They said it: Notable quotes about the BCS

They said it: Notable quotes about the BCS

Published Jun. 29, 2009 11:28 p.m. ET

"Even those longtime BCS critics like myself have to finally admit that the imperfect system has perfectly transformed the sport from a Saturday afternoon cookout to a national obsession." — Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 6, 2008

"Those who long for a college football playoff system need to understand, thanks to the BCS, there already is one. It's called the regular season." — Plaschke, ibid

"You want college football to adopt March Madness? It already has three delightful months of it — every game counts, every play counts, the most important regular season in sports." — Plaschke, ibid

"Division I-A college football has the greatest regular season in all team sports, and a playoff system would ruin that distinction." — Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star, Nov. 23, 2008

"(The BCS) has been great for college football. It's not perfect, but it has been great for college football." — Florida coach Urban Meyer, December 7, 2008

"The regular season is the main course, not some overpriced appetizer. There still might be a tidier way to settle the championship issue on the field, but don't let it come at the expense of the 12-game meat of the schedule. Want a playoff? It's taking place right now." — Jeff Shain, Miami Herald, Oct. 3, 2008

"A playoff would present as many problems as it does solutions. A playoff is politically unfeasible unless the regular season is shortened, which is financially unfeasible. A playoff could suck the life out of the regular season..." — Ivan Maisel,, December 1, 2008

"As much as coaches beat up the BCS, and I'm one of those that have been critical, I do think it's much better than the system we had when it got in place. There are a lot of really good things about the BCS, and it's got everybody talking about it right now. It's what college football wants. It wants attention, good attention, and everybody is sitting down with a pencil and a piece of paper trying to figure out how this crazy stuff is going to work." — Texas coach Mack Brown, to Jerome Solomon, Houston Chronicle, November 10, 2008

"The part of the sport to savor is not the finale but the regular season. In college football, every game has the fierce urgency of now. The uncertainty of what lies at the end makes the 12-game gantlet all the more nerve-wracking." — Ben Curtis, New York Times, Nov. 22, 2008

The BCS provides a "common-sense solution for a seemingly intractable problem that plagued the country for decades." — Curtis, ibid

"I coach high school football in Texas, and every year only one team ends up happy in your classification. You go the playoffs, the first round, the second round, the quarterfinals — oh how exciting for everyone. But you look at it, as soon as one of those teams gets beat, they're just forgotten. Now I know people say how much it works for basketball, but I think football is different. Is it really better for the kids to have a playoff or for at least half of them to go to a bowl game and say, 'We won the Gator Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, whatever bowl.' You have USC and Penn State going to the Rose Bowl, whoever wins that game — that's something those kids can talk about the rest of their lives. They finished by winning something with a name, a tradition. They got to play in the Rose Bowl, not just the quarterfinals. People would have you believe, 'Oh, the playoff would be perfect, ideal,' but I think that if we did it, in about six years, people would say, 'Oh my God, what have we done? We've ruined a perfectly good season's ending for a whole lot of teams for the benefit of one.' Is that really better for the kids?" — Sam Harrell, father of Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, to Harvey Araton, New York Times, December 9, 2008

"Isn't this fun? Is the way we do it really that bad? Think about it, we rarely argue about the national champion, just about the teams that ought to be talked about before we decide the national champion." — Jerome Solomon, Houston Chronicle, November 10, 2008

"People fear the so-called worst-case scenarios that would ruin the world of college football as we know it, and every year we have to tell you to calm down. Every year college football gets better and better. Those worst-case scenarios are overblown. We waste time talking about them. They almost never happen." — Solomon, ibid

"The decision makers for postseason college football have to consider much more than the entertainment aspect of the sport, and in weighing all the factors carefully and repeatedly, we have concluded that the format we currently enjoy is best." — Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, to Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2008

"I think college football has the most exciting regular season of any sport because there is not a playoff system. The whole season is a playoff system." — Georgia coach Mark Richt

"The overriding point playoff supporters miss is that a playoff changes everything. There's nothing neat and tidy about an eight-team playoff. If you take the six big conference winners and use some sort of formula or committee similar to the NCAA basketball tournaments to select the two at-large spots, how does that work? Does the team perceived to be the best of the (non-automatic qualifying) schools automatically get a selection? If so, that leaves only one at-large berth to a runner-up. If Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma all finished the season with one defeat, how would that choice be made? And how do you compare those teams to a one-loss Alabama? To avoid these kinds of questions, you have to go to a 16-team tournament and at that point, the regular season has lost its unique quality. If that many teams are postseason bound, then you completely alter the emotions that spilled out of Texas and Texas Tech fans in the final dramatic plays late Saturday night. College football is different from every other sport in that it doesn't always provide a bow on a neatly tied package at the end of the year. I will gladly sacrifice that in order to maintain the integrity of autumn Saturday afternoons and nights. Those are nothing less than the best days in sport." — Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News, November 7, 2008

"But here's the thing: since college football adopted the BCS as a convoluted, inexplicable method of staging a national championship game, the sport has never been more successful." — Ivan Maisel,, May 2008

"This amazing season does not prove, once and for all, the crying need for a playoff system, as some have argued. It's exactly the opposite. This season is proof that a playoff would only muck up something that works, albeit works chaotically. In college football, the known is the unknown. That's what makes it unique." — Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune, December 5, 2007

"A playoff system would destroy college football as we know it." — Allen Barra, Wall Street Journal, November 29-30, 2008.

"The argument we hear most — that college football is the only sport that doesn't have a playoff — is the best argument for keeping things the way they are. What's wrong with being unique? Why do people want college football to be like everything else?" — Morrissey, Chicago Tribune, November 21, 2008

"There is no regular season that delivers like college football. In movie parlance, it's an unpredictable two-hour thrill ride. Amid all the fun, we have people yelling that the sport has to change. It needs a playoff system. Why? So the casual fans who are confused by the BCS and the angry columnists who write about college football three times a year can get finality. So the next time someone complains about a 'BCS mess' or you hear the inane 'the BCS shouldn't have a 'C' in it' comment, roll your eyes, shake your head and smile. You know better." — Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 1, 2007