A BASKET OF DEPLORA-BOWLS
Geoffrey Norman, a writer in Vermont, is a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard. -
We ate black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, the way you are supposed to in the South, where my wife and I were raised. We live in Vermont now, but we were told when we were kids to eat black-eyed peas for luck, and why take chances?
They go best, for me, with some football. College football, that would be, in a matchup of two great teams in one of those “traditional” bowl games. The Orange Bowl, perhaps, in Miami, or the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans; the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, say, or the most sanctified of all those games, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
This New Year’s Day, there were no bowl games. Blame it on the calendar. January 1 fell on a Sunday, and the Rose Bowl couldn’t be played on the Sabbath for reasons having to do with horses and some sort of late-19th-century ordinance. Hard to imagine California with blue laws, but there it is. So this year, the Rose Bowl (and the Cotton and Sugar, as well) was played on January 2. And to my taste, the games were not the same without the peas, just as the peas had not been the same without the games.
Sure, there was professional football to watch on New Year’s Day. But no regular-season NFL game could match the innocent exuberance of the legendary bowl games, still talked about by aficionados of the sport. Like Texas and Southern Cal in the 2006 Rose Bowl—a game that Texas won 41 to 38 with a last-minute touchdown. USC was playing for its third consecutive “national championship,” and it was the last game that Keith Jackson ever broadcast, which was of moment to all serious fans of college football.
And then there was the 1984 Orange Bowl, when Nebraska, behind 31-30, went for a 2-point conversion to win the “national championship” against Miami and came up short. Not to mention the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when Boise State—Boise State?—beat Oklahoma 43-42, in overtime. And on and on, back into the mists of football time and legend.
There were, sadly, no such games on New Year’s Day. No bowl games at all, whether nail biters or blowouts. And it felt like the only day since about, oh, Thanksgiving when where wasn’t a college bowl game of some sort being played in some forgettable location between two undistinguished teams.
There had been, for instance, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl back on December 17, in which the Roadrunners of the University of Texas at San Antonio played the University of New Mexico Lobos, who won the game 23-20. There followed, among others, the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl played in Nassau, the Dollar General Bowl played in Mobile, Alabama, and the Camping World Independence Bowl, played in Shreveport between North Carolina State and Vanderbilt, teams with identically mediocre records of 6-6. It was once rare for a team playing in a bowl to have lost more than a game or two. But when you have to field teams in 41 bowl games, you take what you can get including, even, a couple of teams with losing records.
The word “glut” seems somehow inadequate here.
Still, the games and—more important—the broadcasts go on. There is sponsorship money and there is television revenue, even when the stadiums are half empty. Probably because TV viewers know that at least some of the games will offer more surprises and twists than anything else they could find to watch. There are only so many Law & Order reruns you can watch, and, who knows, maybe you will luck into Appalachian State’s exciting victory over Toledo in the Camellia Bowl.
When college football is good, it is an emotional feast. You find yourself transported into a state of some kind of emotional bliss even as the rational side of your brain may scoff. After all, there are the cheerleaders, the bands, the screaming fans, the mascots. (And, by the way, did you see the Florida State horse, Renegade, take a fall before kickoff in the Orange Bowl? Fortunately, both horse and rider were okay, and the warrior’s spear was planted on the 50-yard line according to ritual.) It all seems so gloriously pointless, but still, when you hear the first notes of your school’s fight song and see the players come through the tunnel in their colors, the atavistic synapses fire, the old tribal instincts surge, and for a couple of hours, you are transported.
With so many bowl games, there were bound to be stinkers and yawners. But there were also some gems, even with teams that had been only marginally successful during the regular season. Stanford, for instance, edged (as they say) North Carolina in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, 25-23. Interestingly, Stanford’s star running back Christian McCaffrey did not play. He chose not to risk an injury that might have damaged his standing in the upcoming NFL draft. So the game, like all of them, depended to a very large degree on players who are not in it for the money. Not the big money, anyway.
Another notable star who chose not to play in his team’s bowl game was Leonard Fournette of LSU, who had been, like McCaffrey, a Heisman Trophy candidate. Fournette’s teammates got along fine without him in the Citrus Bowl and beat Louisville and its quarterback, Lamar Jackson, who did, in fact, win the Heisman.
If the bowl games proved nothing else, they did establish that football is a team sport.
Those games were all a prelude to the big New Year’s Eve showdowns, the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl, which serve as semifinals in the ad-hoc playoff system to determine the national champion. The winners will meet on January 9 and play for the right to say “We’re number one.”
This is a matter of inestimable importance to many fans. It has also been a matter of enormous controversy over the years. The best college football could do was to rely on newspaper polls, which led to a lot of arguments. Who made the hacks at the AP kings or gods? Eventually the computer was brought in to ameliorate the “human element,” which, however, was still present. This arrangement was known as the Bowl Championship Series (1998-2013), and may have caused even more arguments, until it was superseded two years ago by the College Football Playoff—essentially, a selection committee (membership includes Condoleezza Rice) with a duty to:
This season, the committee determined that the four playoff teams would be Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington. There were arguments. Of course there were. Why did Ohio State, for instance, get chosen over Penn State, which had won when the two played each other and also finished first in their conference, the Big Ten? Well, Penn State had lost two games, and Ohio State only the one. This was typical of the arguments that fans have pressed with trial-lawyer intensity.
Well, anyway, the finalists were set and no argument would change that. Alabama and Washington would play in Atlanta in the Peach Bowl and for the longtime fan and student of the college game, there was a strong element of nostalgia in this matchup. Those schools had played each other in the 1926 Rose Bowl, in a game that was the genesis of the Alabama football tradition.
The Rose Bowl was already an institution by then, and its sponsors would invite two teams to play—one from the west coast, the other from the east. The winner could claim to be the best in the land. At the end of the 1926 regular season, the committee asked Dartmouth to come out and play Washington. The invitation was declined. Feelers went out to Princeton and others, but they were politely turned down. Alabama was, finally, invited as, literally, a poor substitute. In those days, the South was still institutionally poor, backward, and barefoot.
But the Alabama team had gone undefeated, and it welcomed the chance to prove it could play anyone. The fans believed in their team with a fervor that went beyond just football. This was about pride and it touched, inevitably, on the Lost Cause. The team traveled four days and 2,000 miles, by train, getting off to run wind sprints at stops along the way, arriving finally in Pasadena not merely as underdogs but also as the country hicks. They won. The final score was 20-19, and that single point marked the advent of Alabama football.
The team that was the underdog in 1926 is today the despised top dog in college football. So they went to Atlanta—a three-hour drive instead of a four-day train ride—played Washington in the Peach Bowl and won easily. For all the committee’s work and the media buildup, it wasn’t much of a game. The final was 24-7, and it was less exciting than that to watch.
But there was still the Fiesta Bowl left and hope that Clemson and Ohio State might put on a show. They had been named semifinalists, after all, by that committee. Clemson blew Ohio State out of the stadium, 31-0. The system had, so far, failed. And the next day, there would be only those black-eyed peas to look forward to.
But still, on January 2, there would be three more games, including the Rose Bowl. This seemed oddly anticlimactic, following the tournament semi-finals with a lineup of what, to many fans, were nothing more than exhibition games. But if you love college football, you will always watch the Rose Bowl which, as the announcers regularly remind us, is the “grandaddy of them all.” The game this year would be between Penn State and Southern Cal: two teams that had wandered in the wilderness of scandal and were on the path to redemption, playing in college football’s most hallowed game. (USC’s first Rose Bowl victory, in 1923, had been against Penn State.) So even without the black-eyed peas, I settled in to watch. Maybe this game would redeem a month of too much inferior football.
And it was a classic. Penn State fell behind early by two touchdowns, and if this had been the NFL, you might have been looking for another game on another channel. But Penn State rallied and was behind by only 27-21 at the half before breaking loose for 28 points in the third quarter. Then, USC—down 49-35—mounted its comeback, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal to win. Final score, 52-49. It was one of those games that leave the fan feeling depleted and spent.
There had been no national championship at stake. Or anything else, really. But that wasn’t the point. And you might say that there really wasn’t any point. They played to win and they played all-out. For the fan, that is what counts, and the bowl games still come through, just often enough. A columnist for the New York Daily News wrote that it was “a truly incredible Rose Bowl from start to finish. For a totally meaningless game, that is.”
The man doesn’t get it and should look for other work.
As of this writing, it now remains only for Alabama and Clemson to settle things in Tampa on January 9. These same teams played last year for the national championship and Alabama won a thriller. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m.
Too late, sadly, for black-eyed peas.
GRAPEVINE -- So much for the 13th data point.
Rick Gosselin - Dallas morning News - 12 5 2016
So much for "every game matters."
So much for any form of bogus selection criteria offered up by the College Football Playoff.
There are five power conferences. Three will send their champions into the playoff -- Alabama of the SEC, Clemson of the ACC and Washington of the Pac 12. Two were left out, Oklahoma of the Big 12 and Penn State of the Big Ten.
The Oklahoma omission was expected. The Sooners finished 10-2. All four of the teams invited to the playoff suffered one loss or less. So there are no arguments here nor, I doubt, in Norman.
But the snub of Penn State smacks of politics. The Big Ten will instead be represented in the playoff by Ohio State. Maybe it's time to drain this swamp.
On the College Football Playoff website, under the heading "How to select the four best teams," it reads "the following criteria must be considered" - listed in this order:
-- Championships won;
-- Strength of schedule;
-- Head-to-head competition;
-- Comparative outcomes of common opponents.
Penn State won the Big Ten championship. Ohio State did not. Penn State played in the conference title game -- that elusive 13th data point -- and won. Oho State did not. The Buckeyes didn't place anything in jeopardy last weekend, sitting back and watching on television as all power five conferences crowned their champions.
Penn State also defeated Ohio State in their head-to-head confrontation, 24-21. So much for "every game matters." That victory clearly meant nothing to the committee in bypassing the Big Ten champion -- and both East (Penn State) and West (Wisconsin) Division champs -- in favor of the Buckeyes.
Penn State finished 11-2 and wound up the highest ranked two-loss team by the committee at No. 5. The Nittany Lions fell to Pitt, which also beat Clemson this season, and to Michigan, which the committee ranked No. 6. Both Penn State losses came on the road.
"Momentum" is not listed in the committee's selection criteria but, outside of Alabama, Penn State was the nation's hottest team heading into December. Ohio State's only loss came in October. Clemson and Washington suffered their lone losses in November. Michigan lost two of its final three games on its way to a 10-2 finish. But Penn State hasn't lost since September -- and the Nittany Lions stormed back from that setback at Michigan to close their regular season with nine consecutive victories.
But how a team is playing in December clearly does not matter to this committee.
I'm still scratching my head over the TCU snub in 2014. The Horned Frogs were ranked No. 3 by the committee through Week 15, then won their regular-season finale over Iowa State 55-3 but slid all the way to No. 6 in the rankings the following week. The Big 12 did not play a conference championship game, so the 11-1 Frogs could not benefit from a 13th data point, and remained at No. 6 and out of the playoff in the committee's final rankings after 17 weeks.
The Big 12 will play a conference championship game, starting in 2017. And that decision was applauded by College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock last summer.
"The Big 12 will benefit from its champion having played another game against a quality opponent," said Hancock at the Big 12 media day. "That's what the Big 12 has been missing. That's one other game against a good team and now they will have that with the championship game."
Tell the importance of a championship game -- and playing that extra game against a quality opponent -- to Penn State.
Do I have a problem with the four teams the committee selected? Not at all. I do believe the four best teams will now be competing for a championship. And the committee certainly exited the selection room patting itself on the back.
"Our protocol is to identify the four very best teams in college football," committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said. "Our charge is to select the four best teams."
The problem I have with those four selections is the process itself. The criteria tells us that conference championships matter. And that's the primary goal of every school, every August -- be it Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, TCU or Colorado -- win your conference title. That's your ticket to January. You do that and you earn your way into the playoff.
Penn State succeeded in that quest. Ohio State did not. Yet the Buckeyes get to compete for a national championship and the Nittany Lions do not.
If conference championships don't matter, why have conferences?
Here's a thought. Forget about posting any criteria on your web site. Don't tell us conference championships matter. Don't tell us conference championship games matter. Don't tell us that head-to-head matchups matter. Don't provide the schools a road map that leads to no where. Then you don't have to try to explain the inexplicable.
Forget about having the committee meet every weekend in the fall and issuing a weekly ranking of the teams. Just get together that first weekend of December and pick the four teams you want in the playoff. With no official criteria, that should be easy.
Chuck Carlton Dallas Morning News 2 /19/16
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt may get an added benefit for being chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee -- an extra year.
Hocutt was named to the committee before the 2015 season to fill the three-year term of former West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who accepted a post with the NCAA. The term was scheduled to end in 2016. But Hocutt was named the chairman last month, replacing Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long. And that changed things.
"The policy is that a committee member's term may be extended one year if the member would serve as chair in what otherwise would be his/her final year," CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in an email Thursday. "This policy gives us the flexibility to extend the chairman's term. We will discuss later whether Kirby's term might be extended."
Committee reveals why it put Ohio State ahead of TCU, BaylorStaff and Wire Reports -07 December 2014
GRAPEVINE, Texas — Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State have been selected to play in the first College Football Playoff.
Alabama is the top seed and will play Ohio State in one semifinal at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Oregon is the second seed and will play Florida State in the other semifinal at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Both games will be played New Year's Day.
The winners will advance to the national championship game to be played Jan. 12 at the home of the DallasCowboys in Arlington, Texas.
The Big 12 co-champs, Baylor and TCU, finished fifth and sixth.
Jeff Long, committee chairman, said the body of work of Ohio State pushed it ahead of TCU and Baylor.
Long pretty much dismissed the crummy Ohio State home loss to 6-6 Virginia Tech, saying the Buckeyes overcame it.
He also said head-to-head was the deciding factor between Baylor and TCU. The Bears beat the Frogs, 61-58, earlier this season. Ohio State was decisive at No. 4 and 1-2-3 were clear-cut.
Long said Big Ten title game gave Ohio State a 13th game against quality opponent. Think there's a message there to the Big 12, which didn't have a title game.
"With the championship game, Ohio St demonstrated they were a total team. ...It was decisive for Ohio State to move" into No. 4," he said.
A 12-member selection committee set the field, revealing its selections Sunday morning.
The College Football Playoff is replacing the Bowl Championship Series this season. The BCS matched the top two teams in the country in a national championship game.
The playoff contenders did not make it easy on the committee chairman Jeff Long and his colleagues on the panel by all winning on Saturday.
The committee has been ranking the top 25 weekly since late October's rankings and last week had Alabama and Oregon at the top, followed by TCU and Florida State.
The committee ranks teams differently than traditional college football polls, such as the AP Top 25. Instead of collecting a ballot from each member and tallying votes, the committee ranks small groups by a series of votes. And Long, the athletic director at Arkansas, has said that each week the panel starts with a blank slate.
The great debate for weeks was whether TCU or Baylor would make it into the final four. The Bears beat their Big 12 rivals 61-58 in Waco back in October, but from the start the committee ranked TCU ahead of the Bears, who lost at West Virginia by 14 and played a particularly weak nonconference schedule.
For weeks, Long said that the difference between the Bears and Horned Frogs was not close enough for it to come down to the head-to-head result. But when the season concluded the teams had played 10 common opponents. The Big 12 further muddled the issue by not designating a champion by a tiebreaker. The Bears and Frogs both got a trophy and are called co-champions.
Ohio State has come from the farthest during the season, overcoming an early loss to Virginia Tech to make a strong run. The Buckeyes final statement was a doozy: 59-0 against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game Saturday.
Florida State's unbeaten record hasn't gotten the respect the Seminoles believe it deserves from the committee. The defending national champions are the only undefeated team in FBS. But numerous close calls and comebacks have led the committee to drop the Seminoles in the rankings.
Ultimately, though, the 'Noles will get to defend their championship in the first playoff.
More quotes and reaction to come ...
HOW THE COMMITTEE WORKS
The College Football Playoff is replacing the Bowl Championship Series this season. The BCS matched the top two teams in the country in a national championship game.
Some frequently asked questions about the committee, the rankings and playoff:
Q: How does the committee rank the teams? Is it like the AP Top 25?
A: No, the process is nothing like the AP college football poll, where voters submit ballots and the teams are ranked using a points system. The committee will create small groups of teams, debate their merits and rank the teams using as many votes as needed to come up with a consensus. The committee has been ranking teams weekly since late October.
Q: Why top 25? The playoff only has four teams.
A: The committee will also create the matchups and pick some of the teams to play in the four other bowl games involved in the playoff rotation. Those games are the Cotton Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl. Those teams will be chosen using the highest ranked teams after the playoff matchups have been set and considering the contracts certain conferences have with certain bowls. Also, the committee is responsible for choosing the best team from the so-called Group of Five conferences — the American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference — which is guaranteed a spot in one of the New Year's bowls, no matter how far down the rankings.
Q: Who is on this committee?
A: The panel is made up of twelve members: Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, committee chairman; Southern California athletic director Pat Haden; Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich; Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez; West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck; former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne; former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington coach Tyrone Willingham; former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese; former NCAA vice president Tom Jernstedt; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former USA Today sports writer Steve Wieberg and former Air Force superintendent and retired Lieutenant General Mike Gould. Former Mississippi quarterback Archie Manning was part of the committee, but recently had to step down because of some health issues. He will not be replaced.
Projected haul for college football title game at AT&T Stadium- $300 millionJuly, 2014. (RAY LESZCYNSKI /The Dallas Morning News)
More than 60,000 out-of-state fans and over $300 million in spending are expected when the area hosts the first college football championship game under a new format.
The Texas comptroller’s office this month gave a glimpse of the impact it projects from the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision National Championship Game when it approved a major-events trust fund for the Jan. 12 event at AT&T Stadium.
The trust fund is anticipated revenue set aside to help pay event expenses. It relies on estimates of the amount of sales, car rental, hotel and alcohol taxes to be generated by an event.
The $10.7 million earmarked for the game in Arlington will be the eighth-largest in the 10-year history of the trust funds. That’s roughly equal to the Final Four basketball tournament played at AT&T Stadium earlier this year. The state’s unique funding mechanism gives it an advantage when competing for the events.
“We’ve seen the benefits and the impact this fund has had on hosting the Super Bowl and Final Four,” said Rick Baker, president of the Stadium Events Organizing Committee.
In a letter to the city of Arlington, Deputy Comptroller Martin Hubert estimated that the state’s incremental increase in tax revenue from the event will be $9.25 million. Local matches of $315,000 from Arlington and $1.16 million from Dallas make up the remainder of the fund.
According to the letter, the figures were based on having 61,160 nonresidents attending activities in the area.
A report prepared in April for the Stadium Events Organizing Committee said game attendance would include 91,781 ticketed and 12,500 credentialed visitors. An additional 18,000, it said, would be in town for game-related activities but not attend the game.
The report projected $308.6 million in total spending and $16.1 million in tax revenue, including $2.2 million for Arlington and Dallas. Among the variables used to calculate the numbers are ticket prices (estimated at $200-$800) and a 10 percent possibility that a Texas team will be in the game, driving down the out-of-state attendance.
Major college football switched to a four-team playoff system for the 2014-15 season. The NCAA also initiated a bidding selection process for the championship game similar to what is used for the Super Bowl and Final Four.
In securing the bid, the local organizers promised to promote a four-day series of events, concluding with the Monday night game. A fan festival will probably be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. A three-day concert series, VIP events and pregame tailgate event also are planned.
“This level of support combined with AT&T Stadium is what separated us from our competition,” Baker said about the trust fund. “And guarantees that we can operate the national championship and series of events leading up to the game at a level that will set the bar for all future national championships.”
Staff writer Jeff Mosier contributed to this report.
IN THE KNOW: Trust fund payouts
Here are the biggest approved payouts from the Texas events trust fund system for events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area:
Super Bowl XLV (2011), Arlington, $31,154,062
NBA All-Star Game (2010), Arlington, $15,437,420
NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament (2014), Arlington, $10,769,786
NCAA Division I FBS football national championship (2015), Arlington, $10,729,323
National Cutting Horse Association Futurity (2012), Fort Worth, $2,505,739
MegaFest (2012), Dallas, $2,274,321
MegaFest (2013), Dallas, $2,088,691
NCAA Men’s South Regional basketball tournament (2013), Arlington, $1,921,020
National Cutting Horse Association Futurity (2011), Fort Worth, $1,643,744
Samsung Mobil 500 NASCAR race weekend (2012), Fort Worth, $1,558,288
Cowboys ( AT&T ) Stadium will host first championship college football game
JIMMY BURCH - Fort Worth Star-Telegram - April 24, 2013
Arlington moved to the forefront of college football's playoff era Wednesday with a double dose of positive news that will bring high-profile games to Cowboys Stadium for the foreseeable future.
The first national championship game of the playoff era will be held at Cowboys Stadium on Jan. 12, 2015, based on Wednesday's vote by college administrators in Pasadena, Calif. In addition, the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic -- played annually at the stadium -- received approval as one of six bowls in the rotation of semifinal playoff games under the College Football Playoff system that will begin at the conclusion of the 2014 regular season.
Cowboys Stadium won the right to host the inaugural championship game of the playoff era when administrators selected the bid from the Arlington contingent over a bid from officials pitching to host the game at another NFL venue, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
It marked another milestone for the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium, which opened in 2009. The venue has also hosted a Super Bowl and an NBA All-Star Game and will be the site of the 2014 Final Four. ....
During a radio interview Wednesday in College Station, former Texas A&M coach Jackie Sherrill predicted that college football's playoffs "will generate more interest than the NFL."
That remains to be seen, but one Cowboys official cited Wednesday's announcement as "a game changer" that will make the stadium a magnet for additional high-profile national events.
..... predicted that the 2015 title game, as the first of the playoff era, will be the most-watched in the history of college football. .....
Cotton Bowl a major favorite to have big role in college football playoff world -
Source: Cowboys Stadium should be part of new playoff rotation
CHUCK CARLTON - Dallas Morning News - 29 March 2013
More and more it appears that the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic and Cowboys Stadium will be playing major roles in the new college football playoff world.
Sources confirmed Thursday that the Cotton is one of four bowls bidding for three spots in the new playoff rotation, which begins after the 2014 season. The Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls are already guaranteed spots in the playoff structure because of existing contracts with power conferences.
The Cotton, along with the Fiesta, Chick-fil-A and Holiday bowls, are seeking the remaining three spots. One source indicated it would be a major surprise if the Cotton, Fiesta and Chick-fil-A were not selected next month, perhaps one reason why bowls ranging from the Alamo to the Capital One decided not to bid. The Fiesta is currently part of the current BCS rotation. The Cotton and Chick-fil-A offer established bowl organizations in major cities with large airports and NFL stadiums.
The news comes the same week that it was revealed Cowboys Stadium and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla,, are the only two facilities seeking to host the first playoff national title game in January 2015. Cowboys Stadium is considered the favorite.
The decisions on the semifinal bowls and national title game location will be announced April 23-25 when the BCS conference commissioners meet in Pasadena, Calif.
College Football Approves Four-Team Playoff to Replace BCS
By Erik Matuszewski - BusinessWeek - June 27, 2012
College football’s top division will implement a playoff system in two seasons to replace the Bowl Championship Series format.
A four-team, three-game playoff that incorporates the major bowls and may be worth $500 million annually in television revenue was approved yesterday in Washington by the 12-member BCS Presidential Oversight Committee. The proposal was put forward by the commissioners of the 11 conferences at the sport’s top level -- the Football Bowl Subdivision -- and University of Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick.
The playoff, which has been in demand for years by many fans, some lawmakers and even President Barack Obama, will start with the 2014-15 season. College football’s national champion since 1998 has been crowned by the BCS, which uses a formula that incorporates rankings and computer polls to decide the two schools that play for the title.
“What we’ve done is preserved the regular season and enhanced it with this four-team playoff,” said Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, whose league has produced the past six national champions.
Under the playoff format, which was approved under a 12- year deal, the two national semifinal games would rotate among six major bowls, a group that probably includes the four current BCS games: the Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls. The games would be played on New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve.
The national championship game would be played on a Monday night, at least six days after the semifinals, and the neutral site would be up for bid the same way the National Football League rotates its Super Bowl among bidding cities.
A selection committee will determine the playoff participants, with weight placed on record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results and whether a team is a conference champion.
The composition of the selection committee, the name of the new system and how revenue from the playoffs will be distributed hasn’t been disclosed.
Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford called the new format a milestone for the sport.
“It gives four teams rather than two the opportunity to play for a national championship and I think it’s good for college football,” Swofford said at the news conference. “Where we arrived is a consensus built on compromise.”
The BCS has been a source of controversy over the years and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the more the system was tweaked, the less confidence it inspired.
“We understood it was under a lot of criticism,” Delany told reporters. “So as we moved forward to identify a new model, we had a couple of really important issues: We wanted this to continue to support the regular season and we wanted it to be inside the bowl system. We also think the method for selecting teams is more rational, has fewer conflicts and will be more transparent.”
Negotiations on the next BCS television contract are set to begin later this year. The current deal, under which Walt Disney Co. (DIS) ESPN and ABC pay $155 million annually for the title game and rights to the four BCS bowls, expires after the 2013-14 season.
The next contract may have a price tag that ranges from $400 million to $500 million annually, said Bob Boland of New York University’s Tisch School of Sports Management.
“Because we keep hearing that number repeatedly, that’s probably what’s being asked for,” Boland said in a telephone interview. “This could be exclusive television viewing.”
Last season’s BCS title game, a rematch between SEC rivals Louisiana State and the University of Alabama, drew the lowest television ratings of the BCS era.
Former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson said the networks have been asking for a playoff for a long time and said he expects there will be significant competition for the rights, though he doubts the rights fee will reach a half-billion dollars a year.
“What you have here is an important television property and sponsorships would probably drive the total values up rather than down, but if you’re talking about a rights fee of $500 million per year, I don’t think that’s the right number,” Pilson said in a telephone interview.
The new playoff system will probably also be lucrative for sports books in Las Vegas.
“Any time you have a championship game, I don’t care if it’s a Super Bowl, the NCAA final or a college football BCS championship game, we’ve had terrific action on those games,” Johnny Avello, director of race and sports operations at the Wynn Las Vegas, said in a telephone interview. “Now we’re increasing that to three. I think those two playoff games are going to be huge.”
College football’s top level, formerly Division I-A, has been searching for a way to help crown its national champion for the past two decades. The Bowl Coalition was formed in 1992 as the SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Big 8, Southwest Conference and Notre Dame joined with six bowl games.
The system faced controversy because the Big Ten and Pacific 10 weren’t included, both conference having contractual ties to the Rose Bowl. The Bowl Coalition was changed to the Bowl Alliance in 1995, when it was restructured to three games, yet the Big Ten and Pac-10 still weren’t a part of the system.
The BCS was formed in 1998 and incorporated the Rose Bowl into the rotation of games and as part of the system that matched the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a bowl to determine the national champion. The BCS used a formula of rankings and polls for its standings to decide the two highest-ranked teams.
While the Bowl Championship Series went through its own changes over the years, it still faced controversy. Voters in the Associated Press poll declined to be involved in the BCS formula in 2006, when the Harris Poll was included.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in 2009 asked Obama for a probe of the BCS, saying the postseason selections process violated antitrust law. Obama had said at the time he favored a playoff series, as undefeated teams such as the University of Utah, Boise State University and Texas Christian University recently weren’t able to qualify to play for the BCS title.
Even with the changes, deserving schools may still miss a chance to play for the championship.
Delany said there are bound to be those who still want college football’s top level to adopt a playoff that involves eight or 16 teams. The Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA, has a 20-team playoff, while there are 24 schools in the Division II postseason and 32 in the Division III championship.
“There will always be people who want more, but sometimes less is more,” Delany said. “We thought two worked for a while. I’m sure this is going to work for at least 12 years.”
Here's all you need to know about the playoff discussions at this week's BCS meeting
By Pat Forde,| Yahoo Sports – April 24 2012
After a century-plus of pushing, the immovable object has been nudged out of its entrenched position. Now it's time to get that sucker rolling.
That's the mindset as college football power brokers descend on south Florida this week for the annual BCS meetings. The beginning of a sea change in the game's postseason is at hand.
Nick Saban and Alabama may find their next national title a little tougher to win. (AP)The monolithic impediment to a playoff – the bowl system and all its apologists and cronies – finally has given ground in recent months. When Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany voiced his own playoff plan in February, it was like a Baptist minister drinking a shot of bourbon and declaring it good. When Delany saw the light, that was the signal that major change was inevitable.
These meetings will begin the process of turning change into something tangible. It won't be easy. Here is a brief primer on what will – and will not – happen in Florida this week.
Who is invited: The commissioners of all 11 FBS conferences, plus one athletic director from each league. Among the ADs expected in attendance: Jeremy Foley of Florida, Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin, Joe Castiglione of Oklahoma, Dan Radakovich of Georgia Tech, Pat Haden of USC, Tom Jurich of Louisville and Jack Swarbrick of independent Notre Dame. The bowls also will be represented, as will ESPN, which has the BCS TV contract. BCS executive director Bill Hancock is scheduled to address the media Wednesday and Thursday with updates on the talks.
Lots of power will be concentrated in the conference rooms. Lots of egos. And lots of competing agendas.
"It won't just be interesting," said one of the attendees, who asked not to be named. "It will be fascinating."
Who will be the most fascinating characters: SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Delany, as usual. When the commissioners get together, the rivalry between the two guys with the most clout comes out. Slive has been championing a playoff (or plus-one) since 2008, while Delany has successfully led the resistance on behalf of the BCS status quo. Now that dynamic is changing ... but how much?
What will be discussed: A playoff, and how it will be implemented. A BCS memo acquired by USA Today says there are four primary alternatives for a four-team playoff:
1. Semifinals and final that are hosted by traditional bowls.
2. Semifinals and final that are played at neutral sites, independent of the bowls.
3. Semifinals at bowls, with a championship game that is bid out to a host city.
4. On-campus semifinals hosted by the top two seeds, with the final at a bowl site.
There are other plans that have been broached, including one floated by the Pac-12 and Big Ten that potentially would force the Rose Bowl into the semifinal mix as a sort of third semi. It's complicated, cumbersome and not completely embraced even by those that brought it up in the first place. And it has little chance.
"No friggin' way," was the characterization of that plan by one person who will be involved in the meetings.
What format looks like the leader: With most principals hugging their cards to their chests, it's hard to flag one plan as the favorite. But while a four-team playoff seems inevitable, so does a spirited bid by the Pac-12 and Big Ten to keep the Rose Bowl in a preferred position.
"We're not interested in any system that's going to diminish the equity of the Rose Bowl and our frequency of playing in it," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. "That's the only way the Pac-12 and Big Ten are interested in participating."
The Big Ten might hold the line on that but lose on Delany's proposal for semifinals played at home sites. Delany championed that format largely to reverse the geographic reality of his schools traveling to play semi-road games in warm-weather sites against warm-weather schools. But the Chicago Tribune reported this week that Delany's plan is "on life support" because of logistical problems caused by potential host schools with small stadiums (limited seating capacity) in small towns (limited hotel rooms).
What other logistical hurdles are facing the new formats: Fan travel.
Asking a fan base to pack a huge stadium in, say, Arizona one week for a semifinal and then Florida the next for a championship game would be asking too much, several administrators say. Especially if those fans already have gone to a conference championship game at a neutral site.
"People are kidding themselves if they think fans are going to follow their teams to both games," one prominent athletic director said. "You'll get some, but you're not going to get 30,000 all traveling twice after New Year's Day."
What will be the big revelation from the meetings: Most participants say very little, if any.
"Don't expect much in the way of news," Hancock said. "The next big step is for conferences to review the formats during their meetings in May and June."
Until then, there are a lot of elusive agreements to be sought.
"Many, many details remain to be discussed," Hancock said. "This will be another round of talking about the details. I think people don't realize the intricacy of something like this."
And that could be a problem. Even if everyone agrees that change is needed, there must be an agreement on what kind of change will occur.
"My fear," one college insider said, "is that the fighting over the details leads to something nobody wants."
Outside of wealthy older men in suits, what other voices will be heard at the meetings: Those of the players, believe it or not.
Some college administrators believe the Pac-12's Scott is a bit of a grandstander, but the man did actually go to the grass roots to inform his opinion heading into these meetings. He actually talked to athletes and said he will bring their perspective to the bargaining table this week.
"I wanted to reach out to the actors in the play, so to speak," Scott said.
Scott said he has spoken with departing Stanford stars Andrew Luck, David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin, USC star quarterback Matt Barkley, several players at Utah and others about their feelings on the postseason. The consensus?
"They'd like to see it earned more on the field," Scott said. "They love bowl games, and some of the guys cherish the Rose Bowl. The Stanford guys didn't get to play in it in four years, and they were recruited in part on the aspiration of playing in the Rose Bowl. But they said they'd like to play an extra game if it settled [the national title] on the field."
Jim More inherited a UCLA program that was 6-7 when it earned a bowl berth. (Getty Images)Can anything be done about bowl creep: Hopefully so. The postseason has bled well past the traditional New Year's Day celebration, last season extending to a Jan. 9 BCS Championship Game. The hunger for television exclusivity has had negative side-effects, especially on fans and players.
Attendance for last season's Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3 was disappointing, despite the presence of notably devoted fan bases from Michigan and Virginia Tech. But part of the problem was that with the game scheduled past the Christmas holiday season, fans couldn't escape from work or school as easily. Most bosses and teachers are ready to go after the holidays and don't look kindly on hastily scheduled vacation days after an extended period of light workloads.
Then there was the problem Scott said Stanford ran into with the Fiesta Bowl, which was played Jan. 2. Because of bowl preparation, the Cardinal players did not have a Christmas break to speak of, so many of them wanted to take time after the game to go home and relax for a while (especially since so many Stanford players are not locals to the Bay Area). But school resumed Jan. 9, which meant that players either had to curtail their break or start the next quarter by missing the first few days of class. Neither is a good choice.
What about the move to outlaw 6-6 teams from bowl games: That will definitely spur some discussion and debate. In that scenario, several bowls likely would be put out of business.
On one level – the Vanderbilt/Washington State/Syracuse/Duke/Indiana/Iowa State level – getting to 6-6 and going to a bowl is an accomplishment. Commissioners are cognizant of that and don't want to keep their lower-echelon programs from hitting a high point on occasion.
That's also a concern for conferences such as the Mid-American and Sun Belt, which need some 6-6 teams from larger leagues to offer up opponents for their teams in bowls such as the Motor City and New Orleans. If the number of bowls decreases, the loss of bids will directly affect some of the better teams in those lower-tier leagues.
But on a macro level, most people agree that 35 bowls is too many and 6-6 teams are too lousy to justify the expense and effort of going to play on a Tuesday night in December for ESPN's programming pleasure.
"We've reduced the value of bowls by having so many of them. "You don't want them to be meaningless wallpaper," Scott said.
"It has put so much strain on the entire system," one athletic director said. "Teams, conferences, sponsors all feel it. Typically these bowls have been hanging by a thread, and somebody's having to bear the cost of keeping them going."
When is the earliest date we can reach playoff paydirt: After these meetings, the commissioners will take their findings to their conference constituents at their spring meetings in May and June. Then they'll presumably develop a consensus on what the league wants and report back to the BCS and TV folks during the summer.
If change is going to happen, look for major announcements sometime in July – probably timed to coincide with, or slightly predate, conference media days.
Then sit back and enjoy two more years of the BCS as we know it because the contracts don't expire until then. So while we might come to an historic agreement on the shape of the college football postseason this summer, it won't become reality until 2014.
12 coaches ready to further dissect BCS, football postseason
By CHUCK CARLTON - The Dallas Morning News - 23 April 2012
Individually, the Big 12’s football coaches conducted an informal examination Monday of the BCS that might preview discussions later this week.
The 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick will meet in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., starting Tuesday to debate college football’s postseason. After the previous two meetings at D/FW International Airport, some kind of four-team playoff seems the most likely option to emerge under the heading of a “plus-one.” Four proposals, including a tweak of the current system, were outlined in a memo obtained by USA Today.
Expect more discussion ahead of individual conference meetings scheduled for next month. A final resolution won’t emerge until at least later this summer, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said.
“I have no BCS answers. It would be silly for me to be talking about the BCS,” said Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, one of the key power brokers in a room full of them.
Conferences from the SEC to the Big Ten have different visions — including coaches in the Big 12, whose athletic directors have already endorsed a plus-one after Oklahoma State’s near-miss in the BCS.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops came out against a playoff on Monday’s Big 12 conference call — but not the plus-one.
“I’m not for a playoff because it would ruin the bowl system and I don’t believe that would be good for student-athletes, college athletes, players,” Stoops said.
“I’d like to see the plus-one. If they do so, I would like to see the four teams that qualify participate in two of the BCS bowls, then the plus-one after. That way you would have a weeklong experience.”
In addition, Stoops isn’t a fan of the idea floated by the Big Ten for on-campus semifinals, even though BCS history indicates Oklahoma would benefit from such a plan.
Stoops’ Red River Rival, Mack Brown of Texas, has long been a playoff advocate. He isn’t quite sure what he wants, except it’s not the current system.
“I hope it’s something different than we’ve got now,” Brown said. “And I’m not really sure what I think would be best. But I don’t like our current system.”
Specifically, Brown didn’t like the January rematch that unfolded in New Orleans between Alabama and LSU. He would like to see strength-of-schedule become more of a determining factor.
Kansas State’s Bill Snyder echoed Stoops about protecting the bowls, which could be a thorny issue in the room this week. One of the proposals that was leaked earlier this month suggested essentially three semifinals, including the Rose Bowl (yes, you read that right) if the Big Ten or Pac-12 champ is somewhere among the top four teams.
Even the diplomatic Slive, who futilely lobbied for a plus-one four years ago, has acknowledged that the proposal was “not one of my favorites.”
The sanctity of the Rose Bowl has long given way to expediency. Since Jan. 1, 2003, Oklahoma, Texas and TCU have all played in Pasadena without the stadium collapsing on itself.
TCU coach Gary Patterson remembers his players turning down time off to focus on winning the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.
Patterson’s only regret in a plus-one would be not ending with a win.
“If we’re going to do anything next,” Patterson said, “I think the plus-one is going to be what we’re going to end up doing.”
Bowls' extravagant revenues are closely examined as the NCAA mulls a playoff system
By Dan Wetzel – Yahoo Sports, April 24, 2012
Officially the document carries the label "2012 BCS Complimentary Tickets," but for LSU it looks more like the StubHub order from hell, nothing complimentary about it.
Two tickets for the school president to the BCS title game? That's $700. Four for the chancellor? That's $1,400. Les Miles' family? Three-fifty a pop. On and on it goes.
To play the BCS halftime show, the LSU band had to fork over $182,830 for tickets. (AP)One of the dirty secrets of many bowl games is that almost nothing is cheap. The industry, in this case represented by Sugar Bowl Inc., long ago learned how to squeeze every last penny out of college football. That includes charging even the stars of the show exorbitant prices for tickets.
How about a couple of free ones for the players to give to their parents or girlfriends or high school coaches? Please. The Sugar Bowl instead charged LSU $350 a seat, full price, for every last player request. Total cost: $254,800 on the players alone.
Oh, and the Tiger Marching Band, the one that is contractually obligated to attend bowl week and provide halftime entertainment? With bowls, not even the band gets in free. LSU had to buy tickets for every clarinetist, flutist, tuba player and majorette. Some of the seats, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, just held the tuba.
That added up to 529 tickets, almost all full price. The bill for the student band to sit was $182,830.
That's $182,830 to get into a venue and give a free show to all the other paying customers.
All in all, the "2012 BCS Complimentary Tickets" document obtained by Yahoo! Sports detailed most of what would wind up being a $526,924 bill LSU owed the Sugar Bowl just for tickets.
It isn't uncommon. Almost every bowl charges schools for everything it can dream up. That's how the industry works: cutthroat capitalism that has made these games and the people that run them rich.
Yet, now athletic directors and conference commissioners say the extreme profiteering is one of the reasons bowl games could be pushed aside as college football's power brokers meet this week in Florida to discuss the future of the postseason.
"Everything has changed in the last couple of years," said an athletic director at a BCS school. "The business practices of the bowl games are of great discussion. … When is enough, enough?
"There's a feeling that it's time to do it ourselves."
After 143 years, the sport is on the verge of a playoff, most likely a four-team entity. The details being hashed out have more to do with who gets to stage the games and whether college football is ready to make a clean break from the bowls with its most profitable games – semifinals and finals.
Plans range from having the semis held on the campus of the higher-seeded team to opening up all three games to bid by any city in the country, effectively turning its back on the major bowls that have controlled the postseason for a century.
There is also discussion about requiring teams to win at least seven games (up from six) to play in a bowl, something that could kill off at least half a dozen of the current 35 bowl games.
The majority of bowl games will continue to operate. However, cutting off the major ones from the lucrative television revenue to the championship-round games will carve into their finances – and thus the high salaries (up to $800,000 per year) and impressive fringe benefits (multiple country club memberships, his and her car allowances) of bowl CEOs.
As a result, the bowl industry is in full lobbying mode, trying to convince anyone who will listen to continue to outsource to them the sport's most valuable properties.
"It's intense," said one major conference athletic director. "There is an air of desperation."
Almost everyone inside college football enjoys bowl games, but there is apprehension about who is paying the bill.
Schools are required to take on huge ticket guarantees for games and have trouble selling the overpriced seats (Connecticut famously ate $2.9 million in tickets at the 2011 Fiesta Bowl). Meanwhile, travel expenses, which the schools are also on the hook for, have soared.
The result is that many teams lose money attending bowl games and others merely break even because conferences spread out bowl payouts.
It's accepted practice because, well, it's always been accepted practice.
Now, insiders say, a fresh chorus of questions are being asked at the same time the sport is ready for a sea change in how it crowns its champion and, in turn, who will control the hundreds of millions even a small playoff will produce.
This isn't the sole or even chief reason for the playoff talk. It is one of the reasons, though, and potentially a deciding factor.
"When did our job as a university become supporting the hospitality industry in certain states?" West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said last year. "Football is an economic engine at every Division I school. You need a strong and successful football program to pay the bills. We have a limited number of games. When we put the Mountaineer football team on the field, it has to be a profit center."
Yet, too often schools not going to bowl games are making more for their athletic departments than the ones that are.
"Our institutions are excellent at generating revenue, we're just not doing it for ourselves," said Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin. "No one likes to lose money on a bowl game."
The charge-the-players, charge-the-band trick is just one of the more onerous tactics. They often have to pay full price even in half-full stadiums where the secondary market has similar seats running at 10 percent of cost.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock (AP)The Sugar Bowl did not respond to requests for comment, but it's worth repeating: This is common practice in the industry. Oregon had to buy 1,030 tickets for its players and band at up to $325 a seat for the 2011 BCS title game run by the Fiesta Bowl.
"The schools love being able to do this [provide family tickets] for their players, but they don't want to spend the money for it," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. "The conference could take less money as a payout from the bowls and have them comp the tickets, but it would be less money flowing to the schools one way or the other."
There is another option, of course. The bowl could generate less profit.
Neutral-site preseason games regularly provide complimentary tickets. For example, the Washington Redskins gave Virginia Tech 1,050 free seats when it opened the 2010 season at Redskins Stadium against Boise State. The Hokies received no such deal when they ended the season at the Orange Bowl.
Major bowl games have the money. The most recent federal tax filings of Sugar Bowl Inc. show it ended its fiscal year with $34.2 million in assets, including $12.5 million in cash and $20.8 million in publicly traded securities. CEO Paul Hoolahan pocketed $593,718 in total compensation.
While financial numbers from this year aren't publicly available, the last time the Sugar Bowl "double hosted" – it's namesake game and the BCS title game – it did $34.1 million in revenue and turned an $11.6 million profit. Since the game enjoys a 501 (c) (3) non-profit status, that was all tax free.
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva declined to discuss paying over half a million for the title game tickets, however each year the NCAA asks athletic directors whose teams played in a bowl game to fill out a survey about their experience.
It contains myriad questions ranging from the quality of practice facilities to the location of the team hotel to whether the "supply and availability of towels, soap, soft drinks and other necessities" was up to par.
Alleva answered "very satisfied" to 25 of the 26 questions (there was none concerning final score) for the Tigers appearance in the BCS title game. Then there was the question pertaining to "the cost of game tickets."
"Neutral," Alleva wrote.
Tickets are but one worry. A number of athletic directors point to the considerable travel requirements for attending a game. Schools are obligated to purchase hundreds of hotel rooms at choice locations for prolonged stays, all determined by the bowl game.
Bowls were originally created in the first half of the 20th century as a way for cities to draw tourists during what was traditionally a slow travel period after Christmas. The idea was to get thousands of fans to accompany their team, via train, and hang out for a week.
Today we have air travel, interstate highways and far more disposable income. Post-Christmas isn't a slow time in say, Orlando. It's a boom week. Yet the bowls remain, only now with high prices.
For its 2011 BCS title game appearance in Arizona, Oregon and the Pac 12 were on the hook for 580 hotel rooms, some for as many as six nights, according to the school's game contract. One hundred of those rooms were at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa: nightly rate, $319.
Expenses piled up by Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker have been called into question. (AP)Once there, expenses rise. Food, parking, beverages, everything is at a premium. At the 2009 BCS title game in South Florida, the University of Florida was charged $40,000 for a conference room where the coaches held meetings, according to university documents.
"It's peak season in some of these places," said one major conference athletic director. "You're lucky to see $200-230 per night room rates. Plus, a lot team meals are in the hotel and they're expensive.
"Look at breakfast alone," the AD continued. "A gallon of orange juice at a nice hotel can cost $70 to $95. The coffee is more expensive than Starbucks. You'd think Juan Valdez personally picked the beans and hand-delivered them."
LSU, for example, spent $754,118 on meals and lodging alone this year.
It's great business for the hotels, but also for some bowl games which have cut deals with local hotel organizations for a "commission" for the business it brings to town.
The Sugar Bowl received $235,098 in "hotel/motel commission," according to its most recent federal tax filings, the money coming from a voluntary program run by the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association. The Fiesta Bowl said it has a similar 20-year arrangement with Scottsdale hotels. The Orange Bowl declined to discuss whether it did or didn't have such a deal.
That kind of kickback from the hotels is just one more stream of revenue from the schools to the bowls.
These are the numbers athletic directors discuss among themselves – that and the outlandish spending of bowl games, the most famous being former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker.
An internal Fiesta Bowl investigation found him living the high life on the bowl games dime for nearly two decades. The game paid for his four country club memberships, his $2,250 a month car allowance and a $33,188 birthday party he threw for himself. It picked up a $95,000 tab for he and other college sports power brokers to play a round of golf with Jack Nicklaus.
One year, he averaged an almost impossible $2,111.96 per day in expenses on his AMEX Black card.
"The Fiesta thing, to me, was, 'Hey, that's our money,' " said one major athletic director. "That's college football's money."
When they are deciding whether to include bowl games in the playoff, or whether to cut half a dozen small games off at the knees, money is going to be an issue. Maybe the bowls wind up as playoff hosts, even richer and more powerful than ever. Maybe they wind up on the outside looking in, a smaller role in the sport.
At this critical stage there is at least some movement to cut out an industry which has profited richly off the game yet still thinks Tyrann Mathieu [ LSU Tigers cornerback ] isn't worthy of a couple of free tickets.
4- BCS- conference commissioners each get $1 million
June 20, 2011, A P
WASHINGTON (AP) — Four of college football's six powerhouse conferences paid their top executives $1 million or more, an Associated Press analysis of tax records shows, far eclipsing the compensation of most university presidents.
A review of 2009 IRS returns, the most recent available, shows that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was the highest paid, receiving total compensation valued at $1.6 million, followed by Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford ($1.1 million), Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive ($1 million) and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe ($997,000). The other two commissioners each started in July 2009, so their compensation figures are only for the last six months of the year: PAC-10's Larry Scott ($735,000), and Big East's John Marinatto ($366,000).
Those figures include base salary and benefits such as health insurance, as well as other forms of pay such as retirement and deferred compensation. On an annual or prorated basis, only Marinatto made less than the median pay of presidents of the nation's large research universities, which was $760,774 in 2008, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education survey published last fall.
The new data about commissioner salaries comes at a time when, driven by a series of controversies at major programs, there's a growing chorus about the problems of enforcing amateurism in college football, saying it may be time to rethink the system as everyone but the athletes are making big money.
Southern California was put on probation last year after 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush was discovered to have received improper benefits from a sports agent; the NCAA concluded that the father of last year's Heisman winner, Cam Newton, tried to sell his son's services to Mississippi State; and, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and star QB Terrelle Pryor both left the school this spring in the wake of revelations that Pryor and other players sold memorabilia for cash and tattoos.
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, the Big Ten board chairman, said his conference's presidents and chancellors believe Delany is worth "every penny" that he receives.
"The board has enormous confidence in the commissioner, thinks that he's done an outstanding job," McRobbie said in a telephone interview. "We're very, very pleased with the progress in the conference under the commissioner's leadership."
The board chairmen of the ACC, SEC and Big 12 were all said by aides to be unavailable for interviews.
The conferences, which oversee a host of college sports besides football, operate as 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, meaning their operations are tax-exempt. The compensation is generally set by boards of directors made up of the member schools' presidents and chancellors.
The six conferences, all of which receive automatic bids to Bowl Championship Series games, are among 11 that make up college football's highest level. The other five don't receive automatic bids and receive smaller bowl payouts from the BCS, although those payments have increased in recent years as overall BCS revenue has grown.
Those five conferences — Mountain West, Mid-American, Sun Belt, Conference USA and the Western Athletic Conference— all paid their commissioners less than $600,000 in 2009. But they also brought in far less in total revenue — between $9 million and $50 million, compared to $102 million to $244 million for the six core BCS conferences, the tax records show.
AP's review also found that Slive, the SEC commissioner, received a $1 million bonus in 2008, nearly doubling his pay that year to $2.1 million. SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said that bonus was for two TV deals the SEC negotiated that year, with ESPN and CBS.
Beebe, the Big 12 commissioner, got the biggest pay raise from 2008 to 2009. His $997,000 was more than 50 percent higher than his 2008 pay of $661,000. Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda said the conference board of directors raised Beebe's pay to put him on par with the other conferences that receive automatic BCS bids.
Dave Czesniuk, senior associate director at Northeastern University's Sport in Society, argued that the figures reflect the over-commercialization of college sports.
"I can't imagine that the well-being and growth of student-athletes is of paramount importance when there's that level of compensation," he said, when told of the commissioners' pay. As for Slive's bonus, Czesniuk said, "Let's be real about what's being rewarded. You can't say that it's about the student-athlete experience."
The million-dollar paydays for the commissioners still lag far behind some of the nation's top football college coaches. Texas coach Mack Brown, for instance, makes around $5 million, while Alabama coach Nick Saban earns $4.7 million. Still, the revelations could help fuel a revived movement to pay players, many of whom get athletic scholarships to cover tuition, fees, room, board and books, but not a slice of the revenues.
"It brings into sharp focus that it is immoral for grown men to exploit young athletes in the way that they do, then shamelessly say after these young men bring in so much money that they are not entitled to any part of it," said Ernie Chambers, a former Nebraska state senator who has advocated paying college athletes since the 1970s.
Chambers drew national headlines in 2003 when he sponsored a bill, eventually signed into law, which required the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pay its athletes if the legislatures in four other states with schools in Nebraska's conference passed the same law.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier recently proposed that coaches contribute money that would be used to give 70 players on a team a $300 stipend every game. Several coaches, including Saban, signed the proposal.
"Unfortunately, the players are still getting the same scholarship they got 50 years ago," Spurrier said in a telephone interview. "We need to find some ways to give them some spending money. I call it expense money for going to college."
But Spurrier said he had no problem with the commissioners making seven-figures.
"Us coaches are making all the money," said Spurrier, who will make $2.8 million next season. He said that his commissioner, Slive, "deserves to be making over a million or so with all of the money that's coming in."
Murray Sperber, a visiting professor at the University of California-Berkeley and a critic of commercialization in college sports, said commissioners' generous compensation bolsters the case for playing players.
"Mike Slive got more money for TV contracts, but nobody turns on their TV set to see Mike Slive, who may be interviewed at halftime," he said. "They want to see Alabama and Auburn play at their very best, which means players have to be in 12-month training and (put in) very intensive work weeks. The logic and the ethics of the situation say the players should be paid."
The Big Ten also has floated the idea this year of paying athletes to cover expenses, and the topic will be discussed at an NCAA retreat in August.
But paying athletes would go against the NCAA's policy on amateurism. On its website, under the hearing "Why student-athletes are not paid to play," the NCAA says: "Student-athletes are students first and athletes second. They are not university employees who are paid for their labor."
NCAA President Mark Emmert recently said of paying athletes, "There is a model for that, it's called professional sports, and I love them. But that's not what college sports is about."
McRobbie, the Big Ten board chairman, said there are pros and cons on whether to pay college athletes, but he didn't see any connection between that issue and the million-dollar compensation for commissioners. As to whether that level of pay is appropriate in higher education, he said that in setting compensation, employers have to look at the market.
USC stripped of 2004 BCS title; crown won't go to runner-up Sooners
Associated Press 06 June 2011
The Bowl Championship Series stripped Southern California of its 2004 title on Monday, leaving that season without a BCS champion.
The announcement was no surprise. BCS officials had said USC was in danger of having its championship vacated after the Trojans were hit with heavy NCAA sanctions last year for rules violations committed during the 2004 and ‘05 seasons.
“The BCS alerted us today that their presidents have voted to vacate USC's 2005 BCS championship game victory,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said. “This was not an unexpected outcome. We will comply with all requirements mandated by the result of this BCS vote.”
The NCAA ruled star tailback Reggie Bush received improper extra benefits during those seasons and was ineligible when he played.
One of Haden's first moves when he took over as AD last year was to give back the school's copy of the Heisman Trophy that Bush won in 2005. Bush later relinquished his own Heisman and the trust in charge of handing out the award announced the ‘05 winner would be left vacant.
The BCS waited until USC appealed the NCAA sanctions, which included a two-year ban from postseason play and a loss of 30 scholarships over three seasons, to make a decision about its championship. The NCAA denied USC's appeal on May 26.
At that point, it was just a matter of time before the Trojans' 55-19 victory against Oklahoma in the 2005 Orange Bowl was wiped from the record books.
The dominant performance capped a perfect season by USC and left it ranked at the top of both the AP and coaches' polls. Auburn and Utah also finished that season undefeated.
The Trojans will not have to relinquish The Associated Press national championship.
“The BCS arrangement crowns a national champion, and the BCS games are showcase events for postseason football,” BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “One of the best ways of ensuring that they remain so is for us to foster full compliance with NCAA rules. Accordingly, in keeping with the NCAA's recent action, USC's appearances are being vacated.”
Justice Department to meet with BCS
By Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s antitrust division will meet with the BCS this summer to discuss its concerns about college football’s postseason format.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock told the Associated Press on Thursday that a Justice Department attorney last week asked for a voluntary background briefing on how the BCS operates. Hancock said he agreed to provide one, but that no date has been set yet.
"We view it as an opportunity to make it clear that the BCS was crafted very carefully with antitrust laws in mind," Hancock said.
The Justice Department initially raised its concerns with the NCAA, asking why there wasn’t a playoff for college football’s highest level and saying there were "serious questions" about whether the current format to determine a national champion complies with antitrust laws.
But NCAA President Mark Emmert responded in a letter last month that the department’s questions were best directed to the BCS.
Critics who have urged the department to investigate the BCS contend it unfairly gives some schools preferential access to the title game and lucrative, top-tier bowls at the end of the season.
Hancock said he wasn’t concerned with the Justice Department’s request for a meeting.
"We take seriously any connection in Washington, and we’re certainly taking this seriously," he said. "But I view it as an opportunity, because we’re confident that the BCS is on strong legal ground."
Hancock said the meeting will be the first the BCS has had with the department at least since he joined the organization in 2005.
He said he did not think that the meeting signaled an investigation.
"Their staff made it clear this was simply a request for information," Hancock said. "They also said our cooperation was voluntary."
Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said the department continues to review information provided to it to determine whether to open an investigation into the legality of the current system under antitrust laws.
"It’s not unusual for us to have discussions with knowledgeable parties on a particular matter," she added, but declined to confirm who the department was meeting with.
Even if there is no federal investigation, the BCS is already under fire from at least one state. The attorney general of Utah, Mark Shurtleff, has said he plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS.
Before he was sworn in as president, Barack Obama said in 2008 that he was going to "to throw my weight around a little bit" to nudge college football toward a playoff system.
By CHUCK CARLTON - The Dallas Morning News - 01 June 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While one route to the Bowl Championship Series has been blocked for the AT&T Cotton Bowl, another path could be developing.
The Cotton Bowl’s opportunity could come if the double-hosting model is eliminated, allowing another bowl to join the title game rotation.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, a fan of the current BCS format, expressed concern at his conference’s meetings Wednesday because the national title game has drifted later in the calendar. Auburn and Oregon played Jan. 10 this year.
The reason is double-hosting, in which the BCS title game follows the Fiesta, Sugar, Orange or Rose Bowl at the same site. Football now threatens to become a two-semester sport at some schools, something college presidents have strived to avoid.
“I think playing the national championship game out as far as we’re playing it is of concern,” Beebe said. “I don’t know if there’s counterbalances to keep it where it is.”
Beebe said he has discussed the situation with his fellow commissioners in addition to Big 12 members.
“Getting away from the double-hosting role and doing a five-bowl rotation, I think we’ve got to look at that,” Beebe said.
A five-bowl rotation means adding one.
The Cotton Bowl, with its tradition, solid reputation and Cowboys Stadium home, would figure to be one of the front-runners in an ultra-competitive process. Other possibilities include Atlanta, Houston, Orlando and San Antonio.
“We would really be interested in a fifth bowl being in our territory,” Beebe said. “I don’t want to get locked into one of our communities against another.
“Obviously, Cowboys Stadium is the world’s best facility. That’s pretty significant. We have terrific other facilities in our region and other communities that are exciting to visit.”
Cotton officials have made no secret about wanting to be among the top bowls.
The BCS investigation of Fiesta Bowl irregularities could have opened a spot. But after a general housecleaning, the Fiesta remained in the fold.
Now the idea of an end to double-hosting presents an alternative road to the BCS.
“For us, this is encouraging news,” Cotton Bowl president Rick Baker said. “Our hope all along has been for the commissioners to consider adding another bowl game to the BCS. The AT&T Cotton Bowl welcomes the opportunity to tell our story and be considered.”
Another powerful voice, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, said he was also interested in closing the days between the other BCS bowls and the title game.
He said he would “absolutely, absolutely” be in favor of a BCS bowl in Texas, though he wouldn’t commit to a location.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock didn’t immediately return a phone message.
Beebe cautioned it is very, very early in the next BCS process. The current BCS runs through January 2014. The next format may not take shape for another 12 to 18 months.
License renewal put on hold for Dallas-based Ticket City Bowl
Chuck CarltonStaff Dallas Morning News 28 April 2011
The NCAA has delayed the license renewal for the Dallas-based Ticket City Bowl, which held its first game Jan. 1.
In a news release Thursday, the NCAA’s Postseason Bowl Licensing Subcommittee said it made the decision “pending further information and discussion of its business plan.”
Tom Starr, the president and CEO of the bowl, remained confident about the bowl’s viability.
“I have no doubts we’ll have a bowl in Cotton Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1, 2012, and for many years to come,” Starr said. “Like many bowl games, you have bumps in the road.”
But the Ticket City Bowl’s bump came with the bowl system under more scrutiny following the excesses of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. NCAA president Mark Emmert announced the organization would review licensing procedures and will not accept new bowl applications for three years.
In the case of the Ticket City Bowl, the game failed by about 10 percent to meet its guaranteed $2.2 million payout to Texas Tech and Northwestern. Several factors contributed to the shortfall, including less-than-expected ticket sales and a lack of corporate dollars because of the Super Bowl in North Texas.
Starr said he expected to pay the remaining amount within several weeks and then meet again with the NCAA.
“Did I want to start this way? Of course not,” Starr said. “But we have a lot of positives going our way for the second year.”
BCS provides football conferences net record take
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER - A P - January 21, 2011
College football conferences will get a record take of about $170 million from this year's Bowl Championship Series games, including a new high of $24.7 million forthe five conferences that don't get automatic bids to the BCS bowls.
The figures were obtained by The Associated Press ahead of their official release later Tuesday by the BCS.
BCS officials say the higher figures were fueled by the new television contract with ESPN. In addition, the five conferences that don't get automatic bids were helped by the automatic berth earned by Texas Christian University. Those conferences got slightly more than last year's $24 million.
The distribution of money has been a main point of contention for congressional critics of the BCS, who argue that it shows the system is unfair. In the last congressional session, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, pushed legislation aimed at forcing the BCS to switch to a playoff system rather than the ratings system it uses to set the games that determine the college championship.
Barton did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Under the BCS system, six conferences get automatic bids to participate in top-tier bowl games while the other five don't. Those six conferences, which sent nine of the 10 teams to the BCS bowl games this year, will take in about $145 million. The Big Ten, Southeastern and Pac-10, which each had two teams in BCS bowls, will receive about $27.2 million each, while the ACC, Big East and Big 12 will each receive roughly $21.2 million.
Bill Hancock, the BCS executive director, noted that the conferences that don't get automatic bids will receive a record take for the second year in a row. He said the numbers demonstrate the "strength and fairness of the current system. The fact is that all of Division I football is better off because of the BCS, financially and otherwise."
But Matthew Sanderson, founder of Playoff PAC, a political action committee aimed at prodding change to a playoff system, said the financial imbalance remains.
"That imbalance is unconscionable, given that it has no basis in post-season performance on the field and in the marketplace," he said. "Only the BCS would try to pitch anti-competitive behavior as benevolence."
Some coaches' votes in football poll defy logic
October 20, 2009
The strangeness of college football results each Saturday is matched only by the bizarreness of the votes turned in by college football coaches on Sunday.
Either that, or maybe these guys are just trying to make Nick Saban more miserable than he already is.
This week, for the first time, Saban's Crimson Tide moved ahead of Florida into the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press poll. A few weeks ago, media members had begun a gradual drift toward the Tide, which has been a more impressive team from the start than the defending champion Gators.
It became too much to ignore when Florida struggled to defeat Arkansas, 23-20, in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday afternoon. Alabama beat the Razorbacks by 28 earlier this season.
Both teams are 7-0 and appear headed for an SEC title game showdown in Atlanta, so in some ways, it doesn't really matter which is ranked No. 1 and No. 2 at the moment. The winner is headed to the national championship either way.
The problem is that the USA Today coaches poll has consistently made more inexplicable mistakes this season than the AP poll. The significance of that is that the coaches poll is part of the BCS process while the AP poll is not.
In fact, the coaches poll counts for one-third along with the computer results and the Harris Interactive Poll, a somewhat curious collection of people with current or former connections to the college game.
You may want to know that Dallas is well represented in the Harris poll. The 114 voters include Gil Brandt, former Cowboys Chad Hennings and Craig Morton and two members of the early '80s SMU Mustangs, Lance McIlhenny and Bobby Leach.
Admit it, that's an interesting group of five right there.
But the Harris poll results have been sound enough. If there is one thing likely to mess up the BCS selection process, it's not the computers but the careless voting habits of the coaches.
We have seen it all season.
By the time Oklahoma State got to 3-1, the Cowboys were ranked No. 12 by the coaches while Houston, undefeated with a win at Oklahoma State, was No. 15. In the AP poll, Houston was two spots higher than the Cowboys.
When Penn State lost at home to Iowa, 21-10, in Week 4, the Nittany Lions did drop out of the top 10 in the coaches poll. But they fell only to No. 13 while undefeated Iowa was No. 17. In the AP poll, Iowa was again two spots higher than the Nittany Lions.
For no reason I can think of after Week 6, the coaches had a 3-2 Oklahoma team ranked ahead of a 5-1 Brigham Young squad that beat the Sooners at Cowboys Stadium. BYU was two spots ahead of Oklahoma in the AP poll.
Are we sensing a pattern here? Is one set of voters paying attention while another passes off its ballots to overworked sports information directors on Sunday mornings?
It's not a matter of coaches not having enough knowledge of the game.
But there's no reason for a voter such as OU coach Bob Stoops to care what Oregon and Oregon State are doing late on a Saturday night. It's not on his list of concerns.
I'm not saying Stoops is the one voting foolishly. It could be anyone. And on some weeks it's most of them.
By now, as illustrated earlier, Alabama has shown a superiority to Florida. In the AP poll, Alabama got 39 first-place votes to 20 for Florida this week, a dramatic shift from a week ago when Florida held a 50-10 edge.
But Saturday's results were worthy of such a shift.
In the Harris poll, Florida remains ahead in No. 1 votes, but the totals were 77 for the Gators, 33 for Alabama and four for Texas. That's nothing like the coaches poll where Florida remains fully in charge.
The Gators got 49 first-place votes this week to nine for Alabama and one for Texas.
The BCS computers also have Florida No. 1, but they are designed to get it right at season's end. I'm not so worried about the totals they will arrive at after 12 or 13 games compared to the ones the coaches produce week after week.
Computers need a season's worth of data to reach sensible conclusions. Voters should be able to do it with the eyeball test after each week's games.
This year's poll results make me wonder two things about the 59 coaches voting.
What games are these guys watching?
If they aren't paying enough attention, why aren't their votes eliminated from the process?
By TIM COWLISHAW / The Dallas Morning News
Maybe it's simply an early onset of dementia, driven by a few too many concussions and/or children, but it sure seems as if the basic concept of voting grows more obtuse by the day.
If it's not a ballot requiring a "no" vote if you're for a convention hotel and a "yes" if you're against it, it's college football coaches explaining their voting process.
For instance, I called Grant Teaff, former Baylor coach and executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, to get his take on Wednesday's news that coaches are going back in the closet, starting in 2010.
Since 2005, coaches had released their final individual votes in the USA Today poll in a professed effort to appear "transparent." Translation: Credible. More likely, they figured to placate critics and keep a hand in the BCS process. The coaches' poll makes up one-third of the BCS' magic formula. Coaches couldn't live with the idea of a bunch of old coots and computer geeks determining their livelihoods without some say in the matter.
But what coaches discovered was that, despite their concession, the BCS process remains ugly.
And it doesn't get any prettier when fans find your e-mail address.
Teaff insists that vitriolic fan and media reaction wasn't the AFCA's motivation for contracting with Gallup, which, after a three-month review, recommended an overhaul of its system.
The only concern of the AFCA, Teaff said, was, "How can we make the coaches' poll the best it possibly can be?
" Here's how: Take the coaches and their self-serving notions out of the multimillion-dollar BCS equation altogether, just as the media did.
But that's not happening anytime soon, just as no playoff looms, either.
So until right prevails, until we learn exactly what kind of information the geeks are feeding into their computer programs and who's actually doing the voting for the coaches and why life has to be so complicated, we're forced to live with the constant manipulation, if not outright strangulation, of a system that defies logic.
To wit: Did you know that, under the old rules, a conference that placed four or more teams in the previous year's final Top 25 received a "bonus" voter?
Call me a cynic, but it seems that the more voters from one conference, the more votes you get for that conference.
Just playing devil's advocate here, but when more teams in the BCS means more money for your league, it stands to reason you'd vote for your brethren.
"It really doesn't work that way," countered Teaff, as good a man as there is in the ranks. "There's not near as much conference loyalty as you think there is
." Maybe not when votes are publicized. But when they become private again?
And what about another self-serving item that came up for discussion and was cleared by Gallup: You can vote for yourself.
"Absolutely," Teaff said.
Mack Brown created a stir last season by threatening to vote his own Longhorns No. 1 after the Big 12's tiebreaker left Texas out of the championship mix. Under AFCA rules, coaches are required to vote for the team that wins the BCS title game. Brown eventually acquiesced after being told his ballot wouldn't count if he didn't vote Florida No. 1.
But then Utah's Kyle Whittingham voted his own team No. 1, and there were no repercussions. In fact, he received praise for sticking up for his team.
In case you slept through your high school civics class and think one crummy vote hardly matters, consider this:
On Nov. 30 of last season, Oklahoma was second in the USA Today poll with 1,397 points, while Texas was No. 3 with 1,396.
Ought to make any coach think twice about voting his conscience. Assuming he still has one, that is.
By KEVIN SHERRINGTON / The Dallas Morning News
Congressmen want to bowl over BCS
Texas representative pushes for college football playoff
May 2, 2009,
Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner and Bowl Championship Series coordinator John Swofford, left, testifies before the House Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill.
WASHINGTON — At a hearing Friday before the House subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection, three members of Congress decried the manner in which college football decides its national champion and warned government action could be implemented should changes not be made voluntarily by the sport’s administrators.
Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton, who has introduced legislation that would prohibit the NCAA from advertising its national champion in football as such unless it was produced via a playoff system, levied the most pointed criticisms of his peers toward the Bowl Championship Series.
“It’s interesting that people of good will keep trying to tinker with the current system, and to my mind it’s a little bit like — and I don’t mean this directly — but it’s like communism,” Barton said in his opening statement. “You can’t fix it. It will not be fixable. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to try a new model, and that’s why we’re here today.”
Four high-ranking college football officials testified before the subcommittee. Proponents of the current BCS system predicted that renowned bowl games would become endangered if a playoff system was initiated.
“It will be very difficult for any bowl, including the current BCS bowls, which are among the oldest and most established in the game’s history, to survive” because sponsorships and television revenue would go toward playoff games, BCS coordinator and ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. “Certainly the 29 games that are not part of the BCS would be in peril.”
Six conferences — the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pacific-10 and Southeastern — currently receive automatic bids to play in the BCS bowls. The remaining five Division I-A conferences do not. Roughly $18 million is awarded to each conference with an automatic BCS bid; the other five conferences receive far less.
Derrick Fox, the at-large board member of the Football Bowl Association and president and chief executive of the Alamo Bowl, joined Swofford in defense of the current BCS format.
Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson and Boise State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier took the opposite stance. Both claimed the present system robs non-BCS conferences of a realistic chance to win the BCS title before the season even begins.
Boise State, a Western Athletic Conference member, has finished the regular season undefeated three times in the past five years. During that span, the Broncos were invited to a BCS bowl game once. In the Fiesta Bowl following the 2006 season, Boise State defeated Oklahoma, 43-42, in overtime.
“How many more years do we have to go undefeated before we get a chance?” Bleymaier said of playing for a national championship.
The BCS title game features the top two teams in the country as decided by a standings formula comprising two voter-based polls and six computer ratings. The MWC recently proposed a playoff format and hired Arent Fox, a Washington-based firm, to lobby Congress on its behalf.
Near the conclusion of Friday’s hearing, Barton asked Swofford if Division I-A college football would adopt a playoff system should his legislation be passed into law. Swofford, who afterward said he was not familiar with Barton’s legislation, responded that such a scenario had not been discussed “at any level.” --
By STEVEN YANDA / Washington Post
John Swofford, the coordinator of the BCS, rejected the idea of switching to a playoff, telling a House panel that it would threaten the existence of celebrated bowl games. Sponsorships and TV revenue that now go to bowl games would instead be spent on playoff games, "meaning that it will be very difficult for any bowl, including the current BCS bowls, which are among the oldest and most established in the game's history, to survive," Swofford said.
Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who has introduced legislation that
would prevent the NCAA from calling a game a national championship
unless it's the outcome of a playoff, bluntly warned Swofford: "If
we don't see some action in the next two months, on a voluntary
switch to a playoff system, then you will see this bill move."
After the hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee, Swofford told reporters: "Any time Congress speaks, you take it seriously." Yet it is unclear whether lawmakers will try to legislate how college football picks its No. 1 before the first kickoff of the fall season. Congress is grappling with a crowded agenda of budgets, health care overhaul and climate change, and though President Barack Obama favors a playoff, he hasn't made it a legislative priority.
College football's multimillion-dollar television contract also could be an obstacle.
The BCS's new four-year deal with ESPN, worth $125 million per year, begins with the 2011 bowl games. That deal was negotiated using the current BCS format. While ESPN has said it would not stand in the way if the BCS wanted to change, the new deal allows the BCS to put off making major changes until the 2014 season
Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University, said the legislation could result in a court challenge.
"This is a rare effort by Congress to prevent people from using what is a common description of sporting events," he said in a telephone interview. The legislation, he said, "may run afoul of the contractual agreements between parties, wiping out benefits that have already been paid for by companies."
Barton, the top Republican on the committee, said at the hearing that efforts to tinker with the BCS were bound to fail.
"It's like communism," he said. "You can't fix it." He quipped that the BCS should drop the "C" from its name because it doesn't represent a true championship.
"Call it the 'BS' system," he said to laughter. The current system features a championship game between the two top teams in the BCS standings, based on two polls and six computer rankings.
Under the BCS, some conferences get automatic bids to participate while others do not. Conferences that get an automatic bid - the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC - get about $18 million each, far more than the non-conference schools. Swofford is also commissioner of the ACC.
"How is this fair?" asked the subcommittee chairman, Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, who has co-sponsored Barton's bill. "How can we justify this system ... are the big guys getting together and shutting out the little guys?"
"I think it is fair, because it represents the marketplace," Swofford responded.
Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, which does not get an automatic bid, called the money distribution system "grossly inequitable."
The MWC has proposed a playoff and hired a Washington firm to lobby Congress for changes to the BCS. The proposal calls for scrapping the BCS standings and creating a 12-member committee to pick which teams receive at-large bids, and to select and seed the eight teams chosen for the playoff. The BCS has previously discussed, and dismissed, the idea of using a selection committee.
The four current BCS games - the Sugar, Orange, Rose and Fiesta bowls - would host the four first-round playoff games under the proposal.
Valero Alamo Bowl chief executive Derrick Fox, representing the 34 members of the Football Bowl Association, said that a playoff"is rife with dangers for a system that has served collegiate athletics pretty well for 100 years."
But Gene Bleymaier, athletic director at Boise State University, noted that his school's football team went undefeated several times, yet never got a chance to play for the national championship under the BCS.
Asked by Rush whether Congress should intervene, Bleymaier responded, "The only way this is going to change is with help from the outside."
In the Senate, Utah Republican Orrin Hatch has put the BCS on the agenda for the Judiciary's antitrust subcommittee this year, and Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, is investigating whether the BCS violates federal antitrust laws.
Fans were furious that Utah was bypassed for the national
championship despite going undefeated in the regular season. The
title game pitted No. 1 Florida (12-1) against No. 2 Oklahoma
(12-1); Florida won 24-14 and claimed the title.
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER-Associated Press Writer
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
BCS double is no trouble for Fiesta Arizona officials show new model works; can Sugar follow suit?
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Conference commissioners' big BCS gamble worked. They added a fifth game without adding a fifth bowl to the Bowl Championship Series, crossed their fingers and hoped it would go off without a hitch.
So far, so good.
The so-called "double-hosting model" proved to be no sweat for Fiesta Bowl officials long known for organizing excellent events. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was well run, and Boise State and Oklahoma staged one of the best bowls in years on New Year's night.
There have also been few problems reported in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the lead-up to Monday's Tostitos BCS national championship game.
All fans who hate the BCS should have prayed for chaos in the desert. If the Fiesta Bowl had bungled the two big games, conference commissioners would have been forced to go back to the drawing board. Who knows how they would have rearranged the BCS then.
Here's the reality the BCS organizers don't want to admit publicly. John Junker's Fiesta Bowl crew is perhaps the only outfit among the four BCS bowls that could have handled such a herculean task on the first attempt.
The real litmus test of whether the double-hosting model works will be next season when the scene shifts to New Orleans. Then it's on to Miami in 2009 and Pasadena, Calif., in 2010.
College football players, coaches and fans will descend upon the Big Easy next January, and few of them will want to talk about Katrina. They'll want to live it up at two of the biggest games in college football – the Allstate Sugar Bowl and Allstate BCS national championship game.
Here's something to think about: Outside of partying on Bourbon Street, what can 18- to 22-year-old players do in New Orleans?
At some bowls, players attend one event after another. At the Holiday Bowl, players tour an aircraft carrier. At the Rose, players go to Disneyland. Several bowls organize visits to the local hospital, and many stage elaborate dinners at the local steakhouse.
The Fiesta Bowl pulled back on some of the events this year. Junker's smart. The Fiesta Bowl and the national championship are games that sell themselves. OU and Boise State players really didn't do that much in Phoenix.
They did stay at some out-of-this-world resort hotels. The Sooners stayed at the Fairmont Princess Resort, just across the street from a Porsche dealership. Ohio State players are enjoying the same cozy confines.
Several OU staff members chose to eat at fast-food joints, because their per diem wouldn't cover the cost of eating at the hotel. Athletic director Joe Castiglione wasn't alone at the In-N-Out Burger joint.
"The practice facility was great," OU coach Bob Stoops said. "Our meeting rooms couldn't have been better. This is as good as it gets.
" How many five-star resort hotels can found in New Orleans?
Boise State was a BCS newcomer. To the Broncos, the Fiesta Bowl was like the Super Bowl. Anything's better than the Humanitarian Bowl, right?
OU officials knew what to expect, though. If they had left Arizona complaining that they got treated like stepchildren compared with Ohio State and Florida, the BCS would have had a major problem. Castiglione, however, said OU got the full-blown bowl experience.
A day after the Fiesta Bowl, new grass was lain over the old grass in preparation for BCS championship game.
You would have never known the Fiesta Bowl even existed the morning after Boise State's 43-42 overtime win. At the Camelback Inn, where the media stayed, all the Fiesta Bowl signs had been replaced by national championship game signs by dawn.
Will the Sugar Bowl provide that kind of hospitality to the teams, fans and media next year?
Hosting one BCS game takes tons of work and preparation. Doing two was unthinkable until this year. If the Sugar, Orange and Rose Bowls all manage both games with ease as the Fiesta did, the BCS will have no reason to expand in 2010.
By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News
Replacement bowl given to Houston
Thursday, June 29, 2006
The NCAA awarded a bowl to Houston for the 2006-07 season, replacing the financially troubled Houston Bowl. The bowl will have a new name and management under the sports marketing arm of the Houston Texans but will still feature teams from the Big 12, Conference USA, Big East and Mountain West.
The Big 12 spearheaded efforts to maintain a bowl in Houston, but certification was delayed after last year's participants, TCU and Iowa State, did not receive their full payouts. The new bowl will be required to have a line of credit to meet its obligations, and a Big 12 spokesman said it will work to pay off the debts of the Houston Bowl.
By KEITH WHITMIRE / The Dallas Morning News
Record number of bowls ahead this season
Thursday, April 27, 2006
A school with a .500 record is eligible to play in one of 32 games
The major college football bowl menu has been expanded for next season to a record 31 games, possibly 32.
The NCAA on Thursday announced the licensing of new games in Albuquerque, N.M., Birmingham, Ala., and Toronto.
It already was scheduled to add one bowl as part of the expanded
Bowl Championship Series format that features five games at four sites.
A decision on the return of the financially-strapped Houston Bowl was deferred until June, in part at the request of the Big 12.
The NCAA also reworded its legislation to make Division I-A football teams with 6-6 records bowl eligible. The bylaw previously required a winning regular-season record.
A year ago, the NCAA expanded the standard regular season to 12 games beginning in 2006. When 12 games were played in 2002 and 2003 because of a quirk in the calendar, three 6-6 teams played each year in the slate of 28 games.
In the first new BCS alignment, the championship game will be played in suburban Phoenix a week after the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, played Jan. 1. The new title game hasn't been named. …..
By JEFF MILLER / The Dallas Morning News
BCS may increase teams eligible for at-large bids
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Becoming eligible for the Bowl Championship Series might be easier this season.
With the BCS expanding to five games, college football officials will consider increasing the number of teams eligible for at-large bids. To do so, they'll have to lower the standards a bit. In the past a team needed nine wins and a top-12 ranking in the final BCS standings to be in the running for an at-large bid to the best paying bowl games.
"One thing we will discuss is whether or not the pool of eligible at-large teams should be increased, given the additional two slots with the fifth bowl," new BCS coordinator Mike Slive said. "I'm not saying we will or we won't. There will be discussion and I anticipate a decision will be made and recommended."
Slive, the Southeastern Conference commissioner, and the rest of the Division I-A conference commissioners that make up the BCS braintrust begin four days of meetings in Phoenix on Monday. For the first time in three years, they'll gather with no major changes needing to be made to the system used to crown a major college football champion.
Two years ago the BCS simplified its standings formula, emphasizing the polls over the computers. Last season the formula stayed the same, but a new poll was created to replace The Associated Press Top 25. The Harris Interactive poll, voted on by former college football players, coaches and administrators, plus some media members, took the place of the AP poll.
The status quo will be in effect this season.
"We anticipate that the BCS standings will again be made up of the Harris poll, the coaches' poll and the computers," Slive said.
Last season, after two straight years filled with controversy, everything fell into place nicely for the BCS.
Southern California and Texas were the undisputed top two teams in the country, and both were undefeated when they played in the Rose Bowl for the national title. The Longhorns knocked off the defending champion Trojans in a game that will go down as one of the best in college football history.
The decision to add a fifth big-dollar game was made in 2004, with BCS officials feeling pressure to provide greater access to teams outside the six conferences with automatic bids.
The BCS championship game will now be played a week after the four other marquee games at the site of either the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta or Orange bowls. The Fiesta Bowl gets the first shot at double hosting. Fiesta Bowl officials will be part of the BCS meetings this week.
"So there are several format and administrative issues that are not necessarily newsworthy, but that will take some time and some thought and some consideration," Slive said.
Representatives from Fox, the new television home of the BCS, will also be on hand.
Fox takes over for ABC after signing a four-year deal worth $320 million for the broadcast rights to the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls from 2007-10 and the national title game from 2007-09.
The Rose Bowl, which negotiates its own TV deal, will still be on ABC.
Fox is in charge of naming the new championship game and finding a sponsor.
"It doesn't do me any good to speculate," Slive said when asked about possible sponsors.
The Sugar Bowl has a new sponsor this year – AllState Insurance replaces Nokia – and should be back in its old home.
The Sugar Bowl made a temporary move to Atlanta last season after being forced out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. The Sugar Bowl is expected to return to the Superdome this season. "The Saints expect to play there so we think by the time the Sugar Bowl comes there won't be an issues,"Slive said. "We're really looking forward to getting back to New Orleans."
A P / Dallas Morning News
Friday, December 2, 2005
Just the other day, my watch stopped. It was perfect timing.
It reminded me of what we shouldn't forget about the BCS even as it is so close to providing a national championship college football game matching the only two undefeated teams left in the land. Like a broken timepiece that is right twice a day by mere happenstance, the BCS is right once in a while due to absolutely unadulterated sheer luck.
So should USC and Texas remain unscathed after today, do not be fooled. It will not be evidence that the BCS works.
It will be proof only that the BCS got lucky like that proverbial blind squirrel that happens every now and then to nudge into a nut.
I hate the BCS. I hate it because it does not work.
I hate it even more in the years like this one when it appears ready to provide its proponents with restful sleep. I take solace in the fact that these years are so rare.
This, after all, threatens to be just the third time during what is now an eight-year BCS error, uh, era, that two teams finished the season unbeaten.
In 2003, no team went undefeated. In three other seasons, only one team hit the bowl season with a spotless record.
That's the way I like my BCS, in total disarray. I long for finishes like last season's when three teams wound up undefeated and Auburn, despite having stayed perfect in the SEC, perennially the toughest football conference in the country, didn't win one of the two chairs left when the music stopped playing.
The ugly beauty of last season is enough to make me root for one of the potential apple cart turners today, from UCLA or Colorado, to leave the BCS naked once more so that all of its warts can be seen.
How lovely it would be today if USC's crosstown rival upset the defending national champions by, say, a last-second field goal, sending the Trojans into a free fall all the way to, oh, no less than No. 2 in the BCS rankings. Imagine the howling heard from Mount Nittany, in whose shadow Joe Paterno's No. 3 Penn State sits.
"I would be shocked if USC lost by any amount and was No. 2 in the polls," said BCSologist Jerry Palm. "Apparently, I'm the only one who would be.
"If USC and Texas both lose, Penn State is in [the Rose Bowl] for sure, and it depends on what the voters do as to whether or not USC slips in at No. 2."
Is that a foolproof system? No.
The BCS hasn't worked out going into today. USC and Texas are what has worked. The BCS will be nothing more than a beneficiary should they both win.
Many of us realize this truth. To be sure, on Friday afternoon the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, which is charged with, among other things, regulating America's sports industry, announced it will conduct a hearing on the BCS next week after this season's bowl matchups are determined. It refuses to let a USC-Texas Rose Bowl matchup be wool pulled over the eyes.
"College football is not just an exhilarating sport, but a billion-dollar business that Congress cannot ignore,' said committee Chairman Joe Barton, a Texas Republican of all things. "Too often college football ends in sniping and controversy, rather than winners and losers. The current system of determining who's No. 1 appears deeply flawed."
Hear, hear! What is on the verge of happening is coincidence, not clockwork.
The way the BCS usually works is being born out in the other bowls that carry its stamp.
Take, for example, the Fiesta Bowl. It reportedly is preparing to send an invitation to Notre Dame rather than the team it should, Oregon. Indeed, the Fighting Irish under their new coach Charlie Weis, who won a new 10-year contract after a 5-2 start, have lost twice, just like they did in their first year under their last coach, Tyrone Willingham, who got nothing more than a pat on the back after an 8-0 start his first year in South Bend, Ind.
But I digress. Anyway, Weis' Fighting Irish are ranked eighth in the BCS.
Oregon has lost once, falling hard to USC, and is ranked one rung ahead of Notre Dame in the BCS. But it appears headed to the Holiday Bowl.
That's how ridiculous the BCS is in a typical season. It winds up placing some team in the title game that is less deserving of the opportunity than some other team.
Fortunately for the BCS this season, things look to be turning out atypical.
By Kevin B. Blackstone / The Dallas Morning News
Friday, December 2, 2005
Buried within the legalese that makes up the Bowl Championship Series media guide are four – oh, what shall we call them? – loopholes that bowl executives can use to create better matchups.
Skip the first three and go straight to No. 4:
"An alternative pairing would have greater appeal to college football fans."
This is why Tostitos Fiesta Bowl president John Junker should grab Notre Dame with the first overall pick of BCS teams available.
Even with two losses, the Fighting Irish have more appeal than any one-loss team out there. And let's face it – having Notre Dame in the BCS is what's good for college football.
That's why, assuming everyone follows the script today, Oregon (10-1) will be the team on the outside of the BCS party looking in when the pairings are announced at 4 p.m. Sunday.
"I know who has the picks," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said on a conference call Thursday. "I just don't know who's picking us."
According to the BCS selection process, the bowl that loses its anchor team to the national championship game gets to make the first selection. The Rose Bowl is anchored to the Pacific-10 conference. The Fiesta Bowl is anchored to the Big 12.
If Southern California and Texas both play in the Rose, as expected, the Fiesta gets to make the first selection of teams available.
There are good teams out there. But no team can deliver the fans, the excitement and the TV ratings that Notre Dame does.
Now, it's worth mentioning that not everybody is keen on having the Irish in the BCS discussion.
Notre Dame lost to 5-6 Michigan State in overtime, 44-41, back in September.
The Irish also lost a thriller to the top-ranked Trojans, 34-31, on Oct. 15. (That result should have asterisk beside it, because Reggie Bush knowingly violated the rules by shoving Matt Leinart into the end zone.
He wasn't caught by the officials, but we'll see that play ad nauseam come Heisman week.)
It should be noted that Weis' club has not piled up a bunch of victories against college football's elite.
Notre Dame has defeated only three teams with winning records – Michigan (7-4), BYU (6-5) and Navy (6-4).
Meanwhile, Oregon's only loss was against USC, a 45-13 whacking on Sept. 24. Oregon also beat Houston, Montana and Fresno State in nonconference play. That's good enough to get the Ducks into the top 10 of the BCS, but not good enough to trump the Irish's allure.
Sorry, Oregon. Don't be upset about falling to the Holiday Bowl for a date with Oklahoma, your most likely opponent. Pouting didn't help California last year against Texas Tech.
Astute minds remember that there are two at-large BCS selections. Why can't Notre Dame and Oregon both go to BCS games? Ohio State is sitting there at No. 6 in the BCS standings with a 9-2 record.
The Ducks, even with all their Nike money and horrible yellow jerseys, are just not a major college football power. Given the choice between Ohio State or Oregon, bowl executives are going to grab the Buckeyes every time.
Junker may be pulling for No. 2 Texas harder than any Orangeblood today against Colorado. A Buffaloes win means that Gary Barnett's team must play in the Fiesta Bowl, and that would allow Notre Dame to slip to either the Sugar or Orange Bowl.
Notre Dame's in the BCS, no doubt about it. As Weis said, it's only a question of where. It's good for the BCS and good for college football.
So pull out Rudy and polish up those gold helmets. The Fighting Irish are BCS bound come January.
Rules were created so Notre Dame could play in a BCS bowl. However, the Irish have played in only one of the four major bowls since the BCS started in 1998.
Year Record Bowl (Result)
1998 9-3 Gator (Lost to Georgia Tech, 35-28)
1999 5-7 None
2000 9-3 Fiesta (Lost to Oregon State, 41-9)
2001 5-6 None
2002 10-3 Gator (Lost to N.C. State, 28-6)
2003 5-7 None
2004 6-6 Insight (Lost to Oregon State, 38-21)
2005 9-2 TBA
By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News
Numbers crunch :
Some years, we complain a little. Ohio State and Miami were the only two unbeaten teams left in 2002. They met in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and staged a classic. Other years, we gripe a lot. How Nebraska got into the 2001 title game without winning the Big 12 North still seems mind-boggling.
This year, the BCS is facing serious questions about its legitimacy – and the season hasn't even started yet.
BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg seemed convinced that devising a new poll to replace The Associated Press Top 25 was better than blowing the whole thing up and starting over. So now, college football fans can look forward to the Harris Interactive poll, which is made up of 114 former college players, coaches, administrators and media.
The concept behind this new poll seems like a good idea on paper. Ex-college football types who still have an active interest in the game can study up each week and devise a legitimate top 25. After all, BCS officials figure, who knows college football better than those who played the game, right?
"Well, it remains to be seen how it all works out," said Weiberg, who is also the Big 12 commissioner. "But it worked out in a sense that we're able to move forward with the standings in a status-quo way, and I think that's probably a good thing at this point.
"The system has been controversial enough without a lot of additional dramatic changes."
This new poll still will count one-third of the BCS formula, just like the AP poll did. The new poll has transparency; voters must reveal their final ballots Dec. 5. And it will start Sept. 25, long after dozens of games have been played and we have a real idea of who's good and who's not.
But skepticism about the 114-member voting panel cranked up hours after it was released. Some voters seemed too old, others have sketchy ties to college football and others are still playing football.
"To tell the truth, I did not know a couple of them were still alive," former Texas coach John Mackovic wrote in a guest column for The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif. And he's voting in the poll.
Harris poll organizers expect 100 percent participation every week. Harris spokeswoman Nancy Wong could not say if the poll would be delayed if stragglers fail to submit ballots.
"We're confident that we're going to get 114 rankings every Sunday night," Wong said. "We understand that unforeseen circumstances can occur. But in every case, we're prepared to address those."
American Football Coaches Association president Grant Teaff oversees the USA Today coaches' poll, which also counts one-third of the BCS formula. (An average of four computer rankings make up the final one-third.)
Teaff's poll was criticized last year because coaches would not reveal their ballots. That's changed this year, though. Coaches must reveal their final regular-season ballots.
Having run the BCS gantlet himself, Teaff said college football fans should give the Harris poll a chance.
"The proof may be clearly in the pudding," said Teaff, who labeled the panel eclectic. "It may be fraught with problems and criticism, but I think everybody has consciously given it their best effort, and we'll have to see how it plays out."
ESPN drops out of coaches' poll
Thanks to some prodding by BCS officials, Division I-A coaches who vote every week will release their final regular-season ballots. The goal is to give the coaches' poll more transparency – and, in turn, more credibility. That still wasn't good enough for ESPN, which ended its eight-year partnership with USA Today in sponsoring the weekly coaches' poll. ESPN asked that each coach release every ballot all season long, something the American Football Coaches Association wasn't willing to do.
Harris Interactive poll
Total voters : 114
First poll released : Sept. 25
USA Today coaches' poll Total voters : 62
First poll released : Aug. 5
Average of four computer rankings
Rankings used include Jeff Sagarin, Anderson and Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey and Dr. Peter Wolfe. The highest and lowest scores are disregarded.
Every year, nuances in the BCS rulebook trip up college football fans. Here's a list of things to remember as the season winds toward Dec. 4, the day the final BCS standings are released.
1. All Division I-A teams are eligible for BCS games as long as they have won nine regular-season games. Victories over Division I-AA teams can be counted toward that total. Also, the team must be in the top 12 of the BCS standings. Example: If SMU wins nine games this season and finishes 12th or higher in the BCS standings, the Mustangs would be BCS-eligible.
2. No more than two teams from any conference can play in BCS bowls. Example: Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M cannot all play in the four BCS bowls. Only the top two teams from that conference would be likely to go.
3. Any team from a smaller conference – such as Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, WAC or Sun Belt – that finishes sixth or higher shall automatically qualify for a BCS game. Example: Utah, members of the Mountain West, finished sixth in the final BCS standings last season. The Utes automatically qualified for a BCS bowl, and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl officials chose them to play against Pittsburgh, the Big East champion.
4. If a team from an automatic-qualifying conference (Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Southeastern, Pac-10 and ACC) is ranked third or fourth and is not the conference champion, that team will automatically fill one at-large spot and play in a BCS bowl. Example: Texas finished fourth last season in the BCS standings. But Oklahoma won the Big 12 title. Still, the Longhorns earned an automatic bid to a BCS bowl, in this case the Rose.
5. If two teams from an automatic-qualifying conference finish third and fourth and neither is a conference champion, then only the third-place team gets an automatic qualification. BCS rules state that both teams cannot qualify for this provision. Example: USC and Oklahoma both win their conferences and finish 1-2. Then, California and Texas finish 3-4. Cal would automatically qualify to fill an at-large spot, and UT would be left out.
6. If there are any at-large spots remaining after all previous rules are used, then BCS bowl officials can select any team from among the pool of teams ranked 12th or higher.
IN THE CROWD
Kevin Weiberg, BCS coordinator
The Big 12 commissioner is the public face of the BCS. He's the one who speaks to the media about BCS issues, formula changes and the outcome of the final standings.
Steve Hatchell, National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame president BCS officials pay Hatchell's organization $200,000 to calculate the weekly BCS standings and release them to the public.
Grant Teaff, Executive director of the American Football Coaches Association
The legendary Baylor coach now presides over the AFCA and represents the coaches' interests in BCS meetings.
Tom Hansen, Pac-10 commissioner Hansen was the BCS' most vocal critic among conference commissioners last season when Cal was shut out of the Rose Bowl.
Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma athletic director Castiglione represented the Big 12 during BCS meetings since Weiberg theoretically represents all conferences in BCS matters.
Rick Baker, SBC Cotton Bowl president Baker's management could put the bowl in a good position to join the BCS if the system ever expands.
John Dorger, Rose Bowl executive director Paul Hoolahan, Nokia Sugar Bowl executive director John Junker, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl president Keith Tribble, FedEx Orange Bowl chief executive officer
Average of the media and coaches' polls
Average of three computer rankings
Strength of schedule rating
Schedule rank, a formula that calculated win-loss records of a team's opponents and win-loss of a team's opponents' opponents. One-point deduction for loss
End result: Tennessee capped its best season in history by beat- ing Florida State, 23-16, in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Crying foul : Kansas State was BCS-bound until it lost to Texas A&M in the Big 12 championship. The Wildcats fell all the way to the Alamo Bowl.
1999: Florida State
Average of the media and coaches' polls
Eight computer poll rankings. Lowest ranking is discarded, and remaining seven rankings are used to calculate average.
Strength of schedule rating Schedule rank
One-point deduction for loss
End result: Both human polls and seven of the eight computer rankings have two undefeated teams, Florida State and Virginia Tech, slotted 1-2. Those teams meet in the Nokia Sugar Bowl, and the Seminoles defeat the Michael Vick-led Hokies, 46-29.
Average of the media and coaches' polls
Average of seven of eight computer rankings, same as in 1999
Strength of schedule rating
One-point deduction for loss
End result: Oklahoma and Florida State met in the FedEx Orange Bowl, and the Sooners captured the national championship with a 13-2 victory.
Crying foul: Miami was second in the media and coaches' polls, so many concluded the Hurricanes should have been in the Orange Bowl. But Miami was ranked lower by several computer rankings.
Average of the media and coaches' polls
Average of six computer rankings. Eight are actually used, but highest, lowest totals are disregarded.
One-point deduction for loss
Quality-win component. Bonus points are awarded for wins over opponents ranked in the BCS top 15.
End result: One season after getting shunned by the BCS, Miami humiliated Nebraska, 37-14, in the Rose Bowl.
Crying foul The computers helped Nebraska reach the title game even though the Huskers failed to win the Big 12 North. Oregon and Colorado believed they had a claim to play Miami.
2002: Ohio State
Average of the media and coaches' polls
Average of six computer rankings Seven are actually used, but the lowest total is disregarded
One-point deduction for loss Quality-win component. This season, victories over opponents ranked in the BCS top 10 are only awarded bonus points.
End result: In perhaps the best BCS championship game yet, Ohio State knocks off Miami, 31-24, in double overtime. Both teams were previously undefeated.
Average of the media and coaches' polls
Average of six computer rankings. Seven are used, but lowest is thrown out.
One-point deduction for loss
Quality-win component, same as 2002
End result: Kansas State shocks Oklahoma in Big 12 championship game, but Sooners advance to Nokia Sugar Bowl because of large margin in standings. LSU defeats OU in BCS championship game.
Crying foul: USC believes it should play LSU in the Sugar Bowl after winning the Pac-10. Media vote USC No. 1 in the final AP poll, creating a split national championship.
2004: Southern Cal
Associated Press Top 25 ESPN/USA Today coaches' polls
Average of four computer rankings. Six are actually used, but the lowest and highest are disregarded.
End result: In the first year of streamlined BCS standings, USC and Oklahoma finish 1-2 and meet in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Crying foul: Auburn finishes
the regular season undefeated, and coach Tommy Tuberville complains
that the Tigers should be in the Orange Bowl. Also, Texas slips into the
Rose Bowl after California has a lackluster performance in its
By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News
August 25, 2005
Harris Interactive Poll officials spent Thursday scrambling to find new voters for their new college football poll after four potential voters were nixed for various corporate or personal reasons.
And by the end of the day, the number had grown to five.
ESPN announced Wednesday that former coaches Lou Holtz and Gerry DiNardo and former Pittsburgh quarterback John Congemi would not be allowed to participate in the new poll that will count one-third of the Bowl Championship Series formula. All have various roles with the network.
Network spokesman Josh Krulewitz said Thursday that Sam Smith, who works Sun Belt games on ESPN's regional network, was also asked not to participate.
ESPN ended its sponsorship of the coaches poll after last season, citing journalistic reasons. That's the main reason the network is not allowing its announcers to participate now, Krulewitz said.
College GameDay hosts Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit still will vote in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. The AP poll, however, is no longer in the BCS formula.
Jason Rash called BCS officials and asked to withdraw from the Harris poll, spokesman Bob Burda confirmed. As it turned out, Rash did not meet the requirements that a voter be a former player, coach, administrator or a member of the media. Rash's connection is that he is the son-in-law of Troy coach Larry Blakeney.
Nancy Wong, a Harris spokeswoman, said the poll still will have 114 voters. But they will have to solicit names from at least one conference, which she declined to identify, to maintain balance.
It's unclear if the five new voters will address other concerns that have been raised since the initial list was announced Monday.
There are no women on the panel, and the poll has received some criticism for not having enough minority representation. Wong said women were on the initial list of 300 submitted by BCS officials. She could not speak about the number of minority candidates. But all voters were selected at random, Wong said.
Burda said BCS officials were aware of the concerns raised about two other voters. Cleveland radio talk-show host Kenny Roda has pictures of Playboy models on his Web site under the link "hotties." Memphis radio personality George Lapides promotes a gambling Web site on his Web page.
Burda said the BCS has asked the conferences that nominated Roda (Mid-American) and Lapides (Conference USA) to decide whether they should be voters.
By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News
Quick take: Poll a safe play
August 23, 2005
There is safety in numbers, and that's why I think the Harris Interactive poll can be an adequate replacement for The Associated Press poll in this year's BCS.
The names of the 114 voters were released Monday. Many of them are recognizable to people who followed pro football as many as 30 to 40 years ago – E.J. Holub, Pat Richter, Jim Ray Smith, Ed Podolak. Then there are some coaches long removed from the college scene – Eddie Crowder, Earle Bruce, Bill Battle.
Are these gentlemen really going to watch college football 10 to 12 hours on Saturdays to get as accurate a picture as possible of the national scene? Who knows?
And if broadcaster Terry Bradshaw is doing that, he's obviously skipping production meetings and not preparing the way a seven-figure talent should for Fox NFL Sunday.
I wonder, too, if Rocket Ismail's life is so mundane that he will find himself plopped on a couch to watch Oregon State play Cal at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night.
But with so many voters from across the country, the risk of a few participants skewing the rankings is minimized. There are more voters in this poll than there are in the USA Today coaches' poll and in the AP poll.
So that's a good thing. Now get your Tivo ready, Rocket.
By Tim Cowlinshaw/ The Dallas Morning News
August 23, 2005
Panel made up of 114 former players, coaches and administrators
Bowl Championship Series officials believe that creating a new poll made up of former college players, coaches and administrators would be the best way to replace the Associated Press poll.
Fred Jacoby, the 77-year-old former Southwest Conference commissioner, has another view.
"I kidded them a month ago about us being the Has-Beens and Over-The-Hill gang," Jacoby said Monday.
Everyone from 80-year-old retirees to 43-year-old real estate agents will now help determine who plays for college football's national championship.
Even glib NFL announcer Terry Bradshaw is part of the 114-member voting panel that comprises the Harris Interactive poll, which will count one-third of the BCS formula.
Jacoby's still working these days. He's the commissioner of the Lone Star (Division II) and American Southwest (Division III) conferences based in Richardson. But there are plenty of other voters who no longer are actively involved with college sports.
Considering how controversial the BCS has become, it's a wonder they would want to get involved at all.
"Probably stupidity," former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes said. "I guess your ego gets you a little bit. But I do think it's important, and it's not going to be simple. You've just got to do what your convictions tell you to do and go on down the road."
The first Harris poll will be Sept. 25. Voters are expected to release only their final ballot Dec. 5.
Just don't expect Dykes to sit at home every Saturday watching football from noon to midnight. The 67-year-old said he wants to get out and attend games at Texas, Texas A&M and Tech.
"And I've got a friend who just took a job at McMurry," Dykes said. "We're going to go see him."
Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky nominated former SMU quarterback Lance McIlhenny. The 43-year-old Dallas resident said he watches the highlight shows, same as many fans. But McIlhenny admitted that he knows little about teams such as Virginia Tech or Illinois.
McIlhenny has other concerns, too.
"Any given weekend, if I'm fly fishing, how am I going to make sure that by 1 o'clock on Sunday that this Harris group will have my input?" McIlhenny said. "I guess there will be mess-ups, delays and people who aren't prompt. So that will be an interesting piece of all this."
The 114 voters, who can submit ballots by e-mail, phone or fax, are supposed to represent a statistical cross section of all 11 Division I-A conferences.
Essentially, each conference is represented by 10 people – eight former coaches, players or administrators and two media representatives. Three more voters represent Notre Dame, and the final voter represents all other independents.
BCS spokesman Bob Burda said he would not identify which voters represent which league. But it's rather easy to identify who could represent the Big 12.
Former Texas Tech linebacker E.J. Holub is a voter, as is former Oklahoma defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon. Jim Ray Smith was an All-American tackle at Baylor from 1952 to 1954. Bob Frederick (Kansas) and Max Urick (Kansas State) are retired athletic directors.
Age apparently was no factor in selecting a voting panel. Former Iowa AD Bump Elliott is 80.
Other names on the list are intriguing for other reasons. How will John Mackovic vote for Texas, the school that fired him after the 1997 season? Chuck Neinas runs his own consulting firm that helps hire college coaches all over the country, so how will he vote?
Others are just flat out odd. Bradshaw, the former Louisiana Tech quarterback, spends his Saturdays getting ready for CBS's NFL Sunday pregame show. Brentson Buckner is still playing with the NFL's Carolina Panthers.
Boomer Esiason, Anthony Munoz and Steve Largent are well known for their NFL exploits. Yet, they haven't been associated with college football in years.
"When you really think about it, I'm just one part of 114. Then, that's part of one-third," Jacoby said. "I guess it was somewhat of an honor to even be asked."
The 114 former players, coaches and administrators, and media members who will vote in the Harris Interactive College Football Poll (with affiliation if available):
Bobby Aillet, Louisiana Tech player
Gene Bartow, UAB athletic director
Bill Battle, Tennessee coach
Dick Bestwick, Virginia coach
Joe Biddle, media
Blaine Bishop, Ball State player
Kim Bokamper, San Jose State player
Terry Bradshaw, Louisiana Tech player
Wilt Browning, media
Earle Bruce, Ohio State coach
Brentson Buckner, Clemson player
Bob Casciola, former president of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame
Charlie Cavagnaro, UNLV, Memphis athletic director
John Congemi, Pittsburgh player
Jake Crouthamel, Syracuse athletic director
Eddie Crowder, Colorado coach and athletic director
Peter Dalis, UCLA athletic director
Charles Davis, media
Pete Dawkins, Army player
Gerry DiNardo, Indiana coach
Boots Donnelly, Middle Tennessee athletic director
Bill Dooley, North Carolina, Virginia Tech coach
Kevin Duhe, Louisiana-Monroe player
Spike Dykes, Texas Tech coach
Bump Elliott, Michigan, Iowa coach
Bert Emanuel, Rice player
Boomer Esiason, Maryland player
Don Fambrough, Kansas coach
Foge Fazio, Pittsburgh coach
Bob Frederick, Kansas, Utah athletic director
Andy Geiger, Ohio State athletic director
David Glazier, current senior V.P. Detroit Lions
Jim Grabowski, Illinois player
Mike Grace, media
Bob Grim, Oregon State player
Pat Haden, USC player
Dick Harmon, media
Bob Hammel, media
Tommy Hicks, media
Clarkston Hines, Duke player
Lou Holtz, South Carolina, Notre Dame coach
E.J. Holub, Texas Tech player
David Housel, Auburn athletic director
Rocket Ismail, Notre Dame player
Fred Jacoby, former Southwest Conference commissioner
Charley Johnson, New Mexico State player
Blair Kerkhoff, media
Mike Kern, media
Roy Kramer, SEC commissioner
Larry Lacewell, Arkansas State coach and athletic director
Dave Lapham, Syracuse player
George Lapides, media
Steve Largent, Tulsa player
Robert Lawless, Tulsa and Kansas president
Jack Lengyel, Navy, Missouri, Fresno State athletic director
Jim Lessig, MAC commissioner
Ferd Lewis, media
Ted Lewis, media
Mike Lucas, media
Mike Lude, Washington, Auburn athletic director
Tom Luicci, media
John Mackovic, Arizona coach
Don Maynard, UT-El Paso player
Don McCauley, North Carolina player
Joe McConnell, media
Mike McGee, South Carolina athletic director
Lance McIlhenny, SMU player
Ray Melick, media
Ted Miller, media
Darrell Moody, N.C. State player
Jim Morse, Notre Dame player
Craig Morton, California player
Jack Moss, media
Anthony Munoz, USC player
Chuck Neinas, former Big 8 commissioner
Tim Neverett, media
Dave Newhouse, media
George, Perles, Michigan St. coach
Ed Podolak, Iowa player
John Pont, Indiana, Purdue coach
Steve Preece, Oregon State player
Homer Rice, Georgia Tech athletic director
Pat Richter, Wisconsin athletic director
Paul Roach, Wyoming coach
Kenny Roda, media
Lou St. Amant
Harvey Schiller, SEC commissioner
Dr. Terry Schmidt, Ball State player
Dick Schultz, Virginia athletic director; executive director of NCAA
Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma player
Dick Sheridan, Furman, N.C. State coach
Irwin Smallwood, media
Jim Ray Smith, Baylor player
Larry Smith, Missouri coach
Sam Smith, media
Gary Spani, Kansas State coach
Ron Stephenson, former player
Nelson Stokley, La.-Lafayette, coach and AD
Jim Sweeney, Fresno State coach
Rick Taylor, Northwestern, Cincinnati athletic director
Whit Taylor, Vanderbilt player
Jack Thompson, Washintgon St. player
John Toner, Connecticut athletic director
Steve Townsend, LSU sports information director
Glenn Tuckett, BYU athletic director
Max Urick, Iowa State, Kansas State athletic director
Roger Valdiserri, Notre Dame sports information director
Bob Wagner, Hawaii coach
Frank Weedon, N.C. State sports information director
Frank Windegger, TCU player, coach and athletic director
Bill Yeoman, Houston coach
Hugh Yoshida, Hawaii athletic director
By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News
Angry Auburn coach can't bite bullet anymore
Tuberville bashes BCS because 13-0 Auburn didn't get a shot at title
July 29, 2005
HOOVER, Ala. – Six months after it was unbeaten and underappreciated, Auburn represents the flaws in the Bowl Championship Series. The Tigers proved a team could be 12-0 and play in a power conference and not get a chance to play for the national championship.
The promise of more BCS transparency won't fix an imperfect system, coach Tommy Tuberville said Thursday at the Southeastern Conference preseason media gathering.
"Nothing has been done to solve the problem," Tuberville said. "We have used a Band-Aid. You can have all the voting polls you want. Popular vote is not the way you have a national champion. You need to play it on the field. ... It is the system we have, it's the only one we have, but we can do a lot better."
Tuberville took the high road last season and didn't openly campaign to poll voters. He said a move to a playoff system must be generated by fans and the media.
That won't heal old wounds.
"If you sit in our football team's seat, it will make you pretty mad and make you disgusted with how it all went on," Tuberville said. "Nobody is at fault other than the group of people that have the opportunity to change the rules."
Auburn lost four first-round NFL draft picks, including two running backs (Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams) who were taken in the top five. Although Tuberville said this season's team has even more talent, the Tigers aren't generating much buzz after finishing 13-0 with a Sugar Bowl win.
"We'll be the underdog," said 6-9, 337-pound offensive tackle Marcus McNeill. "Everybody likes the underdog. Nobody wants to shoot the underdog. It's like, 'Come on, Old Yeller.' "
But Old Yeller got shot, someone noted. "We're not going to use that in our analogy," McNeill said.
President and CEO: Coach Sylvester Croom has a new role planned for running back Jerious Norwood – besides being Mississippi State's best player.
Croom would like Norwood to turn salesman after seeing him rush for 1,050 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
"Right now, you are the president of Jerious Norwood Incorporated," Croom said, recalling his advice. "Take every advantage of the media attention."
Georgia's test: Georgia's attempt for a soft opener backfired.
The Bulldogs, who lost All-America defensive end David Pollack and star quarterback David Greene, get Boise State in their first game. Boise State has won 22 of its last 23 games.
"When we brought them on the schedule, most of our fans were like, 'Who is Boise State? Are they a Division I team?' " Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "But I think it is going to force our players to be even more excited about the first game and force them to be even more prepared. There will be no chance of any complacency."
By CHUCK CARLTON / The Dallas Morning News
July 12, 2005
The BCS, created to crown a college football champion, has in turn created its own poll to replace The Associated Press poll in its rankings formula.
A hand-picked group of 114 former players, coaches, administrators and media will now constitute the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, conducted by the famed Harris polling service.
The Associated Press pulled out of the BCS formula after last season when Southern California, Oklahoma, Auburn and Utah finished the regular season undefeated.
The new poll will count one-third in the formula and will be weighted equally with the USA Today coaches' poll and the average of six computer rankings.
However, the new Harris Interactive poll won't be as transparent as the AP poll, whose members release their ballots each week. Only the final ballots at the end of the regular season will be revealed.
This matches the coaches' poll, which will reveal its final regular-season ballots for the first time this season.
"We felt it was important to have consistency in the two human polls," BCS coordinator and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg said. "To make them public throughout the season would mean each week would focus on who voted for whom and would detract from the games themselves."
Also, in keeping with the desire of the BCS to eliminate preseason polls, the Harris poll will not be conducted until Sept. 25, several weeks into the season. The first BCS rankings will be revealed Oct. 17.
One of the criticisms of last year's process was that Auburn had no chance to catch USC and Oklahoma because it started much lower in the preseason polls. USC and Oklahoma played for the BCS national title in FedEx Orange Bowl. Auburn played in the Nokia Sugar Bowl.
The coaches will still have a preseason poll that continues throughout the season.
"I think the coaches association felt very strongly that their poll, which they've had for years and years and always had a preseason component, was one that served as a significant promotion for college football leading into the season," Weiberg said.
Exactly who will be voting in the new Harris poll won't be revealed until the final voting panel is set.
More than 300 potential voters, nominated by the different conference offices, have been contacted. Harris Interactive officials said more than 80 have responded positively and are confident the goal of 114 will be reached.
The 114-member voting group is nearly double the 61 voting members of the coaches' poll and the 65 in the AP poll.
The voters will represent the 11 Division I-A conferences and will be proportional to the conferences that qualify automatically for BCS bowls, such as the Big 12, and those that don't. Media members will account for 20 percent of the group.
"Each conference has equal representation," Harris senior research scientist and director Renee Smith said. "We didn't want to make any assumptions about conference strength, because that's what we're trying to measure."
The BCS was designed to bring consensus to the various polls and rankings systems that often disagreed on a national champion. By creating another, wholly separate poll, the BCS has added yet another voice to the ongoing argument.
"I have complete faith in Kevin Weiberg and all of the other decision-makers who have researched the system," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said in a statement. "I still believe what we have now is better than what existed prior to the BCS."
What's new: The Harris Interactive College Football Poll will replace The Associated Press poll in the BCS formula that determines who plays in the national championship game.
What's old: The formula will stay the same with the USA Today coaches' poll, the Harris Interactive poll and the average of six computer rankings each counting one-third.
Who's in? Voters in the new Harris Interactive poll will not be revealed until the final group is selected. It will be made up of former coaches, players, administrators and media.
The details: Like the coaches' poll, the final ballots of the Harris Interactive poll will be revealed at the end of the regular season. Unlike the AP poll, weekly regular-season ballots will not be revealed, although individual voters have the option to release their votes.
Also, the first Harris Interactive poll will not be released until Sept. 25, after several weeks of the season. Both the AP and the coaches release weekly polls starting with a preseason Top 25.
By KEITH WHITMIRE / The Dallas Morning News
Harris survey ought to help get selection process right
July 11, 2005
Another college football poll, shrouded in secrecy, is headed your way this fall. And, to be truthful, that's a good thing.
The folks whose miserable lot in life it is to run the Bowl Championship Series announced that the Harris Interactive Poll would join the USA Today coaches poll in this year's BCS equation with the computer rankings again comprising the third component.
The BCS people, headed by Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg, were forced to find a new poll to replace the Associated Press poll after the writers decided they needed to get out of the business of determining which schools get to cash seven-figure paychecks at the end of the season.
There are some little things you can quibble with as to the validity of any poll, and that's the case again here. In a national teleconference, someone raised a pretty good question as to why there are 114 voters (almost matching the 119 Division I-A schools) and yet Notre Dame had three nominees.
If I tried to repeat the answer supplied by Renee Smith, a Ph.D. who is a senior research scientist for Harris, you would go blind in about three paragraphs.
But by and large, a poll made up of 80 percent former college players, coaches and administrators and 20 percent current media members is going to get it right. In fact, that's what the polls did last year, even if nobody wanted to believe it.
Now when three teams from powerful conferences finish undefeated, you're always going to have an issue. That's going to be the year – and it happens about one out of 20 – in which those who scream for a playoff are probably right.
That's the only time they are right, though. And it wasn't really Auburn's failure to squeeze into the national title game that caused all the ruckus and necessitated the BCS changes.
That came about because Texas passed California in the final poll at the end of the regular season to leap its way into the Rose Bowl. The Golden Bears, Rose-less for more than 40 years, were sent to the Holiday Bowl, where they stunk up the joint against Texas Tech.
But voters, and I mean both writers and coaches, had every right to make that assessment after Cal barely beat Southern Miss in its final game of the season.
So I think this new poll will do about as good a job as the AP poll did, and it's also fitting and proper that the individual votes won't be released until the end of the year.
There's no reason to have weekly second-guessing of all these voters, same with the coaches. If that's going to be the case, everyone just has to try to vote the same way everyone else does rather than producing an honest assessment of teams' strengths and weaknesses.
As long as the majority of the people think an eight-team or 16-team playoff would cure all of Division I-A's ills (it wouldn't), the BCS will always be the butt of jokes.
They could do a lot to correct that just by making certain that teams that lose conference championships are ineligible for the BCS title game. That would have kept out Nebraska when the Cornhuskers didn't deserve to go to the Rose Bowl. That would have kept out Oklahoma when the Sooners didn't deserve to go to the Sugar Bowl.
One of the main reasons I remain against a Division I-A playoff is that winning conference titles should stand for something. That should be a team's goal at the start of the season. The other stuff is out of their control.
It would be nice if we could have one sport where we didn't choose one winner and 118 losers at the end of a season.
The BCS would get it right almost every time if it would just mandate that only conference winners, or perhaps an undefeated Notre Dame team, could play in the championship game.
The new Harris Poll won't be without controversy, but with a large sample of voters, the impact of regional bias should be eliminated. And each team will have played at least two games by the time the Harris group releases its first poll on Sept. 25 – another good idea.
The folks who run the BCS have a lot of good ideas. Because of one flaw in the system and the incorrect sentiment that a playoff is both workable and fair and wouldn't detract from the regular season, the BCS will never get any credit.
Tim Cowlishaw is a sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News.
ESPN pulls out of coaches' poll, BCS formula
Network doesn't want its name on rankings unless all ballots public
June 8, 2005
ESPN withdrew from the college football coaches' poll Tuesday, the second major news organization to say it didn't want to be a part of the Bowl Championship Series' weekly rankings.
The cable sports network said it no longer wanted its name attached to the rankings unless all ballots were made public, not just the final ones. USA Today will continue running the poll, which helps determine who plays for the national championship.
In December, The Associated Press told the BCS to stop using its media poll in its weekly formula.
"Coaches have the perfect right to conduct their voting the way they see fit," said Vince Doria, ESPN's vice president and director of news. "We just feel, in our best interests here, we couldn't reconcile having our name on the poll and being able to cover any controversy that might arise."
Unlike the AP voters, the coaches' ballots have always been secret. ESPN asked this year that they be public, but the coaches agreed only for the final regular-season poll. Doria said ESPN wanted it for the entire year.
"We just felt that to be as ethical as we possibly could in this situation, that's what we needed to do," Doria said. "This wasn't a case of us questioning the ethics of the coaches or the validity of the voting. These things tend to create controversy. When there is some vetting to be done, it needs to be done thoroughly and we didn't feel it could be done."
Doria said ESPN notified USA Today and the coaches' association of its decision, but not the BCS.
"There will still be a coaches' poll, and it will be used by the BCS, but we don't have a comment on ESPN's decision," said Bob Burda, spokesman for BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg.
The AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll had been the major components of the BCS rankings.
However, the AP said such use was never sanctioned and had reached the point where it threatened to undermine the independence and integrity of its poll. ESPN had sponsored the coaches' poll with USA Today since 1997.
Doria said the network became uncomfortable last season, when California lost a shot at a major bowl after dropping in the final coaches' poll, causing a public outcry and debate among fans.
Ohio St. vacates 2010 football wins, Sugar Bowl - (AP) July 8, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State is vacating its wins from the 2010 football season, including its share of the Big Ten championship and the Buckeyes' victory over Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. Responding to the NCAA's investigation of a memorabilia-for-cash scandal that cost former coach Jim Tressel his job and led to star quarterback Terrelle Pryor leaving school, the university also said Friday it is waiving a $250,000 fine imposed on Tressel and changing his resignation to a retirement. The move contradicts a comment university President Gordon Gee made last month when he said Tressel "will pay the fine." Through the school, the ex-Buckeyes coach said that he is taking responsibility for the NCAA inquiry, which developed after it was learned Tressel failed to report players receiving improper benefits. Tressel will attend Ohio State's Aug. 12 hearing before the NCAA infractions committee, the former coach's attorney said Friday. The university also is putting the football program on probation for two years, which means there would be harsher penalties if any further wrongdoing is discovered. The response to the NCAA doesn't mean Ohio State's woes are over. The governing body for college sports could still impose tougher sanctions, such as a ban on post-season play and a reduction in scholarships in the wake of the August hearing. Athletic Director Gene Smith wouldn't speculate on what else the NCAA might do, but he called the university's actions significant. Not only is the entire 2010 season wiped out along with the Sugar Bowl — the Buckeyes went 12-1, the lone loss coming at Wisconsin — but so is the university's seven-game winning streak over rival Michigan. "That's a significant impact to those who participated, and some of them are still here today," he said. Smith said the university will overhaul how it manages its football players, from the cars they drive to where they live, to the bars and restaurants they visit. "A lot of different strategies," he said. Smith said he felt betrayed by Tressel when the coach informed him he'd known for months that players had sold memorabilia or traded them for tattoos and cash at a local tattoo parlor without telling anyone at the university, as required under his contract and NCAA rules. "In the moment, yes, I felt betrayed. Why not bring that to me?" Smith said. "But I've gone on." The scandal unfolded in two stages. First, OSU officials announced in December they'd uncovered the memorabilia trading and sales and said they were suspending five players for five games in 2011 and one player for one. Then in March, the university learned that Tressel had known about the violations since April 2010. After backing him for weeks, the university pressured him to resign on Memorial Day. Players involved in the case had visited a tattoo parlor in Columbus owned by Edward Rife, who had been under federal investigation. Agents who searched Rife's home found the memorabilia and alerted Ohio State authorities. The 31-year-old Rife pleaded guilty last month to drug trafficking and money laundering charges in federal court and is awaiting sentencing. A federal prosecutor has said there's no evidence Ohio State players were involved in the marijuana ring. Officials said Friday they believed they'd uncovered all possible violations by football players. "You never know, but we've done a lot of due diligence," said John Bruno, faculty athletics representative. "We looked weeks to months to find something else and nothing has come up." Pryor was among the original group of players who was suspended for the first five games of this year. But he left OSU to try his luck in the NFL soon after Tressel quit, and now an unidentified player has been added to the list. --- Associated Press
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