The Arizona Republic
By ANDREW BAGNATO
The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX – As the Bowl Championship Series wrapped up its annual meetings yesterday, officials winced at the thought of what problems might loom for major-college football’s controversial national title scheme.
“We joke about it a little bit in terms of ‘What can go wrong next?’ ” Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said.
The main problem with the BCS is that it often spends the spring fixing problems that arose the previous fall. Such was the case again during this week’s meetings at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa as the BCS decided it would rather tinker with its controversial standings formula than overhaul it.
Last year, Auburn was the odd team out among three unbeatens while Texas grabbed an at-large berth in the Rose Bowl over California when some voters changed their last ballots. In part because of the resulting firestorm, the AP demanded that its poll be removed from the equation. After debate here this week, BCS officials decided to find a replacement for the AP poll, which comprised one-third of the three-pronged equation, along with the coaches poll and a computer average.
All signs point to a replacement poll to be administered by the National Football Foundation. It would consist of former coaches, players and athletic directors and perhaps even a few media members – so long as they’re willing to take the heat that comes with revealing their ballots at year’s end.
“We’re going to have to take a look at the component parts of such a poll,” BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg said. “Part of that would be who would vote.”
The BCS has asked the coaches to consider revealing their final regular-season ballots, and the coaches seem willing to comply. The BCS standings are used to set the pairing in the BCS title game and to determine access for non-aligned conferences.
Following the 2006 season, when a new national title game will debut in the Glendale stadium one week after the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the BCS will add two at-large spots. More bids means improved access for the BCS outsiders. But it also means that the six BCS conferences – the Pacific-10, Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern, Big East and Atlantic Coast – will be able to protect, and perhaps even improve, their revenue.
When Utah, a member of the non-BCS Mountain West, qualified for the Fiesta last year, it did so at the expense of California, which finished one rung higher than the Utes.
Under the new scheme, California would be in and the Pac-10 would draw an additional slice of a total pie estimated at some $150 million.