Alumni form anti-BCS group

By By Chris Mumford

By Chris Mumford

A perfect season and a Sugar Bowl victory couldn’t do it, nor could multiple Congressional hearings or even opposition from the president of the United States.

Nothing has come close to toppling the Bowl Championship Series system, but a handful of young professionals believe they can.

A new BCS political action committee, headed by U graduates Matt Sanderson and Bentley Peay, aims to succeed where some of the country’s most powerful forces have failed by supplanting the BCS with a college football playoff system.

“No one currently can carry the water on this,” Sanderson said. “You have politicians who, when they step up and decide to do something like this, they get criticized for being panderers and wasting taxpayer money and time.”

What the reform effort has lacked to date, Sanderson and Peay said, is a cohesive organization uniting anti-BCS voices scattered throughout the country, and the funding necessary to contend with the lobbying efforts of the BCS, which Sanderson said has doled out more than $700,000 to politicians in recent years.

Through its new website, www.playoffpac.com, the group hopes to gather small-dollar contributions from playoff boosters around the country and will use the money to expand a small coalition of reformers in Congress, who have been pushing for reform of the system.

Sanderson and Peay said they’re looking to tap BCS resentment throughout the country. Only 15 percent of respondents in a 2007 Gallup Poll expressed support for the BCS. Their playoff PAC is hoping to win support even among certain malcontents within the system, such as the University of Texas and the University of Southern California, who are eligible to reap its highest rewards, but feel they’ve been shortchanged in recent years.

“We don’t see ourselves8212;and don’t want to be seen8212;as a local group fighting for the little guys,” Peay said, noting that Playoff PAC has already garnered support among individuals from some BCS schools, including Texas.

In addition to acting as a conduit for fundraising, Playoffpac.com will serve as a clearinghouse for anti-BCS opinion, which Sanderson and Peay say is presently too sporadic and diffuse to drive a sustained campaign against the system.

“If you look, if you’re a reporter or a congressional staffer or just a fan, you can go to the BCS website and you get their articles, their arguments, you get all of that in a centralized place,” Sanderson said. “But if you’re looking for the other side of that argument, that’s all spread across a thousand different blogs and op-eds.”

Sanderson and Peay regard past crusades against the BCS as little more than symbolic and have thus far failed to generate any change. These attempts have include online petitions calling for a boycott of BCS sponsors and Senate anti-trust committee hearings.

One major reason for the failure of these efforts is the absence of a coherent plan for how a playoff system would work, leaving BCS critics with little to say when supporters of the current system claim that there exists no better way to determine the national champion.

Playoff PAC offers no specific details on a system to replace the BCS, but Peay said the group hopes that one will emerge from the interactions of reformers on Playoffpac.com.

“The consensus out of (Playoff PAC) was that while we don’t want to advocate a specific plan at this point, at least we don’t just want to be in the business of tearing down the BCS,” Peay said.

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