System doesn't address three-team situation

Updated: November 15, 2004, 7:26 PM ET
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU coach Nick Saban was not amused to see three teams jammed at the top of the polls again this year.

Saban, who suffered through the same situation last year when LSU was moving toward a national championship, said the BCS did not learn from what happened then when it changed its system.

"I think it's a great example how when you don't look at problems from a technical standpoint, that you make changes and decisions that don't really affect anything. Which is what we did from last year to this year," Saban said on Monday.

In three of the last four seasons, there have been at least three teams that had claims on the BCS title game. Last year, LSU beat Oklahoma in the BCS title game to take the BCS national title. Southern California beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl to win the Associated Press title.

After the split championship, the BCS revamped the system eliminating strength of schedule, team record and quality wins, and adding the AP poll and coaches poll rankings to the computer rankings to pick the opponents to play for the national title.

"They can change it however they want," Saban said. "But until they create a system that includes more than two teams, they won't be able to handle three teams at the top."

This week, USC remained at the top of both polls and the BCS standings. Auburn, however, tied with Oklahoma for second place in the AP poll. In the BCS standings it's USC, Oklahoma, and Auburn.

"So none of the changes that were made did anything to help the circumstance that we had last year," Saban said. "Nor will it help the circumstance that we might have this year."

This will continue to frustrate schools that believe they were unfairly prevented from earning a national title.

Saban advocates what he calls a "bowl-plus" system -- one or more games after the bowl games that would determine the championship.

He thinks adding to the length of the schedule in a tough physical sport and asking players to juggle class work and football for a true playoff system would be unfair. But he believes the top teams could play another game or two for the title.

"I think the bowl games are important to college football," Saban said. "But to play a game beyond that, or even have four teams after that. I think that's the way to decide."

Saban, who votes in the coaches poll, believes Auburn should have a shot at the title.

"If you go through our league undefeated and an SEC title game undefeated, I think you should have the right to play for the national championship," Saban said. "In saying that, that's no disrespect to USC or Oklahoma in terms of what they should be able to play for relative to what their teams accomplished."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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