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4. Washington pushes college football toward a playoff system
In 2009, Congress turned its attention from professional baseball to college football. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) targeted the Bowl Championship Series, a post-season system for college football that involves 10 teams playing five post-season games, including the BCS National Championship Game between the two teams selected as the best in the country. Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Barton likened the BCS system to "communism". It was a bipartisan affair, though, with President Barack Obama stepping in to use the bully pulpit to get college football to dump the BCS and adopt a playoff system. Earlier this year, BCS commissioners finally did that, with a playoff system to take effect starting in 2014.
As an historical aside, President Teddy Roosevelt is often described as having "saved" college football by stepping in to regulate the game in the early 20th century. After many injuries and a few gridiron-related deaths, college football had become the target of a campaign to ban it for its brutality. Roosevelt pushed the creation of the 10-yard first down system and a ban on mass formations and gang tackling.
NEXT: BRUTALITY IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER...