Changing the Rules II

I wrote some weeks ago about the college football decisions regarding the Big Ten and its very obvious power play to place Ohio State into the college football playoffs. It changed rules not once but twice to allow Ohio State to play for the Big Ten title against Northwestern and thus be in the hunt for the national championship. This was done, of course, so that the Big Ten would receive the TV revenues from the two games of the playoffs that it might not have received if Indiana or Northwestern had been the Big Ten champion although the CFP had pretty much indicated Ohio State would be in the top four teams even if it wasn’t the Big Ten champion. Of course there was the publicity as well and the burnishment of the Ohio State football program which would assist that school in attracting high caliber football talent. Thirty-nine times the Ohio State Buckeyes have been the Big Ten football champions. Indiana has two and Northwestern has eight championships. Now these numbers extend back into the nineteenth century so you can guess how much a Big Ten championship might mean to Indiana.

But Indiana was sacrificed to the gods of television ratings and money. Yes, there’s that nasty word that plagues “amateur” athletics, money. In the end the Big Ten did get the money it wanted, some of which will go to Northwestern and Indiana but as for burnishing the Ohio State football program what do you say to a recruit, “Come join our squad and get embarrassed by the Crimson Tide.” This was the year that proved just how wrong those charged with ranking teams could be. Clemson was decidedly not the second best team in the country and Notre Dame was not the fourth. Both came out of a conference which would win not a single bowl game in the post season. Conversely, the Big 12 went 5-0 in its bowl games and three teams from the SEC that had overall losing or even records beat ranked teams in bowl games. Think about that, three teams with losing or even records beat RANKED teams. If Ohio State had played a full ten game schedule it might not have been the third ranked team, more likely than not Texas A&M would have filled that slot. Ohio State came close to losing to Indiana and Indiana was beaten in the post season by a 5-5 Mississippi team. That Ole Miss team scored 48 points against Alabama; that’s 24 more than Ohio State could manage. As for watching, the Ole Miss-Alabama game was much more exciting than the National Championship contest.

Speaking of the SEC, Florida and Georgia also gave Alabama better games than did Notre Dame or Ohio State. So, did the CFP committee give us the four best teams in the country? I don’t think so. In the end did the best team win the championship? Probably, given that Alabama played eleven other SEC teams on its way to the playoffs. Was it really worth it to the Big Ten to show its seamy political underside just to have their manufactured champion embarrassed? Well, if money is your goal then yes. Yet again we were shown how the spirit of amateur competition has been unmasked and how those who control the Big Ten are only in it for the money and the exercise of power.

But the Big Ten isn’t the only place where people change the rules to achieve a desired outcome. This thing called a trial in the Senate is another example of how people abuse authority. I have been in third world countries where such things happen but I’ll be damned if I thought it would ever happen in the U.S. It is so sad we have come to such a state. I don’t care whether you like Donald Trump or loathe him, such vituperative behavior on the part of Congress is what we expect to find in banana republics not the United States of America. Shame!!

Politics is politics and power is power. The exercise of the latter is done via the modality of the former, and as we have been told and shown throughout history, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Football, Government, Religion, Society, doesn’t matter. Power corrupts and leads to abuses. I’ve just mentioned two examples here, look around you and when you see the rules being changed, well…

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