Effort to change BCS gets 'no support' outside MWC
The BCS' Presidential Oversight Committee, in a Wednesday teleconference, heard conference-by-conference reports on the feasibility of implementing the Mountain West's eight-team playoff plan, but the idea received "no traction" from outside the MWC, committee chairman David Frohnmayer said.
After undefeated Mountain West champion Utah was left out of the BCS title game last season, the league unveiled a plan in March that would recast the BCS' four current bowls — FedEx Orange, Allstate Sugar, Tostitos Fiesta and Rose — as quarterfinals in an eight-team tournament. The winners would move on to a semifinal round the next week with two finalists emerging to play for the title.
However, the BCS has existing contracts to broadcast its five postseason games with FOX for the 2009 season and with ESPN for the following four years.
"The conferences and Notre Dame said a deal is a deal," said Frohnmayer, who is retiring next week as president of the University of Oregon and will be replaced as oversight committee chairman by Nebraska's Harvey Perlman.
"They signed up for this with their eyes open, and to unravel it now would make no sense. Nobody has a crystal ball to see what could happen five years from now. But it's fair to say the BCS had already considered almost every single aspect of this proposal in the past. We weren't plowing fresh ground in that sense."
Frohnmayer said some conferences were interested in possibly considering other elements of the MWC's plan in the future, "particularly those related to revenue, access and the governance of the BCS arrangement."
Frohnmayer said he believes the current BCS system, which combines human polls and computer ratings to select the top two teams for a one-game championship matchup, is the best marriage of schools' academic considerations with a business model that works.
"A lot of these playoff proposals have not thought about their business models," he said. "They seem to assume the bowls would be on-board with this. They'd wreck the Rose Bowl, which is the most storied bowl in American history. To say that would be a quarterfinal destination is ridiculous."
Last month, Utah senators Orrin Hatch (R) and Bob Bennett (R) sent a letter to Frohnmayer and BCS coordinator John Swofford, criticizing what they called "inadequacies" in the existing system, including, "the continued denial of a fair opportunity for teams to compete for the national championship, and the manner in which significant broadcasting revenue is distributed."
Frohnmayer, however, said a league such as the Mountain West receives about "10 times" the revenue from the BCS than it did under prior postseason systems. A former Oregon attorney general and ex-member of the state's House of Representatives, Frohnmayer also criticized the possibility of congressional intervention in the debate over whether there should be a playoff, especially considering the economic conditions facing the country.
"Tinkering legislatively with a football playoff system as a national priority is a huge waste of my taxpayer dollars," he said. "I think taxpayers would look at it in real anger. To tinker around because you don't like the outcome of a football season is a classic misuse of priorities."