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Big-time college football deserves a playoff

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Political Contributor
  • Roland Martin says the Bowl Championship Series system is wrong
  • NCAA football teams should pick a champion after a playoff series, he says
  • BCS keeps big conferences in position at expense of small schools, he says

Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, Washington Watch with Roland Martin.

(CNN) -- As a huge fan of college football, I waited all year for the crowning of a national champion.

I couldn't wait to find out if it would be Delaware or Eastern Washington.

Yes, those teams squared off in Frisco, Texas, on Friday night to crown the national champion in the Football Championship Subdivision the right way: at the conclusion of a playoff.

No, I'm not talking about that joke of a game scheduled for Monday night in Glendale, Arizona, for the national championship, where the folks with the biggest smiles will be the Arizona Tourism Commission and the supporters of the Bowl Championship Series.

The idea behind the BCS was to use a variety of polls, factoring in all sorts of mathematical models, to determine which teams should vie for the national title.

After they show up armed with all their high falutin' computers spitting out reams of data to show that Auburn and Oregon are without a doubt the nation's top two teams, dare I say the BCS supporters are still full of crap?

There is no bias on my part against Auburn and Oregon, two fine football teams. But it is nonsense to suggest that this is the best way to crown a national champion. Not only is it undemocratic, but there also is no doubt that determining who should play for the national college football title based on a poll is un-American.

Determining who should play for the national college football title based on a poll is un-American.
--Roland S. Martin

And that's exactly how the brains behind the BCS want to keep it.

Folks, this is nothing more than a cartel. This system is designed to keep out the upstarts that are not in the major conferences. This supposedly fair system makes it clear that only automatic qualifiers get a shot at playing for the big money and the big trophy. SEC? Yep. Big 12? No doubt. Big East? Thanks a bunch. Big 10? Hello, baby! ACC? Yes, sir! Pac-10? Sweet.

Yet if you're from the "Little Sisters of the Poor" conferences -- those are the words of Ohio State University President Gordon Gee when he derided TCU and Boise State for even being considered for a national championship game -- you have to hope and pray the pollsters don't screw you. That means the Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA, the Mid-American and Western Athletic conferences must rank in the top 12 of the BCS poll to get the automatic bid.

In the world of the BCS, this is fair and aboveboard.

Sorry, it stinks to high heaven.

There are a lot of folks to blame for this nonsense, but a lot of it lies at the feet of the presidents of the schools in the major conferences. In fact, lies is a good word, because they do an excellent job telling those in trying to get us to believe academics is at the heart of their opposition to playoffs.

We've heard for years the ridiculous argument that the presidents put the student first in student athletes, and that a playoff would take too much time and keep them from their final exams.

Yet not a single college president opposing football playoffs can explain why in the Division 1-A, now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision, playoffs are used in basketball, baseball, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

For years, football teams in Division 1-AA, sorry, the Football Championship Subdivision, have had a playoff. That means teams earn the title the right way, on the field.

If there wasn't a playoff in college basketball, Butler would have never been able to advance to the finals last year. Every year, the notion of a Cinderella team advancing into the Sweet 16, Elite Eight or Final Four would be moot, because we could just pencil in the power conferences.

In the arrogance of the presidents, coaches and yes, the media, these are the so-called best and toughest conferences in the nation. Forget those little schools that don't have the big budgets and TV contracts; the big boys decide who is good enough.

Sorry, not buying.

A playoff is fair and just. Win on the field, and keep winning, and you play for the title. Lose? You go home. Simple. Clean. Concise.

Like many fans, I'll watch Auburn and Oregon because I love football. But don't think that whichever team wins they'll be national champions. They will simply be the best team to win a supposed national title because they hail from one of the cartel conferences.

I'd rather raise a toast to Eastern Washington.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.