Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Design new grid to crown champ
Current BCS setup doomed to irrelevance
By Josh Dubow
The Associated Press
Don't even bother with the tweaks. The Bowl Championship Series needs an overhaul.
Another season of split champions showed that the formula designed to create a champion doesn't guarantee a lucid finish much more than the old bowl system did.
Even if Southern California and LSU were both worthy of a national title, that's no way to run a sport. Now it's up to the powers to figure out a way to fix this season's mess without creating another.
"I think we need to avoid the use of the word tweak because there are many different elements here," Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said Monday. "We might tweak one and radically change another."
The problem with making changes is there are so many constituencies ranging from BCS conferences to non-BCS conferences to bowls, networks, advertisers, fans, media members, athletic directors, university presidents, coaches and players.
And the goals of each group are often different.
"There's not a clear-cut answer that satisfies everybody involved," Rose Bowl chief executive Mitch Dorger said.
The changes to the BCS will be operating on two fronts.
First there will be the alterations to the formula that picks the two teams in the title game.
Second comes the big changes to be put in place for the new BCS contract in the 2006 season, which could include a mini-playoff after the bowls.
There has been talk about taking the four major bowl winners and playing two more rounds to determine a champion on the field. But Hansen said the only plan being considered will be a one-game championship after the bowls - a method the Pac-10 opposes.
"There won't be any two games plus one," Hansen said. "There will be a review of the plusses and minuses of one additional game. The Pac-10 presidents and chancellors oppose it for two reasons. One being the potential damage to the existing bowl games. The second being it would be a probable first step to a more elaborate playoff next time around and we're opposed to that."
Even seeding will create problems.
"If we had four teams, somebody who was fifth would get left out," LSU coach Nick Saban said.
Also, an extra game could prove unnecessary. Twice in the six years of the BCS, there were two major undefeated teams heading into the bowls, creating an undisputed title game like the one last year between Ohio State and Miami.
Maintaining the traditional bowl tie-ins followed by a championship game would create the same sticky problem of how to pick the two teams.
The BCS was embarrassed when USC finished the regular season No. 1 in both the Associated Press poll and the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll but was left out of the designated title game.
The Trojans were penalized by the computers for a perceived weaker strength of schedule, which might not have been so accurate.
According to Hansen, if the strength of schedule factor were allowed to differentiate between home and road games, USC would have made it to the Sugar Bowl. That's one possible change for next season.
This marks the third time in six years that the consensus top two teams in the polls did not meet in the BCS title game.
"I think we might lessen the role or prominence of computers," Hansen said. "If who's No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the polls is in agreement then those two teams should be in. We should only go to other factors if there's disagreement in the two polls."
But the underlying problem will always exist - no matter how many teams are picked the top one left out will always have a complaint.
AP Top 25
The Top 25 teams in the Associated Press college football final poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2003 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:
|1. Southern Cal (48)||12-1||1,608||1|
|2. LSU (17)||13-1||1,576||2|
|4. Ohio State||11-2||1,411||7|
|5. Miami (Fla.)||11-2||1,329||10|
|9. Washington State||10-3||1,060||15|
|10. Miami U.||13-1||932||14|
|11. Florida State||10-3||905||9|
|14. Kansas State||11-4||833||8|
|16. Boise State||13-1||645||18|
|23. Bowling Green||11-3||189||-|
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma St. 109, Arkansas 73, Virginia 36, N. Illinois 30, Auburn 8, Oregon St. 8, N.C. State 7, Pittsburgh 7, West Virginia 4, Connecticut 2.
USA Today/ESPN poll
The top 25 teams in the USA Today-ESPN final college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2003 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and previous ranking:
|1. LSU (60)||13-1||1,572||2|
|2. Southern Cal (3)||12-1||1,514||1|
|4. Ohio State||11-2||1,370||6|
|5. Miami (Fla.)||11-2||1,306||9|
|9. Washington State||10-3||983||14|
|10. Florida State||10-3||929||8|
|12. Miami U. ||13-1||800||15|
|13. Kansas State||11-4||746||10|
|15. Boise State||13-1||704||16|
|23. Bowling Green||11-3||170||NR|
Others receiving votes: Northern Illinois 80; Arkansas 74; Oklahoma State 63; Auburn 20; North Carolina State 17; Oregon State 15; West Virginia 14; Southern Mississippi 12; Fresno State 6; Hawaii 6; Pittsburgh 5; Texas Tech 4; Marshall 3; Virginia 3; Boston College 2; California 1; Connecticut 1; Memphis 1; Michigan State 1; Missouri 1; North Texas 1.
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