Odds Are Stacked Against the BCS

“Have patience,” University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer counseled reporters in a teleconference two weeks ago when it was suggested college football might be fast-tracking toward another laughable conclusion.

Frohnmayer, point man for school presidents rejecting ANY KIND OF PLAYOFF, said it was “stunning” that so many people were complaining about changes in the bowl championship series formula before the season had even played out.

“Let’s see how the postseason stacks up after all the returns are in,” he said.

How it’s stacking up with one week left in the regular season:


Utah and Boise State have already clinched undefeated regular seasons.

Neither has a stake in the national-title race because they play in non-BCS conferences -- the Mountain West and Western Athletic.

Meanwhile, in the so-called “power” conferences, Pittsburgh of the Big East can clinch a major bowl bid this week even if it loses to South Florida and finishes with a 7-4 record.

Pittsburgh, in fact, may be the first school to earn a BCS game with a coach, Walt Harris, who might get fired. A month ago, Harris’ agent demanded his underappreciated client either be handed an extension or his walking papers.

Two-loss Michigan has already wrapped up a Rose Bowl bid, and a two-loss team is going to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and a $16-million bowl berth.

If Colorado beats Oklahoma this week, Gary Barnett’s Buffaloes win the Big 12 title with an 8-4 record and could face 7-4 Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl.

That would be eight losses, for two teams, in one BCS bowl, while the Liberty Bowl, which pays $1.35 million, gets to match 11-0 Boise State against Louisville in a battle of probable top-10 teams.

Remember, though, the Liberty is not a “major” bowl, so pay it no serious attention!


How it’s stacking up II: Pitt’s in, Michigan’s in, Colorado has a puncher’s chance, yet it appears either 10-1 California or 10-1 Texas will be left out of a BCS game.

Sorry, boys, but those are the convoluted rules, and, thus far in the at-large animal kingdom bid battle, the Golden Bears are holding off the Longhorns.

Texas Coach Mack Brown was so apoplectic over possibly getting shut out of a BCS game -- despite not winning his own division of his own conference -- he resorted to begging for votes after Texas’ holiday-weekend win over Texas A&M.;

Based on Sunday’s poll votes, Mack, you need to hire Karl Rove. Cal picked up five points on Texas in the writers’ poll and nine points in the coaches’.


How it’s stacking up III: USC, Oklahoma and Auburn are all undefeated headed into regular-season finale games. All will be favored to win this weekend.

Wait, though -- there has never been a BCS season in which more than two top-10 teams have ended with no losses. And now there could be five?

Isn’t this against the rules?

Unfortunately, you can’t cram five, four or three undefeated teams into one BCS championship game, so this is shaping up to be a quite a quagmire.


The three top schools are all making vehement claims for being best in BCS show.

USC, for example, was leading Notre Dame, 34-10, late in Saturday’s game and then made it 41-10 on a touchdown set up by a fake punt on fourth down.

No way was USC Coach Pete Carroll trying to tack on a score to impress the judges, even though, that very same day, two yahoos on ABC -- or was it two ABCs on Yahoo? -- claimed that USC was a bogus No. 1 and that Oklahoma and Auburn deserved to play for the title.

For what it’s worth, one analyst played running back for the only school ever to receive the NCAA “death penalty” and the other played for ... Notre Dame.


Fear not, though, because former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie has a “simple solution” for saving the BCS.

Davie presented in written and oral arguments last week a proposal to have all 117 Division 1-A coaches vote for the two teams they want to play for the national title.

That’s right, the coaches.

Davie says give these O-and-X-men a box of tapes and two days and they’ll figure out the two best teams.


“Let them decide their national champion,” Davie wrote.

Davie is a tremendous ESPN analyst -- much better at breaking down action than he was at whipping the Irish into national contention -- yet his idea of turning the BCS over to the coaches is akin to turning a henhouse over to the foxes.

Davie wants to add more voting coaches to the gaggle that last year had USC at No. 1 until the Trojans defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl, after which the coaches awarded their share of the national championship to Louisiana State.

These are the same voting coaches who recently voted, 32-29, not to make their final ballots public this year.


And no wonder, given that last week, California lost points in the coaches’ poll to Texas after the Bears beat Stanford by 35 points and the Longhorns spent the weekend feeding hay to Bevo.

These are the same coaches who, in 1997, had Michigan No. 1 until it had the gall to beat Washington State in the Rose Bowl.

Let the coaches decide?

Even tossing aside all the lost logic, Davie fails to mention that the Associated Press poll is independent of the coaches’ and is not going away, so what controversy has Davie solved?


“Have patience,” counseled the university president from the school where the movie “Animal House” was filmed.

Pardon us if we think a food fight might be a better way to produce a champion than what the BCS offers.

True, there is one week left for some of this potential mess to sort itself out.

Time is running short, however, the BCS is on the clock, and, frankly, patience is wearing thin.