Bowl Championship Series Future to Be Finalized In June

May 25, 2004

By EDDIE PELLS
AP Sports Writer

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - With a few weeks left to make a decision thatwill shape the future of college football, Bowl Championship Series officialsare narrowing their options for adding a fifth game to theirmultimillion-dollar package.

BCS chairman Mike Tranghese said opinions among the six major BCSconferences and the bowls are changing frequently between models that would adda week to the season and those that would simply add a fifth game and leave thestructure relatively unchanged.

'I couldn't handicap it,' Tranghese said Tuesday in an interview with TheAssociated Press. 'I could tell you exactly what everyone's position was oflast week, and I could tell you that I think a lot of positions are changing.They've got to go back, got to study it, got to talk to their membership.'

What Tranghese does know is that models involving adding a week to theseason are still meeting resistance from school presidents.

'I think it depends on how much value we can extract out of the models,'Tranghese said. 'TV wants a playoff. They've been told `No.' Absent that, theywant a plus-one.'

ABC paid $525 million to televise the BCS for seven years, ending with the2005 season.

The fifth game is being added to give schools from smaller conferences abetter chance to make the BCS.

Under one model, the championship game would pit the first and second-rankedteams in the BCS standings at the end of the regular season in a second game atthe site of one of the current BCS bowls, the Fiesta, Rose, Orange or Sugar.

Another model, widely considered the one favored by TV and the public butleast likely to pass, would take Nos. 1 vs. 2 after the first four BCS gameswere played and pit them in a title game the next week in the fifth bowl.

The biggest advantage of a championship game a week later is that it wouldcreate a Super Bowl-like week of hype and would stand alone as the biggestcollege game of the year.

The disadvantage is that it would diminish the games being played the weekbefore, especially if one were being played at the site of the title game,which presumably would get the least-attractive teams of the eight to playduring BCS week.

The logistics of the plans are still be worked out, but Tranghese said theRose would likely only be interested if it could keep its traditional Pac-10vs. Big Ten game in the three years it doesn't serve as host of the title game,unless those teams are ranked first or second.

'I think that characterizes their position,' Tranghese said. 'Where weend up is another thing.'

The other option would be simply to add a fifth game and rotate the titlegame among the five, which is how the system works now with four bowls. Ninebowls are in the running for a fifth game.

'It's a process,' Gator Bowl executive Rick Catlett told the FloridaTimes-Union. 'They indicated they have a lot of work to do before their finaldecision and we're going to be patient and supply the BCS with any informationor help they need.'

Although BCS officials don't begin negotiating their new contract untilSeptember, the Rose Bowl starts talking with the Big Ten and Pac-10 in June,and that's the deadline the BCS has set for deciding on how to handle the fifthgame. The fifth game will start for the 2006 season, the first year of the newBCS contract.

Tranghese insisted that nobody feels rushed.

'I think the deadline's a positive,' Tranghese said. 'I think in ourheart of hearts, we know we have to make a decision, I think we're going to beready to make it and I think if we didn't have the deadline, we'd sit here andregurgitate it for three or four months and I don't know what's left toregurgitate.'

Also in June, the BCS will unveil a new, simpler formula for determining theNo. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. In three of the past four years, there have been atleast three teams with legitimate claims to spots in the title game.

It has been widely reported that the new formula will drop several aspects,like strength of schedule and number of losses, and focus solely on the APpoll, the coaches' poll and the computers. Tranghese wouldn't confirm that, butdid say that a simpler formula has been decided upon and is being worked overby mathematicians 'to make sure that what we think it is, it is.'

The goal, he said, was to make it easier to understand.

'We're trying to take all the elements, put them together in a moresimplified way, with some adjustments, so the public can understand,' he said.'The public doesn't want the minutiae, and we understand that.'

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