Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at November 21, 2006 10:18 AM
I'm a die hard Buckeye fan. Ask Doug and Steve, they'll tell ya.
So, considering Ohio State's victory over our arch-rival *ichigan last week (I told you I was die-hard), I should be sitting back and relaxing as we wait for the other invitation to the Fiesta Bowl national championship game to be mailed, right?
Wrong. If you haven't heard, the football nation is up in arms over whether that team up north (*ichigan) deserves a rematch, especially considering their current #2 ranking in the BCS (Bowl Championship Series).
For the record, I don't really care who the Buckeyes play. The BCS is designed to ensure that #1 faces #2 in the final game of the year; the victor gets the crown. The Buckeyes are #1...and should play the #2 team, no matter which team ends up in that spot (yes, even if its those pesky wol*erines).
But, the whole debate has me thinking that there has to be a better way to do this. Forget the long-debated playoff system...the fact that we haven't put that in place yet tells me that its not likely to ever happen.
Nah....I'm going way out of the box here...a real rethinking.
I say "bring in the lawyers!"
Yep, you heard me right. Let the lawyers rack up some billable hours on the national championship debate.
Ok, once you're done snickering (or screaming), please read on because I am serious.
Right now we've got an arbitrary system that, more often than not, produces some legitimate debate about which teams should be in the national championship game. Right now, *ichigan, USC, and Florida probably have legitimate claims to the second invitation. It's possible that the next two weeks could make things crystal clear (think USC and Florida losses), but, its more likely that a debate will linger at the close of the regular season.
Here's the thought. At the close of the regular season, the BCS should invite the teams that are legitimately in the debate to present their case to a panel of judges that will ultimately make a ruling...a public ruling that can be used as precedent in future years. The BCS could establish a body of "caselaw" that teams could use in the future as they present their case. Teams could argue that a particular ruling (e.g., the *ichigan decision of 2006/2007) supports their cause, cuts against another team's cause, or both. They could distinguish prior rulings, and even argue that a prior ruling was a bad decision that should be overturned.
All of this, of course, would be held in a public forum (ESPN would buy the television and radio rights, I'm sure). December is essentially void of college football action. Three weeks of BCS National Championship Court would fit in nicely.
I'm not saying this solely because it would probably be my dream job as an attorney. Nope...I think it's the easiest solution to a complicated problem. The championship game will always have an arbitrary component to it (even if a playoff system is adopted), and the best way to protect against arbitrary decisions is to have an adversarial system in which parties are loyally represented by advocates in a public forum that makes public decisions.
Bring on the lawyers.
And bring on #2. Go Bucks.