Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Game: The College Football Champions & The Electoral College

In college football there's much debate and opinion over the current system for determining the college football champion. The entire bowl system, including the BCS (Bowl Championship Series), automatic qualifying conferences, the polls, and rankings, create what is a game within a game. You hear this time of year (especially with multiple undefeated and one-loss teams) discussions such as "style points" and "strength of schedule."

It's all a game. And generally, I'm in the camp that says "I love the game, it's part of what makes college football fun." I don't want a long drawn out single-elimination tournament with brackets, and so forth. The game creates history, stories, and intrigue.

In a similar way (to me at least) the Electoral College system has become a similar type of game. There's no doubt that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are not chasing the popular vote, but the electoral college win. There travel schedule and ad spending demonstrate this. If you live in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Florida you know this already.

I've enjoyed keeping an eye on what Professor Sam Wang at Princeton has been tracking at his blog at You definitely sense the bitterness that in his home state of New Jersey the candidates are not working hard for his vote.

In college football, a win is not always just a win, it depends on who you're playing, your conference, and other factors. Similarly in America, a vote is not just a vote.

Where I greatly enjoy the game that we see in college football in this regard, I find it increasingly distasteful as part of the American political system.

There were times in American history where the electoral college probably had value in times were candidates could not always travel the country freely and there messages and plans could not easily travel to potential voters. That time has passed.

Sometimes, I hear people talk about the U.S. Electoral College with giddy excitement and pleasure, simply because they love the game. Where I can appreciate the game, history, and competing storylines in college football, my appreciation is absent when it comes to American politics. 

It's time for this to change. A vote in Florida should equal a vote in Pennsylvania should equal a vote in Montana. 

Now as for whether the SEC is really that tougher than Big 10, Big 12, or ACC...let's talk. That's a conversation I'll enjoy.

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