I’m going to attempt a rare two-topic sermonette today.
First, giving credit where it’s due, let’s hear it for the Boy Governor. True, he skipped the historic conference in which his fellow Midwestern heads of state agreed on unprecedented steps to combat global warming. And true, as The Associated Press reported last week, the steps he has taken toward that goal are baby steps indeed. But his spokeswoman told the AP’s David Lieb that he’ll take another look at whether to sign on with the grown-ups. (She may not have put it just that way.)
The mainstream media have largely ignored, however, the bold initiative our lad did take last week. He courageously issued a directive to state agencies, and I quote, “directing that each of you inform all members of your department that they should feel at ease using traditional holiday phrases, including ‘Merry Christmas,’ and they should have no fear of official reprisal.”
Take that, you politically correct heathens! No wonder the magazine Human Events (slogan: “Leading the Conservative Movement since 1944”) describes Gov. Blunt as “a rising star in Republican politics.”
And now to a more serious subject. The rending of garments and gnashing of teeth have largely subsided, but we true believers in MU football will be a long time recovering from the Tigers’ exclusion from the charmed, and high-dollar, circle of BCS bowl games. A system that produces such results can’t be a system worth saving.
Joe Walljasper wrote in the Columbia Daily Tribune, after noting that our coach would look a lot better in a South Florida swimsuit than KU’s man-mountain, that the BCS isn’t based on logic as much as it is on a desire to protect the big bowls. Sad, but true.
Well, fans, here’s a suggestion — so reasonable it hasn’t got a prayer of being adopted — for reducing the inequities while preserving, even strengthening, the existing bowls. (To be honest, there’s a chance that the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl might not be strengthened but, to be even more honest, who cares?)
The NCAA should adopt for big-time football a true playoff system, which already exists in every other sport and every other football division. It could be an 8- or 16-team playoff, with the participants chosen as the BCS now ranks teams, combining human polls and computer ratings. Few people argue with the top eight or 16 teams in the final polls. It’s the reward system that needs fixing.
So seed the teams as they do in basketball or Division II football. Then let them play. Every playoff game would be a bowl game, with the semifinals and finals rotated among the top half-dozen or so of the bowls.
The argument offered by KU coach Mark Mangino in a Missourian report last week that the student-athletes’ studies would be harmed by a playoff is specious. Even a 16-team playoff could be conducted comfortably during the four-week break between semesters.
Versions of this idea have been discussed for years. Now, as Gov. Blunt himself might agree, it’s time to act.
George Kennedy is a former managing editor at the Missourian and professor emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism.