View Full Version : New BCS poll is -- surprise, surprise -- a joke

Ultra Peanut
08-26-2005, 08:19 AM

Calkins: Bartow a fox in the BCS chicken coop
By Geoff Calkins
August 26, 2005

Gene Bartow has a month or so before he casts his first vote in the new Harris Interactive Poll. But if he could vote for something today, it would be for a big pile of dynamite under the whole lousy system.

"I think there needs to be a playoff," Bartow said. "It's the fairest way to divide the money and the fairest way to pick a champion. I can't believe the NCAA and Myles Brand are comfortable with this."

You can almost hear BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg now, can't you?

Who picked this guy! He thinks we're a joke?

OK, we are a joke. But we shouldn't give votes to the people who say it!

Never mind the other embarrassing names in the Harris Poll.

Never mind Kenny Roda, a radio guy in Cleveland, who has a Web site offering "pickup lines to bag a hottie."

Never mind Jason Rash, a businessman in Atlanta, whose only tie to college football is that his father-in-law is Troy coach Larry Blakeney.

Seriously. That's it. His wife's father is a head coach.

Rash got bounced from the poll Wednesday.

It's enough to make the BCS people blush, if they had any shame, that is.

But the one voter who might upset them is Bartow, the nicest man in the world who seldom has an unkind word to say about anything.

Except the BCS.

In which case, he can muster unkind words, sentences and paragraphs.

Bartow hates the BCS. Some research would have revealed this.

"I often wonder why the NCAA doesn't tell the BCS, 'OK, we're starting our own football playoffs,'" Bartow told the San Diego paper two years ago. "Do you want to participate? Do you want the best of both worlds? To remain a part of our $6 billion basketball tournament? Do you want your university to participate in more than one sport?"

That's right, Bartow wants to put the screws to the BCS schools.

"Why not?" he said. "Unless some of that BCS money is shared, how long can some of these (other) schools survive?"

Bartow's view of the world comes from a lifetime spent in college sports. He coached at big schools (Memphis) and little schools (Valparaiso), at BCS Schools (UCLA) and non-BCS schools (UAB).

What Bartow has come to see clearer than most is that there's only one reason for the BCS's existence.

"It's money," he said Thursday, on the phone from North Carolina. "I mean, I think there's several reasons the presidents say they look at it. But I think it centers around the 63 or 64 BCS universities sharing the money and not wanting to share it with the other universities."

You were expecting educational integrity?

Of course this is the reason. The fans want a playoff, the players want a playoff and more and more coaches want a playoff.

The only people who don't want a playoff are the BCS bean counters. They're fighting as hard as they can to retain a system that guarantees the TV windfall won't be shared by everyone.

So Baylor is in while Utah is out.

South Florida is in while Memphis is out.

Vanderbilt is in while BYU is out.

"I don't think it's fair," Bartow said. "I'd think people would be embarrassed. And the disparity is a lot worse than it was 20 or 30 years ago."

Bartow's solution is a 16- or 24-team playoff. Anything smaller would just be a different way of excluding the little guys.

If the BCS schools won't go along, Bartow told the San Diego paper two years ago -- he declined to revisit the topic Thursday, lest he be seen as a troublemaker -- that he'd respond by declining to play the BCS schools in anything.

"The NCAA should just say, 'Go right on ahead. You're going to get sick and tired of playing yourselves because nobody is going to schedule you greedy folks in pingpong. Go ahead and break away. Then let's see how it goes.'"

It's a radical notion, one that demonstrates -- as much as anything -- just how passionate Bartow is about the subject.

He knows wrong when he sees it.

He recognizes greed dressed up in a bowl blazer.

"That's what this is," he said. "And it's not necessary. Auburn will always be Auburn. Notre Dame will always be Notre Dame. They don't have to worry about UAB and Troy."

The obvious question, of course, is why Bartow agreed to vote in the new poll at all. The Associated Press decided it didn't want to be associated with the BCS travesty. Why didn't Bartow make the same decision?

Is he going to work from the inside? Undermine the system with every ballot? Cast crazy top 10 votes for Rice and Vanderbilt?

"No, I'm not going to do that," he said. "I'm going to do it very conscientiously. But you can bet I'll be voting for some teams that aren't part of the BCS.

"Heck, someone told me Memphis is going to go undefeated. If they do, I'll vote for them."

Rain Man
08-26-2005, 09:05 AM
I'm guessing that Psicosis is responsible for the last sentence.

Ultra Peanut
08-26-2005, 09:09 AM
No, I'm thinking more along the lines of an 8-3 sort of regular season.

08-26-2005, 11:29 AM
The BCS needs to go away and be replaced with a play-off system, but that's an age old argument and a play-off system will never happen.