Just recently SB Nation has brought aboard a great site, Sports Radio Interviews which is a great site that puts together the top interviews on their site with audio and a short recap of the interview. Also, since they are part of SB Nation they will be giving us even more radio interviews each day that do not make the cut on their site.
This particular interview did make the cut on their site since it is with BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock. Yes, the boos will be raining down, and for those who have read 'Death to the BCS' this will seem comical and make you upset at the same time.
Bill Hancock joined KTAR in Phoenix to talk about how he feels the BCS system has been sufficiently tweaked over the years, why he's confident saying that college football is better off without a playoff system, how the system has incentivized teams to schedule well out of conference and the down year the Big East conference is having. The audio will be provided at the end of this post, but here are some highlights of the interview with a little commentary.
On how close he feels to having a system that's close to perfect at pitting the top two teams against one another in the final game:
"We're pretty close if we're not there. You know, in the first several years of the BCS, we kept making changes as we discovered there were little things that were wrong. That was all a part of the growing process. This is our 13th year, and I think we've just about got it right. Every year though at the end of the season, the commissioners - the 11 conference commissioners who manage the BCS - break it all down, look at it, discuss it, is there a better way. And I think one thing is that all those changes early on led to a little bit of a lack of public understanding of how it all worked. Now that we've settled in and had the last five or six years of the same, I do think that the public is coming to a better understanding of it which is a good thing."
The reason the fans never understood the BCS is because the computer formulas are still kept secret from the public (the BCS does not check the math either) and the formula to determine what qualifies a league to gain access was just released this summer for the first time in the 13 year history of the BCS. Transparency is a good thing, but the one thing that tweaking the BCS formula can never do is to figure out what to do between undefeated teams.
The BCS has stated if you win your games you get a shot, but that is not true. Last year five teams were undefeated and were left out of the title. Also, the last time I checked there were 120 FBS teams who compete in the same division, but all are not treated equally at all to decide a champion.
Yes, we understand Bill Hancock,we understand what a load of crap the BCS is.
On why he can confidently claim that NCAAFB is better off without a playoff system:
"Two things primarily. One, we have the best regular season of any sport. Really the only regular season that means a whole lot. It's compelling, you have to tune in every week, or if you happen to go to the Galapagos one weekend, you're going to miss something exciting. And so we need to do everything we can to preserve the importance of this regular season.
It really is a treasure. And also preserving the Bowl system. With the Bowls in college football we have something unique. And it's an experience the student-athletes will never, ever forget. They get to spend five, six, seven days in a different culture with their teammates and have a Bowl as a reward at the end of the season. We believe a playoff would diminish the regular season and end the Bowl system, certainly as we know it."
The college football regular season, to me, is the best of all, but it is not the byproduct of the BCS or the bowl system. The NFL is also a much watch each week, have a playoff and get much better ratings then college football. The crap about the bowl system being unique is a joke, unique does not equal better. I have yet to listen to the full interview, but I would be good money he brings up a story about the Orange Bowl where a player injured his ankle on a jet ski and was unable to play and he called that a great experience.
That is not a great experience the player did not get to play in the game, plus in that story he mentions how a NFL team was playing the Miami Dolphins and rolled in Saturday afternoon and left Sunday night. Hancock mentions that is not the experience he wants for the college football players. It is proven the Bowl System would not fail in lieu of a playoff, well maybe a couple, and the regular season would have more meaning if home field advantage, auto bids, or when seeding is on the line where win may mean playing the Sun Belt champ and a loss would mean playing an at-large BCS team. I like how he gives no reasons as to why the bowl system or regular season would be diminished, but just says they will.
On if he thinks teams have been properly incentivized to put together more challenging out-of-conference schedules since Auburn got shut out of the BCS title game in 2004 with an undefeated record:
"I think so. Anytime there's undefeated teams, three or more undefeated teams, there's going to be controversy. And we get that. There would be controversy with any kind of a playoff - four teams, eight teams, sixteen teams. Somebody is going get left out; somebody's not going to get paired with the team they want to get paired with. And you just aren't going to avoid controversy in any kind of a playoff bracket, or any kind of a postseason event, no matter what it is. But one thing the BCS has done that I think a lot people miss out on is it's enabled the growth of programs - Boise State, TCU, Utah of course has a nice tradition, and TCU does too. But the BCS allowed those to flourish. And I don't think anyone would have thought 10, 15, 20 years ago that in the BCS, or any kind of national rankings - AP, Coaches, whatever - that you'd see TCU and Boise State 3 and 4 like they are this week.
And that's all happened because the BCS allowed it to happen, and created an environment where it could happen. And I'll give you really the best example of that - because of the BCS, Boise State and Oklahoma were able to play in Phoenix, and Phoenix folks that saw the game know they witnessed one of the greatest games of all time. And it gave Boise State a platform to show what they can do, it gave them a beginning of a stage which they could build on in recruiting, and really created the brand of Boise State. And it only happened because the BCS, because that game would not have happened in the pre-BCS days. So the BCS has really been good for everyone."
Oh goodie! The argument that there will be controversy over any playoff, while he is right it is a cop out excuse. Two teams severely limit teams that lose early or play in a inferior conference without the challenges of playing in the SEC compared to the Mountain West. However, even with a four or eight team playoff at least all of the undefeated teams would get a shot and a few well deserving one-loss teams.
His argument that says the BCS is the reason that Boise State, Utah and TCU have made them great is a joke. The BCS has allowed for some better matchups. Actually, only three of the six BCS matchups featured when the non-BCS was the underdog and the sixth was last year TCU vs. Boise State tilt. While Boise State vs. Oklahoma and Utah vs. Alabama were opportunities for those schools to show their muscle because of the BCS, but the BCS is not the reason they were ranked that high.
Winning games for years at a time are why they have been ranked where they are today, and television coverage is much better where nearly every game can be found. The out-of-conference schedule is partially true, because instead of playing an FCS team, two Sun Belt teams and a down and out mid level team; schools are now scheduling slightly better.
However, in reality if a team is in the SEC out of conference scheduling does not really matter, especially if you know your team is going to be in the top 15. The reason Auburn did not get a shot in 2004 was partly due to schedule, but also they were (I think) ranked in the low 20's and that USC and Oklahoma who were the consensus top two teams did not lose.
On how concerned he is by the Big East's mediocre year as a conference:
"Well, let me answer it this way - conferences earn their automatic berths over a four-year evaluation period. And the previous period which determined the AQs for this time, the Big East was way ahead of conference number seven. It wasn't even close. And I think people need to think about and remember that last year there were clamors for Cincinnati, an undefeated Cincinnati, to be in the BCS Championship Game. And now all of a sudden, because of one year, people are looking down their nose at the Big East. They're not having the kind of year the want, of course. They keep knocking each other off, and I just think it's important to remember that the automatic qualification is not a one-year arrangement. It's a four-year arrangement. Every conference has peaks and valleys, and this is the system that we have."
While the Big East may have been well ahead of the Mountain West during the last evaluation period, they were given an exemption to keep their BCS status since they did not qualify under the then-secret formula which decided if a league was to be given automatic status.
I surely hope that the Big East champion is 6-6 and gets worked by four touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl, but if Boise State or TCU are both undefeated and one is left out then there will be extreme outrage. Even if both TCU and Boise State get in there are still at least two dozen teams that deserve the bid over the Big East champion. As of today, the biggest loser will be Stanford.