College football season has begun, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time once again to start griping about the BCS – that’s Big Conference Slant, for those of you unfamiliar with the NCAA’s form of selecting the most “worthy candidates” to wear the National Title crown.

But this year, there will be a new group of voices among the ranks of BCS Bashers. After all, we all know that Congress has nothing better to do.

That’s right, last Thursday, those dudes in suits who won’t give me an internship collectively criticized the BCS.

While Congress as a whole decided not to mediate the debate concerning whether the Bowl Championship Series violates antitrust laws, the House Judiciary Committee officially criticized the system. The critique basically equates to the United Nations sanctions placed on Iraq. Official, but useless. Like the BCS itself.

The BCS is the National Championship series of college football. Nobody is really sure how it works, and everybody’s got a better idea. While every other college sport uses an elimination tournament, the NCAA chooses to arbitrarily pick the teams that stand the best chance at the title.

I’m not going to complain. My Buckeyes won it all last year (but face it – that would have happened anyway).

So the questions are, what is so flawed about the system and why does the NCAA continue to use it? Congress looked for the answers. The central issue is the fact that the BCS effectively eliminates any chance of any small school winning the title. Ever.

BCS proponents claim that the system allows for smaller teams to get into major bowls via two at-large bids. In its five-year existence, though, the number of non-major conference teams to find their way into one of the four BCS Bowls is the same as the number of presidential candidates found in Alaska in an election year. Namely, zero.

The answer to the second question is more straightforward. arketing. Football fans like the bowl system, and the major teams like the money that comes from it. The 66 BCS teams will split about 90 million dollars, while the 55 non-BCS schools will split about six million dollars in revenues this season.

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), said the aim of the congressional hearing Thursday was to make sure that “fundamental fairness trumps the fundamentals of good marketing.”

As if they had nothing better to do (see also: Iraq, health care reform, Bill Janklow’s car repair bills).

Everybody knows the BCS is unfair and probably does violate antitrust laws, keeping non-BCS teams out of the major bowls. But who died and gave Congress a say in the matter? Deciding that Congress will not intervene is probably the smartest thing they’ve done all session.

Of course it’s ridiculous not to have a playoff system. Of course it’s ridiculous to call yourself the best when you haven’t played everyone out there. I would have loved to see Ohio State go up against 11-0 Tulane last year before taking on 12-0 Miami. It’s an old but true adage that says you can’t call yourself the best until you’ve beaten the best.

The non-BCS schools say they may, as a last resort, file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS if a compromise cannot be reached. When that case reaches the Supreme Court -then and only then – should the U.S. government become involved in it.

Till then, leave the BCS bellyaching to the true professionals – the fans.

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