NCAA GETS DUMBER AND DUMBER, TOO

ESPN and the other sports networks are missing the boat.

Somebody’s asleep at the network switch. Commercializing and televising the results of the stupid weekly College Football Rankings According to Condoleeza Rice and 11 Other People should make ESPN a few extra bucks, but imagine if it could televise the deliberations.

Sound a little over the top to you?

Then you’re not old enough to remember when the NFL Draft wasn’t in prime time. I’m so old I remember when it took place on a Tuesday morning in January.

Now the drafting is done in prime time, on national TV in front of a live audience.

Next year ESPN should have the committee meet in front of an audience made up of college football fans. Imagine what the crowd’s reaction would have been during this week’s discussion about Baylor and TCU, who went into this weekend ranked sixth and third respectively in the Stupid Committee Rankings.

Baylor beat TCU 61-58 back in October but then made the mistake of losing to West Virginia.

And the friendly folks at Baylor want to know how it’s possible that TCU would get a higher ranking.

Somebody at Baylor hired a PR firm to make the case for a spot in the Stupid Final Four.

What else do you need to know about the futility and stupidity of trying to pick a champion of a major sport with a committee?

The national sports media have slurped up everything the NCAA dishes out and, instead of taking every opportunity to ridicule the system, they devote entire shows to discussions about who deserves to be in the Stupid Final Four.

They will tell each other, “Yeah, it’s pretty stupid to have a committee determine who gets to play for a championship, but it’s better than it used to be.”

No, it’s not.

It’s exactly the same.

A “champion” is going to be determined by 12 people meeting in a room.

Until it’s decided on the field, it’s still a mythical championship.

The chairman of the committee, Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, has told Baylor fans that their team doesn’t deserve to be ranked higher than TCU because of the 61-58 win. He says TCU’s body of work is more impressive.

Of course, that’s his opinion. If this were figure skating or the Westminster Dog Show, his or somebody’s opinion would be the only way to pick a winner.

Then there’s the old standby argument that goes like this: “Yeah, it’s a really stupid way to decide who gets to play for the championship, but it’s great because of the discussion that it creates.”
Yeah, just like all that discussion and debate about steroids was good for Major League Baseball.

Some in the media, like Jim Pagels of Forbes.com, will tell you that you shouldn’t blame or ridicule Baylor for hiring a PR firm because the NCAA made a mistake by not having it done solely by computers.

He never mentions that it might be a good idea to, eliminate voting, computers and PR campaigns and, you know, determine it on the field.

Colleges have been doing PR campaigns to promote players for the Heisman Trophy for as long as the award has existed. But it’s an award. Trophies are awarded. Championships are won.
At least they’re supposed to be.

And, please, don’t blame the committee. The people on it have an impossible job. When they pick their Stupid Final Four, the team that’s ranked fifth will squeal like an Arkansas Razorback.

A few years from now, when, inevitably, the tournament will be increased to include eight teams, number nine will squeal.

You would think that the last place where you would find this kind of stupidity is on a college campus.

Okay, maybe not. There was a video out there this week on which several Texas Tech “students” couldn’t answer the question, “Who won the Civil War?” or name the Vice President.

Picking a football champion apparently is way down on the list of problems for our institutions of higher learning.

Quick. Somebody form a committee.