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FOOTBALL: BCS coordinator pleased with selection process

Pat Leonard | Monday, December 5, 2005

The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) generates annual controversy over the college football postseason. But Sunday’s announcement of this year’s matchups did not follow that lead.

BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg, also the Big 12’s conference commissioner, was especially pleased that the 2005 version of the constantly evolving playoff formula slotted the consensus top two teams – USC and Texas – in the national championship game Rose Bowl.

“I really feel like we have a marquee championship game of two unbeaten teams … that wouldn’t be together in a bowl game if not for a BCS arrangement,” Weiberg said during a 6 p.m. EST teleconference following the announcements.

Critics as high up as Capitol Hill are continuing to pressure the BCS and its methods despite this year’s “consensus” results.

On Friday, the Associated Press article reported the chairman of a congressional subcommittee had called a hearing – scheduled for Wednesday – to discuss the controversial postseason system. Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, said his House Energy and Commerce subcommittee “cannot ignore” a system he described as “deeply flawed.”

The subcommittee also invited Weiberg to testify. And though Congress has investigated the BCS before, Weiberg believes any significant change in the system must occur through the consensus of its members.

“It is true that we have a BCS arrangement that we have all agreed to – all 11 conferences, Notre Dame – for another four-year period past this one,” Weiberg said. “And I really do believe the only way there will be change is if the conferences and Notre Dame agree to that change.

“We really have collective support at this juncture of the 11 conferences and Notre Dame about the direction [of the BCS], so I don’t think there is a conference that is pushing this matter. This I think is a little different perhaps than some of the other times when we’ve been asked to go to Washington, [D.C.]”

Though it currently governs four bowl games – five beginning next season – the BCS was originally founded to determine the national champion. The system accomplished its primary goal this year and also got six of the top seven teams in the final standings into BCS bowl games.

“This particular year, of course, the at-large positions were really filled automatically under the rules that all of the conferences and Notre Dame agreed to,” Weiberg said.

The BCS selections, but not their destinations, became predetermined when LSU and Virginia Tech lost Saturday to slide down in the final rankings. No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 4 Ohio State both received automatic bids due to current BCS rules – top-six, non-affiliated conference teams receive automatic bids, and so do top-four teams, regardless of conference affiliation.

Weiberg said the top-six rule that locked in Notre Dame has been in place since the BCS was first established. But Oregon finished at No. 5 and did not receive a BCS bowl bid, which challenges the rule that is sending the Buckeyes (9-2) to Tempe, Ariz. instead of a one-loss Ducks team.

“There seemed to be some support for [ending the rule] this past year,” Weiberg said. “There’s a general feeling that the more you ask the standings formula to do outside of determining the 1-2 matchup, the more it can lead to controversial situations.”