Archive for Saturday, January 8, 2005

Commissioners plan changes in BCS

Selection committee under consideration, but school presidents aren’t interested in playoffs

January 8, 2005

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— While there still won't be a playoff in the Bowl Championship Series, the system definitely will be changed again.

Commissioners from the 11 Division I-A conferences met for more than five hours Friday to discuss needed changes. The meeting on the first day of the NCAA convention was only the first step.

"We just really began conversations," ACC commissioner John Swofford said. "I don't think any of us had the expectations that this would go too awfully far."

The primary issue is determining how to rank teams, especially the two that play for the BCS championship.

This was the commissioners' first meeting since The Associated Press last month asked that its poll not be used in the system's formula any longer.

BCS coordinator and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg said commissioners discussed a wide range of BCS issues. They also talked about determining which conferences get automatic spots in the system and the format for 2006, when a fifth BCS game is added.

"We had a productive discussion," Weiberg said. "We were framing the issues, not making any decisions."

There was no discussion of a playoff, Weiberg said, because there is no interest from school presidents and chancellors for such a system.

Weiberg said the BCS could look for a suitable replacement for the AP poll in rankings or use a committee approach similar to the one used by the NCAA to select the 65-team basketball tournament. Or there could be a combination of those two approaches.

"I don't know if I heard a best idea, but I heard a lot of thoughts," said Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, who is more open-minded to a committee approach since the AP poll has to be replaced.

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, the past BCS chairman, has championed the idea of a selection committee. He left early to catch a flight home, referring questions to Weiberg.

The BCS formula had been streamlined this season to put heavy emphasis on the two human polls, the AP and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Six computer rankings also are part of the formula. If the system moved ahead with just the coaches poll, Weiberg said he would be concerned if the coaches continue to keep their votes private.

"The transparency issue is one of our most important," Weiberg said. "That would put us is a position to have some level of discomfort moving forward."

The American Football Coaches Assn. is expected to discuss that issue when it begins its convention Sunday in Louisville, Ky. Coaches voted last month against releasing their final ballots. The I-A commissioners aren't expected to meet again until April, but may not make any final decisions then.

"Our goal is to get to April with a pretty firm direction," Weiberg said.

Weiberg said a committee approach to the BCS would be different than that of basketball, which uses a 10-person committee of conference commissioners and athletic directors to set the 65-team field at the end of the regular season. He envisions a committee meeting several times through the season.

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