In Major League Baseball, teams in the race looking to make a late-season push will make a deadline deal to improve their roster. Case in point: the Phillies acquiring Cliff Lee.
In the NFL, teams looking to overcome longshot playoff odds get inventive with their playbook, like the Miami Dolphins did last year in using the Wildcat to power them to a playoff berth.
In college basketball, coaches will often loosen the reins on talented freshman during the second half of the season in an effort to unleash the potential of their teams, hoping it sparks a March run.
In college football, our national paragon of amateurism and integrity, schools and conferences hoping to achieve their postseason goals actually seek areas outside of their actual performance on the field to get a leg up on their competition.
Today’s example is Boise State, via the WAC, which has reportedly hired a PR firm to help the Broncos in their quest to make the BCS.
Yes, this is what is has come to in college football. Public relations firms are being held on retainer by conferences to help individual schools politic for BCS berths.
The saddest aspect of all this is that you cannot blame the WAC one bit.
A BCS berth for Boise State would be create a huge financial windfall for the entire conference. You could make the argument that the WAC would be negligent by not taking this extra step to put Boise State and its conference in the best possible position to make the BCS.
We see coaches at the big time schools politicking for all the time through the media. Coaches like Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll, and Mack Brown have the ability (you could even call it the bully pulpit) to do this.
A guy like Chris Petersen, however, does not have the same national forum because his school has nowhere near the status of a Florida, USC, or Texas, regardless of how good the Broncos may be. He can yell, scream, and hold press conferences until he’s blue in the field face and it won’t make a difference.
Engaging a professional PR firm at least levels the playing field a little bit.
Kudos to the WAC for showing its member schools that it is completely behind them and for doing what is in the best interest of the conference, but shame on college football for allowing its environment and landscape to get to this point.
A team’s public relations and postseason future should be determined on Saturdays, on the field. To the WAC’s credit, at least they understand the realities of the world in which they operate.
* – Chris Petersen photo credit: Darin Oswald via Idaho Statesman