By our favorite journalist, Dan Wetzel (and two other fellows). I have to say, I'm not very impressed (for one, he's not an EDSBS Contributor. That alone makes him unpalatable). Oh, I wasn't surprised with the waste of bowl money, or how payouts are usually losses because of the expenses. The bowl scouts, hangers-on and jocks-in-blazers are quite ridiculous and must be viciously purged. Some of the bowls are pretty silly. Dan Beebe is a douchebag, but BCS or no, he'll always be a douchebag.
But there were a few things that stood out to me. For one, Wetzel harps quite a lot on the travesty that was LSU-Ohio State, both 2-loss teams in the 2007-2008 season. However, he either purposefully leaves out the fact that 2007-2008 was one of the most chaotic seasons in college football history (anybody remember Insanity Saturday?), or he forgot it entirely. How do you go about choosing teams for the MNCG when they're all losing key games throughout the entire year? We were honestly staring at a WFVU-Mizzou MNC for awhile, and before that it was Kansas. Fucking KANSAS! A BASKETBALL school, looking at a potential MNCG appearance. That was the year of the Curse of #2, and where programs who had barely touched the Top 25 were suddenly glaring at a Top 5 spot, only to try to get off the train to meet that gorgeous woman that is the national title game, a once-in-a-lifetime meeting of the most unlikely proportions, on the train platform, to find the train opens from the outside only. Move over, Kansas.
The whole spiel with including politicians, President and all, would be influential...except they have bigger fish to fry. Here, I'll put on my Tea Party Hat: "KEEP THE GUBNINT OFF MAH FOOTBAWWWLLL" *with random spouts of Marxist conspiracies working with Nazis to undermine America following*. Besides, for all the talk about loving sports, he has kept his mouth awfully quiet concerning how college athletics and the sports entertainment industry is slowly (actually, quickly) becoming an unsustainable arms race of facilities, network deals and TV contracts. We have ESPN signing off on a massive, 300 million dollar deal with the Longhorn Network, to broadcast shitty, unmanly football, we have CBS signing off a 10.8 billion (with a goddamned B) deal to broadcast a sport suffering from a severe case of Sissy Mary's Disease, a nation where academics has been supplanted by college presidents referring to students as customers, semi-professional athletics at the college level, academics becoming a secondary mission to making money and sports, and a growing class of undergrads that's slowly becoming functionally illiterate, and Wetzel decides to scream about unfairness and propagate about some imaginary Cartel. Simply put, a playoff would make that much worse. By endorsing a playoff he's indirectly signing the death warrant of education in favor of sportstainment.
The biggest thing Wetzel annoys me with is the fact that other than throwing out an estimate that a playoff could make $150 million more than the BCS...no wait, that's all Wetzel does in the book. He has no problems tackling the BCS and the corruption and cronyism, which I will grant him that the BCS is in need of a serious overhaul. But what does he do when he talks about a playoff? He does nothing but appeal to the American sports fan's basest emotions and desires. Of the American Dream, of equality, fairness and everyone gets their share. He talks about playoffs, but the only time you'll see it being referenced to directly in the book...or rather, ON the book, on the back of the dust jacket with the caption "How the 2009 Season Could Have Ended". Other than his attacks on the BCS, Wetzel commits the same crime he screams the BCS is committing: they both offer no viable alternative. Wetzel's alternative, the playoff, is presented in a way as to appeal to people with the emotional IQ of the Wronged, Disrespected Boise State Fan (or your typical Ohio State football fan...self-depreciation is fun sometimes! If you're not laughing at yourself you're not trying). Everything is against the BCS, but little substance is offered in support of a playoff other than the estimated $150 million extra in revenue and appeals to emotion. It's written exactly as a pro-playoff, non-EDSBS commentator would write it.
Speaking of that dust jacket, here's the other thing: for all the nonsense of giving the underdog and the American Dream a blowjob, under Wetzel's vague playoff scenario of Conference Champions and At-Larges...it reads almost like a BCS bowl lineup. Note how out of that 16-team playoff, 12 are powerhouses (10 of those are traditional powerhouses). For a guy who screams about the injustice done to the underdogs, and the merits of playoff equality, that playoff scenario is a very odd way of going about it. Playoff proponents love fawning over how the NCAA Basketball Tourney "gets it right" but either fail to mention that THAT system is even more geared to the blue bloods and big-time universities.
I could go on. But I won't, unless you want me to. If that's the case, I'll need a few beers (as in cases). Simply put, use this book as a coaster or as a paperweight. Outside of this site, sports "journalism" isn't worth reading. Especially if it's written by idealistic, two-faced douchenozzles like Wetzel.