whom are either playing for love of the game or in self-delusion over their NFL/CFL chances - are being exploited.  I wonder how many of them are making their 8 am lab courses the morning after the Wednesday night ESPN game.  Not too many, I suspect.  Assuming they're actually majoring in something other than P.E. Studies.  Fifteen or twenty years ago, this level of exploitation hit in mens' basketball.  Then womens'.  Now in the last couple, football has gotten worse than it ever was.

    I'm all in favor of rationalizing the college football system, but I'm even more in favor of making sure practice of using these kids as cash cows comes to an end and they get an actual education, so that 20 years down the road they're not driving a beer truck or something.  

    It's a guy thing (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by progressiveinvolvement on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:13:57 AM EST
    We must, must, must find out who is the fairest college football team in all the land!

    As a college football fan, I say forget it.  We did fine for years by having the old college bowl system.  No, it didn't proclaim a "best," but that didn't seem to matter all that much to anybody.

    In fact, we should scrap this commercialized mess that we currently have and go back to it.  Get rid of something called the "FedEx Orange Bowl" and go back to the plain old Orange Bowl.

    This guy (none / 0) (#21)
    by cal1942 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:19:46 PM EST
    agrees with you.  It's a regional game.

    That would be nice but (none / 0) (#31)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:28:38 PM EST
    In fact, there is no Orange Bowl as it has been demolished to make way for a new stadium for the Florida Marlins.

    The Orange Bowl hasn't been in the Orange Bowl since 1999 and only then due to a conflict of dates with the NFL.

    The FedEx Orange Bowl at The Stadium Formerly Known As Joe Robbie is and has most recently been played at Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, and now Dolphin Stadium. The stadium name changes so often it's hard to tell the name without a program, but if the Bowl Game ever changes from the "FedEx Orange Bowl" you can bet it will become something like the "UPS Orange Bowl" or the "H. Wayne Huizenga Aren't I Special Orange Bowl".

    Just to brighten your day, it should be mentioned that you get Fed Ex twice this season: The Fed Ex Orange Bowl at Dolphin Stadium on Jan 1 and the FedEx BCS National Championship at Dolphin Stadium on Jan 8.


    sooooo (none / 0) (#44)
    by slr51 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:05:15 PM EST
    "the wandering all over the place used to be orange bowl"?

    Yeah right (2.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:53:30 AM EST
    Trim back the regular season so teams would not have to play everyone in their conference. Yep, not playing everyone would prove who is the best. Great thinking.

    And then get rid of the conference championship games. That will surely draw the support of alumni,  boosters and local businesses. Gees!

    I hope he has better ideas, and more thought out ideas, for the country than he does for college football.

    And oh yeah Obama, I know a whole bunch of college football fans who would disagree with your idea. A whole bunch.

    Most teams (none / 0) (#10)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:17:30 AM EST
    do not play every team in their conference.

    The SEC and Big 12 have 2 divisions and couldn't possibly play every team.   The Big 10 also only plays 8 games in conference out of 11 teams.  

    I think the PAC 10 and Big East are the only conferences that play everyone in their own conference of all the major and mid-major conferences.

    Eliminate 1 week from the schedule and eliminate conference championships and you could do this and still maintain the bowl games.


    Well you just hit the nail (none / 0) (#14)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:36:44 AM EST
    on the head didn't you? Every conference around the country operates differently. So what you would be asking is for all of those independent and separate conferences to comply with a national system of scheduling. Good luck with that.

    And you would be asking some schools, most schools actually, that would not qualify for the round of eight to give up University revenues, tradition, local tax revenues, tradition and school spirit, among other things, to accommodate schools who would likely not even be in their conference. Good luck with that too.

    Seriously, you playoff proponents have not thought this out at all. And neither has Obama. Neither has BTD who keeps bringing this silly idea up. You will never get all the separate entities and interested parties to agree to such a scheme. And even in a fantasy world if they did you would still end up with a flawed playoff system that people would have critiques about. End of story.


    As I've said (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by cal1942 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:18:33 PM EST
    ad nauseum

    Every conference around the country operates differently.

    College football, the greatest of all sports, is a regional game not a national game. Why mess with a great thing.


    Thank goodness (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:52:05 PM EST
    Another sensible person who recognizes that this is just a sport and has grown to what it is exactly because it functions very well just as it is.

    Um, if we can (none / 0) (#15)
    by mg7505 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:55:39 AM EST
    coordinate basketball, ice hockey, baseball and other college-level sports, we can coordinate football too. Yes, the system has gotten out of control -- but that's all the more reason to finally step up and reorganize it. Even if it makes conferences moot.

    P.S. what does he mean by "throw my weight around"? What power does the President have re: college football?


    Well, it could run the gamut from (none / 0) (#16)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:01:39 PM EST
    "come on out to Camp David to watch some games and get your pictures taken" or "I'd like you and your spouse to come to the State Dinner" (if The College Football Powers That Be cooperate and work things out) to "come to the grand jury room to meet my nice attorney general and his antitrust investigation" or "hey, Congress!  That bill to neuter the NCAA?  Let's move it." (if the CFPTB don't).

    He has an astonishing selection of carrots, and sticks, from which to choose.


    But none of those other (none / 0) (#17)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:10:30 PM EST
    college sports shortened their seasons to accommodate a play-off system. Also in the case of the other sports they are much more inclusive in the number who participate. That is not what is being suggested in football with good reason - i.e. injuries. Which is why what is being suggested, a shortened season, is being suggested.

    People know that extending that football season could cause even more injuries due to the exponential strain on the body after playing an already full slate of games. Which is another reason the playoff formula is bad. I'd hate to see someone ruin the potential for a pro career that would benefit them and their family so a bunch of non-participants can watch a likely flawed play-off series.

    Let's face it, it is never going to happen because of some of the reasons I already mentioned. But will people who have not thought everything through quit advocating for it? Not as long as their team doesn't end up on top they won't.


    Not true (none / 0) (#32)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:30:38 PM EST
    Every single complaint you make can be resolved.  None of those reasons are preventing a playoff game.  

    Most conferences finish their regular schedule in November.  Most bowls aren't played until after Christmas.  

    Eliminate conference championships.  Require all conferences to finish their seasons by the end of November.  Begin a playoff immediately afterwards.  

    1st week is a bye.  2nd week is the first round.  Semis are New Year's day.  Championship is the week after.   Have the BCS bowls host the semis and championship.  

    It is absolutely doable.  Except it won't happen because the bowls will never allow it, even if they are included in the system.


    I just love reading this (none / 0) (#35)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:49:57 PM EST
    kind of nonsense:

    "Every single complaint you make can be resolved.  None of those reasons are preventing a playoff game."

    And then of course you go on to say absolutely nothing about any of what I said and how it can be resolved. In fact you ignore all of what I said. TFF!

    I read this kind of stuff here every day. Bold proclamations given without any specifics, facts, or supportable argument of any kind. And the scary thing is that those of you who do this take your argument seriously even though you posed no real argument at all! You just keep repeating what you want over and over again and totally ignore any counter views that actually explain the reasoning for the views.

    Jon Stewart should do a segment on blogs. He'd have a field day. I can hear him now - ""Here is their argument - - "Whaaa!"", as he stares blankly into the camera.


    Nice job (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:57:14 PM EST
    4 paragraphs that said absolutely nothing.  

    Every level of college football except for 1A has a playoff system.  

    The NCAA and bowls oppose a playoff system.  College coaches and players support a playoff system.  

    I have absolutely no idea what you think I needed to respond to that I didn't.  I laid out a way to avoid shortening the season.  That eliminates most of dubious arguments.  


    Yes (none / 0) (#39)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:10:37 PM EST
    you said cut the season short. I gave reasons why that wouldn't and couldn't happen - none of which you directly addressed just as I said you didn't.

    Good luck with your loser argument. It ain't going to happen.


    so basically they just need to stop (none / 0) (#50)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:08:33 PM EST
    proclaiming a 'national champion'...

    since it cannot be determined...


    Really? (none / 0) (#54)
    by Pepe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 07:23:42 PM EST
    If you look at the current system, as imperfect as it or another system or playoff would be, the top two teams play a game for the National Championship. And if you don't think they do ask BTD who complains about the current system if Florida won a National championship recently or if that was illegitimate.

    And maybe you didn't know that prior the BCS for decades the National Championship was determined by the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll and it was not often that there was room for complaint.

    So quit proclaiming a 'national champion'?

    I don't think so. I don't think anyone is giving back their past championships - either the schools themselves or the fans.


    guess I should have had the sarcasm (none / 0) (#55)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 07:30:19 PM EST
    button pushed..

    well, or at least the I Jest button

    I love football, but I don't really care....one state school is pretty much just as bad as any other state school, so state school pride is kind of ridiculous...

    it's just human nature to be contemptuous though...


    You're right, it would have been better... (1.00 / 1) (#46)
    by joel dan walls on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:57:18 PM EST
    ...if Obama had denounced football as just another male blood sport. That would definitely have mollified the PUMAs.

    Are you daft? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:18:22 PM EST
    Seriously, is it your mission to just come and expose the fact that you do not even know what you are reading?

    I write about college football most every Saturday.

    I LOVED that Obama commented on this and have praised him for it.

    Sheesh, paranoid on Obama's behalf much?


    A Champions League. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Salo on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:00:32 AM EST
    A freaking awesome idea.

    Dog + CollegeFootball (none / 0) (#5)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:09:48 AM EST
    Political genius.  (I love it- but this country is going to hell in a hand basket)

    Did you know that Michael Jordan (none / 0) (#7)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:31:38 AM EST
    was originally a math major? His coach made him change to an easier major.  He was a good student, but his potential was ruined by having to spend too much time on college sports. How many future mathematicians are being lost to college football? How many lawyers?

    You really think... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:12:25 PM EST
    ... that Michael Jordan squandered his potential?

    Yeah, he could have done something (none / 0) (#28)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:45:24 PM EST
    useful. Look at him now.. reduced to modeling underwear. How old is he..about 45?
    So sad.

    Anyone who's 45 and modeling underwear (none / 0) (#29)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:01:17 PM EST
    can't be doing all that badly.

    Shape-wise, at least.

    But, then again, I've seen photos of BHO knocking out pullups (not pushups) before going out to give a pseech.


    Only psychologists ... (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by cymro on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:47:05 PM EST
    ... give pseeches. As a lawyer, BTD gives electures.

    How true (none / 0) (#38)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:03:50 PM EST
    10 Scoring Titles, 6 NBA Titles, 5 MVP's, and at one point they estimated he was making $178,000 a day.

    And the silly man could have had a bachelors degree in Math if he had played his cards right and stayed in school. One thing about MJ, he obviously was never very forward thinking when it came to his long term earnings potential. No one even knows his name.


    And so (none / 0) (#12)
    by rdandrea on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:25:34 AM EST
    Even given infinite time, would Jordan have made more as a mathematician than he made as a basketball player?

    Changing his major was a career decision.  We all make career decisions at one time or another.  His was a good one.


    Don't know how many (none / 0) (#19)
    by cal1942 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:13:17 PM EST
    but there have been fine scholars that also played College football.

    Jim Wilson - Rhodes Scholar (QB - Michigan State)

    Whizzer White - Supreme Court Justice (Colorado (I think))

    Aaron Bates - (current Michigan State punter) carries a 3.96 GPA in pre-law

    There are many, many more past AND current.  I'll bet some of the people who comment on this site could rattle off quite a list.


    don't forget Bill Bradley... (none / 0) (#25)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:34:15 PM EST
    Rhodes Scholar from Princeton. now what did he do afterwards?

    admittedly, not football, but... (none / 0) (#26)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:34:37 PM EST
    I heard this weekend (none / 0) (#43)
    by indy in sc on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:29:18 PM EST
    that a safety from FSU, Myron Rolle, is a Rhodes Scholar finalist (and is also pre-med).  Apparently he finds out this weekend whether he makes it or not.  

    specious reasoning (none / 0) (#34)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:48:33 PM EST
    Just because you don't like sports does not mean that it has no value anymore than someone claiming that because they find fiction a waste of time, William Shakespeare wasted his talents.

    Et tu, Flyerhawk? (none / 0) (#40)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:15:29 PM EST
    It still is just  a game, even if the players earn millions. Lighten up.

    Of course it is just a game (none / 0) (#45)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 03:24:18 PM EST
    But that doesn't render it meaningless.  

    Well, I do not idolize sports players, (none / 0) (#48)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 04:33:40 PM EST
    nor do I put them on pedestals. I admire their talent and dedication, and enjoy watching what they can do. It IS possible to take sports too seriously.

    Define "too seriously." (none / 0) (#51)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:31:01 PM EST
    Is it just that tiny bit more seriously than you take it?

    it's fine for individual persons to take sports (none / 0) (#53)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:50:03 PM EST
    'too' seriously...I use to do it myeself...

    it may be a problem if a society begins to put too much emphasis on them...but I haven't really given it much thought...

    seems like it would be better for a society to focus on people, thoughtfulness, helping and education, but I'm sure there is a counterargument...


    The people here who cannot stand to (none / 0) (#56)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 10:59:09 PM EST
    see MJ ribbed are the ones taking sports too seriously.

    Politics is the art of the possible (none / 0) (#11)
    by rdandrea on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:23:18 AM EST
    He can do this.

    Yes he can.

    It will (none / 0) (#22)
    by cal1942 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:20:58 PM EST
    be up to college presidents not the US President.

    Careful what you wish for (none / 0) (#13)
    by MKS on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 11:33:50 AM EST
    USC would take out the Gators in a playoff game....

    No Cupcakes (none / 0) (#23)
    by OldCity on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:23:29 PM EST
    no 44-0 scores.  

    Let's get real records, first.  

    Gawd (none / 0) (#24)
    by cal1942 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:33:31 PM EST
    everyone has a 'foolproof' plan to determine a national champion.

    I got a big kick out of Obama sketching an outline of his version.

    But Obama's smart. He knows that keeping the media on his side will make his life easier and he knows that the media is frothing at the mouth to have a Division 1A (or FBS) playoff.

    Eight teams eh.

    What if we have 10 teams in the division formerly known as 1A with 1 loss? Or in a year when 1 team is undefeated, 2 teams have 1 loss and 12 teams have two losses.

    Oh, I know, have a POLL to determine the eight teams to compete in the national championship tournament.  

    The 8- team proposal ... (none / 0) (#41)
    by cymro on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:17:09 PM EST
    ... is not an original idea. Plenty of people have proposed adding an 8-team playoff to the present BCS system.

    The simplest proposals (a) do not involve dropping the 12th game of the season (b) use the existing BCS ranking system to select the top eight teams, and (c) augment the current five BCS bowl games to seven bowls, structured as an 8-team playoff.

    The first two playoff rounds can be played on the same dates as the present BCS bowl games, so only the final championship extends the season beyond its present length.


    I'm aware that (none / 0) (#57)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 18, 2008 at 04:14:23 AM EST
    there are 8 team plans, 10 team plans, etc., etc.

    And everyone with a plan thinks that theirs is the bestest and most fairest and most accurate of all the plans.

    Yes, we'd all love to see the plan.

    Unfortunately none of the plans have even a remote possibility of achieving absolute consensus.

    All involve some artificial method of selection that would from time to time require a subjective judgement that will anger some school or conference that feels it was arbitrarily bypassed.

    This year for example what would any of these plans do about Boise State or for that matter Ball State?

    Now I would suggest that the current top 8 in the polls would be representative.  Except I believe that number 10 Ohio State could eviserate number 7 Utah. All but three of those top 8 teams have one loss.  Boise State, also a FBS school, is undefeated as is Ball State.  How could they be excluded? They're in the same division.  Who would you bump from the current top 8 to make room for two teams who'll feel they've earned playoff status.  Remember this playoff stuff is about earning a slot; about not depending on the subjectivity of polls, either man or computer selected. Would you dump USC or Oklahoma or Texas or Florida or Penn State and what about BYU?  They have one loss. How do you exclude them from consideration?

    Would you say that they play in inferior conferences? And how do you judge a conference?  People like to say that conference A is better than conference B and conference D is better than conference C.  If that's really the case then why not weight teams differently in different conferences and if that's the case then why not consider bumping Georgia (9-2) above Utah (11-0). After all the playoff is to determine who's best, isn't it?

    We'd all love to see the plan.


    Playoff status is not the issue ... (none / 0) (#58)
    by cymro on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:10:03 PM EST
    ... the goal of any 8-team playoff proposal is simply to identify a national champion, not to have a big football tournament that replaces the bowls.

    No matter how many teams are included in a playoff, there will always be debate about which teams make the cut. Even the NCAA basketball tournament, with 65 teams, still produces heated debate about the teams "on the bubble". But in the end, that debate is irrelevant to the question of who becomes national champion.

    The BCS ranking system, through the computer rankings component, already takes strength of schedule into account. So unless you can make a case that a team ranked 9th or lower by the BCS system could actually be the best team in the country, then arguments about won/loss records and conference strength are irrelevant.


    No one has done more for college football (none / 0) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 12:45:14 PM EST
    than he.

    Oh, pooh. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Fabian on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 01:16:42 PM EST
    Let them all turn pro for the after season play offs.

    After all, they are supposed to be students and this would be above and beyond the call of duty for them.  So give all the players an equal stipend, let the schools get an equal share of the advertising revenues and let'er rip!

    (Wonder if the lust for a little extra cash will change the game any?)

    Wow (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 02:28:39 PM EST
    I thought that the link was from the Onion, guess not.

    Any chance Obama knew in advance (none / 0) (#52)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:47:32 PM EST
    the question was coming?