One week from today eleven Missourians whom most people have never heard of will vote in an election to choose the next president of the United States. They will do so as members of the electoral college authorized by article two of the U.S. Constitution. While most people already regard Barack Obama as the President-elect, strictly speaking that title will not apply until next week.
As we all know, Obama campaigned on a promise of change. One of the many things he vowed to change was a process that is even more arcane than the presidential election and to some people even more important: the way we choose a national champion for college football.
As is the case with the electoral college, there is a much simpler and much more logical alternative to the status quo in college football. Playoffs have proved to be a fair and effective way to choose champions at every level of the game from the smallest high school in Missouri to the NFL, including most divisions of collegiate football. Of course, logic, simplicity and fairness are irrelevant when special interests and vast sums of money are at stake.
The electoral college is enshrined in the constitution and is not likely to change, given the vested interests in maintaining the status quo. Those with vested interests in preserving the status quo in college football are just as entrenched. If soon-to-be President-elect Obama can take on these vested interests and win, he really will have fulfilled his promise to bring about change.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Tom Schlafly is an attorney in St. Louis.