Some things go together like peas and carrots. Other things don’t, like the Pac-10 and the BCS. Ever since the BCS was incepted, Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen didn’t like it. Even today, he still doesn’t. Most recently Tom Hansen made his opinion of the BCS’s proposed Plus-1 system known. Without surprise, it wasn’t a supporting opinion. In fact, Mr. Hansen stated that the Pac-10 would leave the BCS if the BCS used a Plus-1 format! How bout that for taking a stand?
Mr. Hansen’s position on the BCS can be heard here in his latest interview with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd (thanks to Scott for sending this our way). Our dedicated reader, Scott, was also interested in knowing our opinions about Mr. Hansen’s position on Pac-10 bowls, TV coverage, the BCS, and Pac-10 expansion.
While I can’t speak for all the writers here at the California Golden Blogs, I certainly can give my two cents. But before I begin, I must be up front about one thing. I’ve been following college football since 2002. I’m relatively new to the scene. I wasn’t watching college football prior to the BCS. Nor was I watching college football during the inception of the BCS. Therefore, my opinions and insights of the college football controversies are probably a little narrow. Nevertheless, I have been following the whole BCS controversy since 2002 and am more than happy to give my opinion on it. So with that out of the way, I’ll begin.
Regarding Tom Hansen’s threats to have the Pac-10 withdraw from the BCS, I think that’s crazy and plain stupid. I know that the BCS isn’t on everybody’s A-list, but will it ever be? There are always going to be controversies and arguments that the BCS got it wrong. But is withdrawing from the BCS better than being a part of a system that undoubtedly has its flaws but actually pits the two (or at least two of the top three) teams in the nation against each other for the title of National Champions? I don’t think so. Mr. Hansen might be fine with the Pac-10 living in its own little ignorance and isolation bubble here on the west coast, but I’m not. Withdrawing from the BCS would be putting the Pac-10 in its deathbed. Where is all the money at in college football? The BCS. Leave the BCS and the Pac-10, along with all the Pac-10 teams, will lose out on possible BCS bowl game payouts, and national publicity. Less national publicity means less fans, less fans means less money, less money means… I don’t know but that can’t be good. And what is Hansen’s justification for not wanting to be a part of the Plus-1 system? He says the Pac-10 and Big-10 teams might not get seeded into the Rose Bowl, and we don’t really learn much else from having a quasi-playoff than what we already have under the current system. While I do agree with Hansen’s latter point, I have a different opinion about the former.
Regarding the possibility that the Plus-1 system will not seed a Pac-10 and Big-10 team into the Rose Bowl, I say that’s fine! I know all you Old Blues that are readings this probably want to stuff a stick up my butt, but what can I say? I’m a youngin’ and I didn’t grow up with the childhood dreams of having my favorite college team make it to The Granddaddy of ‘Em All. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to play in the Rose Bowl against a Big-10 team. One, because it’s a BCS bowl, and two because then all you Old Blues can die happy. But, I would rather have non Pac-10 and Big-10 teams play in the Rose Bowl than have the assurance that only Pac-10 and Big-10 teams play in the Rose Bowl because the Pac-10 seceded from the BCS. Once again, I’m against the Pac-10 seceding from the BCS. If some alternative was arranged where a Plus-1 system could happen AND the Rose Bowl was still Pac-10 vs. Big-10, then I’d be somewhat okay with that.
Regarding Herd’s comment that the Pac-10 is in bed with the Rose Bowl, it’s true. As much as I dislike Herd for his later comments that Cal is not a Top-15 team in 2007, I think he’s right about the Pac-10 and the Rose Bowl being in bed. Hansen seems set on doing anything to keep the Pac-10 tied to the Rose Bowl, as well as the Rose Bowl is set on being tied to the Pac-10. Tradition is great and all, but I don’t think keeping this tradition is worth leaving the BCS over.
Regarding Hansen’s claim that the Plus-1 model’s semi-final playoff games wouldn’t really tell us much more about who should play in the national championship game than what we already have now, I say he’s right. I doubt that the Plus-1 model will be free of controversies. With a Plus-1 model, even after the regular BCS bowls, there might be three undefeated teams (or three legit 1 loss teams) vying for the two spots in the national championship game. What then? If anything, the Plus-1 model might create MORE controversy. With the Plus-1 system, or any playoff system for that matter, it involves seeding. And how do you determine those seeds? With human voters you get regional bias for the purpose of lucrative bowl payouts. With computers you get people arguing that computers don’t know squat about college football and that teams abilities can only be measured by watching games (of course, these people saying this certainly do not watch ALL the top-25 games on each week either). Even using an 8 team playoff system there might be 9 legit teams, or 10 for that matter, than can make a serious argument for why they should be seeded. Even if you used a 4 team playoff system, there might only be 3 legit teams. Or what if there are 5? Controversy everywhere! I don’t believe playoffs are the solution for college football. I know the BCS in its current format is very controversial and has its flaws, but right now I don’t think there is anything better.
Regarding Hansen’s comments that the Pac-10 will not add two more teams for the purpose of a conference championship game, I think he’s on to something. Conference championship games are good for the team that wins, and bad for the team that loses. Isn’t it just better to leave the standings as is and just go into the bowls from there? Losing might knock you down a bowl. Winning could jump you up a bowl. Either way, I think it’s an unnecessary risk. Not to mention, a conference championship game would mean the top Pac-10 teams would play 14 or 15 games in a season! Yeah I know it’s all about the Benjamins, but the kids need some time to study. Okay, and I know the kids hardly have any time to study anyways, but more time is better than less time.
Finally, regarding the lack of Pac-10 TV coverage and good bowl games, the Herd is right. Our TV coverage sucks like Monica and the bowls are a joke. Obviously, the Rose is great. The Holiday Bowl is in a beautiful city but the matchup isn’t one to really get a national spotlight. The rest of the bowls are junk. Well, at least I don’t really care for them, but Ragnarok gives his opinion here.
In all, I believe that Tom Hansen has the ability to lead the Pac-10 into the dirt. I hope he doesn’t. Keeping the Rose Bowl purely between the Pac-10 and the Big-10 would be nice, but not at the expense of seceding from the BCS.