PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) With a few weeks left to make a decision that will shape the future of college football, Bowl Championship Series
officials are narrowing their options for adding a fifth game to their multimillion-dollar package.
BCS chairman Mike Tranghese said opinions among the six major BCS conferences and the bowls are changing frequently between models that would add a
week to the season and those that would simply add a fifth game and leave the structure relatively unchanged.
"I couldn't handicap it," Tranghese said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I could tell you exactly what everyone's position was of
last 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
What Tranghese does know is that models involving adding a week to the season 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,
they want a plus-one."
ABC paid $525 million to televise the BCS for seven years, ending with the 2005 season.
The fifth game is being added to give schools from smaller conferences a better chance to make the BCS.
Under one model, the championship game would pit the first and second-ranked teams in the BCS standings at the end of the regular season in a second
game at the 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 but least likely to pass, would take Nos. 1 vs. 2 after the first four BCS games
were 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 would create a Super Bowl-like week of hype and would stand alone as the biggest
college game of the year.
The disadvantage is that it would diminish the games being played the week before, 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 play during BCS week.
The logistics of the plans are still be worked out, but Tranghese said the Rose would likely only be interested if it could keep its traditional
Pac-10 vs. 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 we end up is another thing."
The other option would be simply to add a fifth game and rotate the title game among the five, which is how the system works now with four bowls. Nine
bowls are in the running for a fifth game.
"It's a process," Gator Bowl executive Rick Catlett told the Florida Times-Union. "They indicated they have a lot of work to do before their final
decision and we're going to be patient and supply the BCS with any information or help they need."
Although BCS officials don't begin negotiating their new contract until September, 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 fifth game. The fifth game will start for the 2006 season, the first year of
the new BCS contract.
Tranghese insisted that nobody feels rushed.
"I think the deadline's a positive," Tranghese said. "I think in our heart of hearts, we know we have to make a decision, I think we're going to be
ready to make it and I think if we didn't have the deadline, we'd sit here and regurgitate it for three or four months and I don't know what's left to
Also in June, the BCS will unveil a new, simpler formula for determining the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. In three of the past four years, there have been
at least 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 AP
poll, the coaches' poll and the computers. Tranghese wouldn't confirm that, but did say that a simpler formula has been decided upon and is being
worked over by 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 more simplified way, with some adjustments, so the public can understand," he said.
"The public doesn't want the minutiae, and we understand that."
[Edited on 5/26/2004 by Ben]