The election of Sen. Barack Obama reminds me of everything I hate about college football.
Supposedly, America voted Obama into the presidency Tuesday, but in reality this is not true. The Electoral College did.
Luckily for this country, the popular vote matched up with the Electoral College. The fact that this is not always the case, however, highlights a serious problem with our election system.
A similar scenario exists in college football. Here, we see an election system run by a select group of “experts.” Here, we see a system with the potential to take the most deserving candidate out of contention.
For those of you who have not caught my drift yet, I’m referring to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The fact that a team can finish a season undefeated and not even have a chance to be crowned national champion highlights a serious problem with our post-season system.
Both the Electoral College and BCS are eerily similar in form and function. The scary part, however, are the hauntingly similar results produced by each system.
America’s popular vote has been countered by the Electoral College three times, most notably in 2000 when President Bush made his way to the oval office despite losing the election to Al Gore.
The BCS has left three undefeated teams out of the national championship. Auburn University and the University of Utah both finished their 2004 seasons without a loss and without a national title, as did Boise State University in 2006.
How can either of these systems be justified when they decidedly fail to do what they were originally created for?
To me, the Electoral College seems quite pointless. The votes are more or less dictated by the public and each state’s total number of votes is rationed according to population. These
measures were instilled to reflect public opinion, so why not just use the actual popular vote?
Supporters of the Electoral College argue that it prevents an urban-centric victory, maintains the federal character of the nation and neutralizes turnout disparities between states. These points are all valid but give too much weight to states and not enough to the individual. Every American’s vote should count the same, regardless of where it is cast.
Besides simply abolishing the Electoral College, my only other suggestion is to modify it. At the very least, all states should distribute votes in proportion to their population’s voice. If a hypothetical 60 percent of Ohioans vote for Obama, why should he get all 20 Electoral College votes. It just makes more sense logically to give him 12 in this scenario and give the other eight to the parties that earned them.
This system would also give more incentive to Republican candidates to campaign in areas like California (a renowned blue state) as they would no longer have the daunting task of trying to win the entire state.
As for college football, I support Barack Obama and his Monday Night Football endorsement of a playoff system.
Besides potentially eliminating undefeated teams from championship contention, another fundamental flaw of the BCS is that it all but eliminates non-BCS conference teams, like Miami, before the season even begins.
I suggest a 16-team playoff featuring the winners of all 11 conferences and five at-large teams. One argument against such a format is time; however, there were exactly five weeks between conference championships and the national championship last season-plenty of time for this four-week playoff.
To address the issue of revenue generated by the current bowl system, I say keep all the current bowls. There is no reason you can’t designate any individual playoff game as a bowl game.
After crushing Washington 56-0 last week, the USC Trojans dropped from fifth to seventh in the BCS standings. That’s not a typo: they went down after a 56-0 victory. That alone should let you know how ridiculous this system is. Naturally, USC coach Pete Carroll thinks it “stinks.”
Football is the only sport that uses rankings instead of actual competition to crown its champion. It’s time to give this matter back to the players. It’s also time to give the presidential election back to the people.
I’m Dan Kukla and I approve this message.