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Since the recent presidential election there has been a lot of speculation about who the new administration will hire, which issues they will tackle first and what approach they will take.  And in case you haven’t heard, one of those issues is the college football bowl championship series (BCS).  For those of you who don’t know what the BCS is, and for those of you who are expressing disbelief that Chris knows anything about it, allow me to explain.  There are no playoffs in college football, so it is difficult to establish a national champion, especially when there are multiple teams with the same win/loss record.  As a result, team rankings used to be decided through a voting system, and not surprisingly this led to a lot of problems and controversy.  The BCS was created to dispel the impression that college football rankings were subjective and capricious.  In response, the BCS ranks teams using a secret computer algorithm that is based on the emphatic opinions of a very small set of individuals, and this algorithm is fudged at the end of each season to meet everyone’s subjective expectations.  This system is based on the premises that the best team comes from one of the six major conferences, and that Notre Dame gets to do whatever the hell it wants to.  On the surface, this sounds like it was designed to create even more controversy than the old system, and some would argue this is true, including President Elect Obama (see video).  Fortunately, our government has a reputation for not shying away when faced with such difficult issues.  You may recall the time when members of Congress each sat down in private and spent a few minutes quietly reflecting on how many gallons of water should be required to flush a toilet (answer: 1.6).  Or the time that a congressional committee attempted to determine if Roger Clemens was a vegetarian, and after he answered “No” they proceeded to ask if he was a vegan, to which he replied “I’m not really sure what that is”, effectively demonstrating that Congress isn’t really sure about it either and that they might want to move to higher ground.  However, college football is way more popular than veganism, so I am optimistic that the legislative and judicial branches of our government will be able to engage in an articulate discussion on the issue, though I am certainly not ruling out the Supreme Court from getting involved.

Having said all of that, some of you may be wondering what effect the BCS has on Chris’ life and why he is taking the time to write about it.  The answer is that 1) he took an interest in the BCS when he found out it involved an algorithm, thinking that this might make spectator sports more compelling; 2) college sports have way more spirit and gumption than professional sports, and if we are going to have more football it would be great if it were college; 3) for years Chris has heard complaints from friends and coworkers about college football rankings, particularly from fans of a certain team in Ohio, and is hoping a playoff will finally put these to rest.

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