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Coordinator: Series looking for AP poll sub

MIAMI -- With no plans for a playoff, the Bowl Championship
Series will consider using a committee of college football experts
to set the next national title game.

"I have to tell you, I really do not see an NFL-style playoff
coming to college football any time soon," BCS coordinator and Big
12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg said Tuesday.

Weiberg also said the BCS will search for a replacement for the
Associated Press poll to help rank the top teams.

Five teams took perfect records into this bowl season, prompting
many fans, players and even some coaches to call for a playoff
format.

Auburn and Utah won their bowl games, and Boise State lost for
the first time. Southern California and Oklahoma will play for
the BCS title Tuesday night in a matchup of unbeatens in the Orange
Bowl.

Weiberg said he is "very interested" in a committee structure
that would be similar to the one used to set the field for the NCAA
basketball tournaments.

"I'm not prepared to endorse it because I want to hear more
about the discussion with my colleagues," he said.

"I think we certainly need to take a look and see whether there
are alternatives in terms of whether there is another poll that
could perhaps be plugged into the spot that was there for the AP
poll," he said.

The men's NCAA basketball tournament uses a 10-person committee made up of conference commissioners and athletic directors to set
its field of 65 teams.

A BCS selection committee likely would need more than 10
members, Weiberg said.

"I don't believe it would be an easy assignment, and I think my
sense is, though, there would be people that would be willing to
serve and that care a lot about college football, that have been
tied to it in the past, that are part of institutions now that
would likely step forward," he said.

Even if a committee is used to set the 1 vs. 2 game, and
possibly even to create a pool of at-large teams for the bowls to
choose from, it wouldn't eliminate the need for the BCS standings.

Weiberg said he didn't envision a committee setting all the
matchups.

"We still are going to have a need in whatever system we have,
even with a committee, to have some sort of standings," he said.
"So it would be very likely that even in a committee structure,
there would have to be some sort of published standings. How often
it would occur, I don't know.

The Associated Press sent the BCS a cease-and-desist letter last
month, asking that the AP poll not be used in the BCS formula.

Last year, the BCS decided to emphasize the AP media poll and
the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll more than ever before. The two polls each counted for
one-third of a team's BCS grade in 2004. A compilation of six
computer rankings made up the other third.

The AP said the BCS's unauthorized use of its poll has harmed
AP's reputation and interfered with AP's agreements with AP poll
voters.

"I don't believe that the coaches' poll and a combination of
computers is sufficient," Weiberg said. "I think something else
is going to have to happen there."

Speaking at the Football Writers Association of America awards
breakfast, Weiberg said other issues BCS officials will address
this offseason include:

  • Future automatic qualification provisions for conferences. The new standard will allow all Division I-A conferences the
    opportunity to earn an automatic BCS bid.

  • The logistics of a fifth BCS game. A fifth game was added last year to allow greater access to the BCS. The new double-hosting
    model will have the current four BCS games -- Sugar, Orange, Rose
    and Fiesta bowls -- played about a week before the championship
    game. The championship game site will continue to rotate between
    the four major bowls.

  • Two television networks. The BCS signed a four-year deal worth $320 million with Fox last month for the broadcast rights to the
    Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls from 2007 to 2010 and the national title
    game from 2007 to 2009. ABC still owns the rights to the Rose Bowl.