Coordinator: Series looking for AP poll sub

Originally Published: January 7, 2005
Associated Press

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.


    Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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