APPARENTLY, THE WORD has just gotten to Athens, Ga., that television is a huge influence on college sports in general and college football specifically.

Although, gee, University of Georgia president Michael Adams was the last person in America to find this out.

You have to laugh when you hear Adams criticizing the BCS, because if you don't you have to cry. Not that there's anything inaccurate about his statement that, "The Bowl Championship Series has become a beauty contest largely stage-managed by the networks, which in turn protect the interests of their own partner conferences."

Well, duh!

This grand revelation came to Adams, who is the chairman of the NCAA executive committee, because his two-loss Bulldogs finished fourth in the final poll and didn't get a shot at the national championship.

If Georgia had gotten into the title game, would Adams would be lodging his complaint?

Gee, it certainly hasn't bothered him that the BCS essentially denies the members of the five non-BCS leagues (along with a few independents) any shot at the national championship before the season even begins. Gee, it certainly hasn't bothered him that the six BCS leagues hog most of the TV money and leave the others out in the cold.

Gee, it certainly hasn't bothered him that his league, the SEC, not only has deals with CBS and ESPN but has more bowl tie-ins — and, thus, more money — than any other league.

Where was Adams when undefeated Utah and Boise State teams were shut out of the national championship picture?

Do you suppose he's concerned about the inherent unfairness to every team in the Mountain West, WAC, Conference USA, MAC and Sunbelt? Or is this all because of his poor, unfortunate Bulldogs?

(By the way, Georgia didn't win the SEC, so its claim to a berth in the title game seems, um, a bit weak.)

All that said, we should be rooting for Adams to succeed. Of course TV has too much influence. Of course TV decides bowl berths.

Adams couldn't have been more right when he said, "I think there is a lack of equity in the current system. I'd rather have our championships decided on the field by the student athlete."

But, quite frankly, he's probably putting too much of the blame for the current unfair system on the networks. If there was a football playoff, the competition among networks to telecast the games would bring in far more money than they're paying for the bowls.

And Adams' plan for an eight-team playoff is certainly a step in the right direction.

But if that plan doesn't somehow include a way for the champions of all 11 Football Bowl Subdivision leagues to win their way into the playoff — not hope to be somehow voted in by pollsters — then Adams is just a self-serving crybaby.

E-mail: [email protected]