'We've got to do something'
Tranghese: Hoops-style committee could be in BCS future
Posted: Sunday January 4, 2004 6:14PM; Updated: Sunday January 4, 2004 6:17PM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Conceding "we made a mistake," the head of the BCS said an NCAA basketball tournament-style committee might become part of the selection process next season -- reducing the possibility of a split national championship in football.
Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said Sunday several issues will be discussed in the coming months, including eliminating computers from the selection process and adding an extra Bowl Championship Series game.
The BCS came under intense criticism this season when USC, ranked No. 1 by the media and the coaches, was bypassed for Sunday night's Sugar Bowl. The Trojans were expected to remain first in The Associated Press poll after an impressive victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
Oklahoma and LSU, which finished 1-2 in the BCS rankings, were invited to the Sugar Bowl, with the winner assured of getting the top spot in the coaches' poll.
It's precisely the sort of co-championship the BCS was supposed to eliminate.
"We've got a system that somehow leaves the No. 1 team in both human polls out of the championship game," Tranghese told a group of football writers. "We've got to do something."
One method for addressing several different proposals is to set up a panel modeled after the one that selects the field for the 65-team NCAA basketball tournament. While the BCS poll would remain in effect, the committee could get together at the end of the regular season to determine which teams play for the national championship.
If such a committee had been in place this season, it could have overruled the BCS standings, pointing to Oklahoma's 35-7 loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game. LSU and Southern Cal, which each lost games earlier in the season, would have met in New Orleans.
Oklahoma held No. 1 in the BCS based on its strength in the computer rankings.
"Computers don't calculate when you lose a game," said Tranghese, coordinator of the BCS as part of a rotation among the six major football conferences. "The polls are a reflection of your performance from week to week. We should have thought of that. We made a mistake, and we should be criticized."
He said the BCS would discuss several options for tweaking the system, such as requiring a team to win its own conference to qualify for the national championship game.
Tranghese favors eliminating the computers altogether, perhaps keeping a scaled-back ranking system that incorporates the two major polls and the other factors already in place -- strength of schedule, losses and quality wins.
"Get rid of the computers," he said. "I hate those things."
A committee -- perhaps made up of representatives from the six conferences -- could oversee the selection process. But no system is perfect, Tranghese stressed.
"We've not even faced the ultimate problem," he said. "What if we have three undefeated teams? What if we have three teams with one loss, but none of them lost at the end of the year?"
On top of everything else, the non-BCS conferences are pushing for a greater role, having been shut out of the lucrative system that started in 1998.
"We're trying to open the door wider," Tranghese said.
But he also said the major conferences would retain their BCS dominance. "Do you really think there are teams out there that we left out that could have won the national championship?" he asked.
Tranghese also raised the possibility of changing the BCS name when the contract with ABC-TV ends following the 2005 season, even if the network wants to keep the moniker for marketing purposes.
"It's taken on a life of it own," he said. "Let's get one thing straight: We will determine what the name is, not ABC. If we decide to call it XYZ, it will be XYZ."
Tranghese said the BCS had no role in the coaches' guaranteeing their No. 1 spot to the winner of the BCS championship game. He described that as an arrangement between the American Football Coaches Association and the USA Today-ESPN poll.
Some coaches who voted USC No. 1 have grumbled about having to drop the Trojans on their final ballot.
"There's no rationale explanation for that, but we didn't make the deal," Tranghese said. "The coaches need to look in the mirror and say, 'I didn't know this?' They did know it. They just didn't think it through."
As for a playoff: No chance. Tranghese said college presidents won't allow BCS leaders to even discuss it -- even though a playoff would likely generate more revenue than the current 28-bowl system.
"If we could blow up the bowls and have a full-blown playoff system, just see how much money we could make," he said. "But it's not about money. It's about providing a lot of kids with a chance to play in a bowl."