Another summer has come and is almost gone as the tidal wave of college and even high school football is starting to swallow the attention of those who are slaves to the sport.

At this moment, everyone is unbeaten — that will be taken care of the first week of the season — and while conference championships absorb much of the pre-season conversation, postseason hopes aren't but a phrase away.

There are 32 bowl games on the menu and even with a national championship game added to the financial gains of the BCS, there are some new hooks and crooks along the way.

The BCS has a new hitch or two also. The BCS administration will handle the financial dividends in the Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and BCS national title games.

The Rose Bowl, involving the Big 10 and Pac-10, will divide its monies similarly to its participants conference office but solely because those two self-impressed leagues feel the Pasadena event is their personal property.

There are those inimical voices chanting for a playoff and most of them aren't very knowledgeable. The BCS is in its 10th year and too many folks have forgotten how fouled up the old bowl system was before the advent of the BCS.

In earlier days of the old coalition, such icons among college football coaches like Bob Devaney and Paul “Bear” Bryant sort of spoke for the “good ole boys” of the most successful college teams and were overly influential in who played whom and where.

Whether they are aware of it or not, the pro-playoff voices have forgotten how important the 27 mid-major or minor bowl games are to the 54 participating teams.

Those 27 bowl games are the only way those 54 other teams have of scaling up the ladder to secure a spot in the BCS. Whether you like it or not, Oklahoma State is in the dead center of these 54 teams and only if it wins half of its games or more this year.

Last year, the NCAA ordered each of these mid-major and minor bowls to pay a minimum of $750,00 to each participating team. When somebody started talking about “price fixing” the NCAA — rightfully fearing legal action — abandoned that rule and left these bowl games to bid on the open market for the participating schools.

There’s still plenty of money at the top, though.

Take the four BCS games (exclude the Rose Bowl), the teams are guaranteed $6,000,000 and most of it goes to the school's conference office and is divided in a similar but not exactly the same way in every league office. That's more than a good start financially.

Then there's $85 million in television money for those four major games and the BCS divides these monies to each conference office of the participating teams. That's almost $110 million bucks plus what you can get in the 27 previously played bowl games.

Certainly the benevolence of Mr. Pickens to improve OSU's facilities will drastically increase the Cowboys’ chances to elevate their position on the ladder of involvement.

But, there's another school (Oregon) receiving huge financial help from a wealthy alum. Phil Knight, founder of Nike shoes, is putting almost as much money into the Oregon athletics program.

There are some people with legitimate concern among many member institutions that a single donor might have too much influence in athletic department decisions. A few are genuinely concerned but the overwhelming majority are just plain jealous.



On Barry Bonds

Now that Barry Bonds (Yawn!) has set the new home run standard for major league baseball, I rather unctuously ask ... do you think the San Francisco Giants (49-63) might concentrate on working their way out of the National League West cellar?

It's unusual that one player has excelled to the point the media has directed so much attention on that person that makes us wonder who the other two-dozen players on the Giants roster are.

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