BCS to consider using committee, but no playoff


Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 at 12:19 a.m.

MIAMI - While he is not yet ready to endorse it, Bowl Championship Series coordinator Kevin Weiberg said Tuesday he is "very interested" in the idea of a selection committee to determine the teams for college football's national championship game.

The BCS, whose title game was played between No. 1 USC and No. 2 Oklahoma in Tuesday night's Orange Bowl, has come under heavy criticism this season on three fronts:

  • Auburn fans are incensed that their team could go 13-0 and still be denied a shot at the title.

  • California fans are livid that their team could get knocked out of the Rose Bowl on the whim of a few changed votes in the polls.

  • Fans in general are fed up with the sport's inability to crown a clear-cut national champ.

    The heat on the BCS increased in December when the Associated Press media poll, which has been part of its standings since 1998, said its poll could no longer be used to calculate the BCS standings.

    Weiberg conceded there is more anger and dissatisfaction with postseason football today than in recent years.

    "In the first few years (of the BCS) we have had issues, but it didn't seem to rise quite to the level of scrutiny and criticism that is out there at this point," Weiberg said. "There seems to be a high level of public angst."

    Weiberg, the Big 12 commissioner, knows a lot of unhappy fans are expecting him and his fellow commissioners to do something about it.

    Their options are limited.

    Commissioners from all 11 Division I-A conferences will meet next week during the NCAA convention in Dallas. They will discuss how to move forward, now that the AP has removed itself from the BCS formula.

  • The first option would be to find another poll in place of the AP. That's a problem because there is no other poll that has the credibility and prestige of the AP poll, which has been published since 1936.

    Weiberg said using only the remaining two components - the coaches poll and the computers - is not a viable option.

    "We haven't had a chance to sit down and discuss the options, but to me, the coaches poll and the computers are just not sufficient," he said. "I think something else is going to have to happen there."

    One of the big issues surrounding the coaches poll is the continued refusal of the American Football Coaches Association to make its final ballots public. The AP poll votes were a matter of public record.

    The AFCA will take up the subject at its convention in Louisville next week, but if the coaches insist on keeping their ballots secret, that could affect the final decision of the BCS.

    Fifty-five of the 61 schools whose coaches vote did not comply with a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution open records request to make their ballots public, citing a variety of reasons.

    "I still believe those votes should be made public," Weiberg said. "I think that could be an important part of our decision-making process as we weigh the alternatives between a committee structure as opposed to continuing with some sort of a poll system."

  • The second option would be a BCS selection committee, the structure of which would have to be determined. With a selection committee, the issues surrounding the polls would become moot. That's because the polls would then be used only as reference tools by the committee, not as hard and fast numbers that pick the game.

    If the BCS chooses to go the committee route, the tough part would be determining its makeup. Weiberg said the committee would have to be larger than the NCAA's basketball selection committee, which numbers 10. He also believes it would have to be made up of current athletics directors and commissioners. The bowl partners (Orange, Fiesta, Sugar, Rose) also would have to be represented.

    "You would have to have broad representation of the conferences," Weiberg said.

    The BCS will take up the issue in earnest when the commissioners meet in Arizona in April. A final decision must be made by early summer, Weiberg said.

    "We have to have something in place before practice starts, that much is certain," Weiberg said. "Needless to say, we have a lot on our plate for the next few months."

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