Senator Disses the Crimson Tide

I'm no fan of the BCS, which has destroyed the bowls and created the untenable, mindboggling scenario where the National Championship game is played nearly a week after New Year's Day. But on this one, I have to agree with BCS Director Bill Hancock: Really, doesn't Congress have more important things to do?

Hancock was reacting to Sen. Orrin Hatch's letter urging President Obama to invite undefeated #4 Boise State to the White House when Obama hosts the undefeated, undisputed #1 Alabama Crimson Tide. Of course, you all know the Tide regained its rightful place atop the college football world after whipping up on Texas in the Rose Bowl last week.

Hatch, who hates the BCS, is all bent out of shape about poor Boise State, which ran the table in the Western Athletic Conference, not getting a chance to take on the big boys of college football. (Of course, Bobby Bowden had a similar problem when he was building his Florida State program, so he decided to take on the big boys in the REGULAR SEASON—by scheduling games with any powerhouse who would play the 'Noles. Just an idea there, Boise State).

But I digress. Hatch wants the President to "send a clear message that champions should be chosen on the field and not in pre-arranged agreements." Sadly, he says, inviting them both will not erase the "unfairness of the past."

Give. Me. A. Break. That sounds exactly like what you'd get from someone who went to BYU and lacks any understanding of the history, the wrangling, the tradition, the classic games, the disputes, the passion that make up college football. (And by the way, where was Hatch in 1984, when a tough Washingtion team got hosed when the National Championship...went to BYU? I didn't hear him whining then.)

Unfairness of the past? Unfairness of the past? You want me to talk about "unfairness of the past?"

How about 1966, when Alabama finished 10-0 and destroyed a 9-2 Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl, yet finished third? That was the team Bear Bryant called his best ever, yet Notre Dame claimed the crown, even though they played to a 10-10 tie with Michigan State—and Coach Ara Parseghian let time run out without even trying to win the damn game.

Or 1977, when Notre Dame again grabbed the title from the Tide. The Irish went into their bowl game ranked #5, with Alabama ranked #3. Alabama destroyed #9 Ohio State. Now Notre Dame fans can say they deserved to leap over the Tide because they beat #1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl. But Notre Dame lost to a 5-6 Ole Miss team earlier in the season—a team Alabama crushed 34-13.

Unfairness of the past?

Those were disputed national championships, and those were long before the BCS era. That's part of college football—every single game matters during the regular season, sometimes things are messy. And, 40 years later, you're still arguing about how you got totally screwed over and how you hate Notre Dame and what a shame it is that the Bear never did manage to beat the Fighting Irish, but ain't it great how things have worked out over the past decade up there in South Bend?

The 2009 National Championship is not in that category. Alabama played a tough schedule in the SEC (which, I may point out, now has four consecutive championships in football). It annihilated #1 ranked Florida. It dominated unbeaten #2 Texas. 14-0, Roll Tide Roll.

On second thought, though, maybe Hancock has it exactly wrong. If politicians can be so completely misguided and tone deaf like Orrin Hatch is on this issue, maybe it's best they just keep their hands off the economy, health care, immigration, terrorism, Afghanistan. Just imagine what kind of lunacy they'd come up with.
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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.

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