Friday, January 21, 2011

BILL HANCOCK'S STATEMENT ABOUT 'THE BCS GOT IT RIGHT' IS COMICAL

Texas Christian finished the 2010 season unbeaten at 13-0, including a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. However, they were never given an opportunity to play for a national championship. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
COLUMBUS  — The college football season came to a close earlier this month when No. 1 ranked Auburn took down No. 2 ranked Oregon in a thrilling BCS National Championship game.

The game reached an impressive milestone by becoming the most watched event ever on cable with a 15.3 rating, according to the Associated Press. Broadcasted by ESPN, the title game was down 11 percent from last year’s presentation, which aired on FOX.

The record breaking rating, of course, was music to the ears of BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock. What he presented to the Football Writers of America (FWAA) before the championship game on January 10 was sweet chin music to myself. Click here for Hancock’s complete statement.

Bill Hancock
Hancock, who has held his position of executive director since 2009, previously was the full-time director of this marginally successful and semi-popular tournament called the NCAA Final Four.

Of course, you can’t talk BCS without mentioning the beautiful scenario that would be a playoff. If you would like to read my colleague Lee Hudnell’s playoff propositions, click here.

Anyway, Hancock gave an entertaining speech where he defends the BCS system and gave multiple points on how “the BCS got it right.”

Hancock’s personal version of how “the BCS got it right” consisted of the memories and experiences that student-athletes take in when teams spend time at their respective bowl sites.

“The BCS got it right because University of Tulsa student-athletes, from my part of the country, were able to visit the USS Arizona memorial and museum. It was the first trip to Hawaii for many. For some, it will be the only time — only because of a bowl game,” Hancock said.

Hancock also stated he knew “the BCS got it right when I saw the happiness on the faces of celebrating athletes from schools like Florida International and Syracuse and Washington and San Diego State after their bowl victories. And did you see those TCU players dancing and hugging and dashing around the field? Winning their bowl game was way more than simply a great way to end a season — it's a moment that will be etched into their hearts forever.”

Jaw dropping, I know.

Here’s a crazy thought, Bill, but please hear me out.

Those TCU players dancing and hugging and dashing around the field are the same ones I saw and I am 100 percent positive that this moment would have been etched into their hearts 1,000,000 times more if that game had catapulted them into the BCS National Championship game.

I’m also pretty sure that if San Diego State happened to squeeze into this insane idea of a college football tournament, that same team would have created some lifelong memories while it battled as the underdog for a chance to prove everybody wrong.

But, that’s a stupid idea because we would be depriving San Diego State of the eye-opening experience that is the Poinsettia Bowl. Wait, that bowl is held in San Diego.

Oh, sorry about that, Bill.

“Name a sport with a multi-team playoff that also has a second vibrant neutral-site post-season event,” Hancock said.

You’ve had to hear of this one, considering you were the DIRECTOR of its championship round: The NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The tournament, which now consists of 68 teams, travels to 14 different sites and is hosting its championship game in Houston. I hear Houston has an aquarium and a zoo, Bill.

I’m all for these schools creating memories for their athletes, and that’s why I don’t want to see the Papajohns.com Bowl ignored. Look, Toledo can still get an invite to the Little Caesers Bowl. But, you are personally depriving these same students from creating memories that might include winning a national championship.

Of course, you wouldn’t agree to that because you believe “the BCS got it right” on the football field, as well.

“You know the numbers, but it is important to place them on the table once again: the top two teams met in bowl games eight times in 58 years before the BCS. Since then? 13 of 13 by BCS standards, and 10 of 13 by the media poll, including the last seven years in a row. Those facts are impossible to ignore,” Hancock said.

Good for the BCS, Bill. But you haven’t won anybody over with these overblown facts.

Let’s take a look at the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which depends on a committee to assign teams their seed for the tournament. Much like football depends on a computer and a gang of football writers and coaches to assign meaningless rankings to college programs.

Only four No. 1 overall seeds have won the NCAA men’s basketball National Championship in the last 31 years. That’s a fact that you shouldn’t ignore, Bill. Only in every other college sport do you have to prove on the field or court your worthiness of playing for the national championship. But, hey, at least you have a cool and expensive computer.

In fact, the Final Four has only welcomed all four No. 1 seeds once in the tournament’s history. Butler, a No. 5 seed in last year’s tournament, reached the title game only to fall short to Duke. I would imagine they created some fond memories on its way to a national championship berth.

But, Butler would have never been given a shot in your sport, Bill. Not even an undefeated regular season guarantees any team a shot at a national title. Just ask teams who have accomplished such marks over the last decade: TCU, Boise State, Utah and Auburn. These teams were refused a chance at accomplishing something every college athlete dreams of doing and that’s hoisting a national championship with their school colors on their backs.

"Bill Snyder at Kansas State talked about how he used the incentive of playing in a bowl game to almost literally bring the Wildcats up from "worst" to "first.’"

Could you imagine Troy University head coach Larry Blakeney preaching to his players that they have a legitimate chance to play for a national title? Surely, those Trojans would come away just as inspired, don’t you think, Bill?

Rather, Blakeney could just go to the old water well and use the “we can get to that New Orleans Bowl if we try real, real hard again” speech. Troy has appeared in the New Orleans Bowl three times in its last four bowl berths.

Sorry, Trojans, but until Bill enters the real world you will never have that chance to channel your inner-Butler.

I would like to thank Bill for one thing, though. And that’s the undeniable comedy his speech provided me. I was literally laughing out loud while reading his statement.

No matter how much you would like to convince yourself of the great and honorable things the BCS has helped produce, your sport will always be lacking a true champion, Bill.

And that’s something you can’t ignore.