This Thanksgiving I am grateful we have a president-elect with the clarity to see evil and the courage to confront it. In his final interview as a presidential candidate, and again in his first interview as president-elect, Barack Obama stood strong against the focus of evil in the modern world: the BCS college football bowl system.
The night before the election, Mr. Obama told ESPN's Chris Berman, "I think it's about time we had playoffs in college football. I'm fed up with these computer rankings and this, that and the other. Get eight teams -- the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff. Decide on a national champion."
After that interview -- let's face it, because of that interview -- Mr. Obama routed Sen. John McCain almost as thoroughly as Oklahoma throttled Texas Tech last week. And Mr. Obama didn't stop there. In his first post-election interview the president-elect told 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, "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. We should be creating a playoff system."
Just as he does with less intractable problems -- health care, energy, Middle East peace -- president-elect Obama approaches fixing college football with intelligence, fairness and relentless logic. "Eight teams," he told Kroft. "That would be three rounds to determine a national champion. 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 going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."
God bless America. And God bless Barack Obama.
After eight grey years in which the First Fan was a man who had traded Sammy Sosa and fainted trying to eat a pretzel, we finally have a real reformer in the Oval Office.
As an orange-blooded Texas Longhorn, I must admit that my team is advantaged by the BCS -- this week. The Horns are ranked ahead of other one-loss powerhouses like Oklahoma, Florida and Southern Cal. But I'd trade a momentary advantage for a long-term solution: the Holy Grail of college football fans everywhere; Nirvana, El Dorado... a playoff. And so would Texas head coach Mack Brown -- a beacon of integrity whom Obama should consider for the Supreme Court.
"Send the best eight teams and let them play it off," Brown said. "There's a lot of good teams that are going to be left out of the BCS this year. What I would welcome is more conversation [about changing the BCS system]. I really wish we could hammer out some ideas and get it down to what's workable... whether we do it now or three or four years from now. In most years, there are going to be six to 10 teams better than the others and it's tough to say who is best without a playoff."
So this Thanksgiving I will pop open an ice-cold Shiner Bock, pull on a burnt orange sweatshirt and settle in to watch my beloved Horns kick the stuffing out of the right-wing, Bush Library-hosting, Phil Gramm-producing Texas A&M Aggies. And as the Horns run up the score, I will say a silent prayer of thanks for an incoming president who truly understands college football fans.