Blog Entry

A response to Bill Hancock

Posted on: December 9, 2010 1:52 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 1:55 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Former director of the NCAA Final Four and current executive director of the BCS, Bill Hancock, wrote a column in today's USA Today defending the BCS and everything it stands for.  After reading it, I couldn't help but react, so I figured why not have show my reaction here?

Below is Hancock's column, word for word, with my response to everything he says.  Hancock's words are italicized, while mine are just dripping with sarcasm and disgust.  

We've been called communists, a cartel, crooks — and worse — but that's malarkey. And I'm proud to stand up and point out why college football is so popular and why our system works so well.

I can't wait to hear this you commie pinko bastard.

College football was one weekend away from Boise State participating in the BCS National Championship Game because of what happened on the playing field — not in a chatroom, a boardroom or a newsroom. The BCS rankings are based on how a team plays between the white lines, and the results speak for themselves. If the BCS were corrupt, how could a missed field goal in the Boise State-Nevada game and a 24-point comeback by Auburn over Alabama have made such a difference?

I'm no genius, but I'm pretty sure that even before the BCS, Boise State losing to Nevada would have killed its chances to win the national championship in both human polls.  I'm not sure that the BCS can claim that it invented losses.  Also, should there be one of those crazy playoff things, that loss would have affected Boise's seeding in the tournament.

As USA TODAY reported shortly after Boise State lost its first game and TCU decided to join the Big East, "It's been a bad 72 hours for BCS bashers."

You know who the day was worse for?  The conferences that the BCS has effectively killed due to exclusion.  The Mountain West and WAC are dying because the teams that have the best chance to get to a BCS bowl game have to leave the conference so they can have a better shot at the billion dollar pie.

The purpose of the BCS is to match the nation's top two teams in a championship bowl game while creating a series of other exciting matchups. It's nothing more than that. This season, that means the No. 1 Auburn Tigers vs. the No. 2 Oregon Ducks.

Our other purpose?  Make money money, make money money.  

The problem people have with the BCS isn't what it's trying to do.  It's what the BCS keeps from happening.  You know, that playoff system that would allow more teams a chance to play for a national title, and actually settle it on the field rather than in the opinions the media and coaches, and the calculations of some computers.

If this were the shady system that some people claim, how could Boise State have been only inches away? And if the system were designed to shut out schools from the so-called non-power conferences, how could TCU — undefeated and No. 3 in the BCS rankings — play in the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl?

Because the Rose Bowl was forced to take TCU, and because the BCS won't allow TCU to play for a national title.

The abuse from the critics is balderdash. The fact is the BCS accomplishes its mission with a stunningly popular national championship game. It regularly draws more viewers than the NCAA Final Four, the World Series, the NBA Championships and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Other things that draw more viewers than those events: Dancing With The Stars and American Idol.  You know what the difference is between those shows and the BCS?  They actually force all the contestants to compete against each other and listen to the opinions of those who watch the show.

And it does this while maintaining college football's wonderful regular season and also by preserving America's unique multiday bowl tradition that rewards student-athletes with a celebratory bowl-game week.

Congratulations!  Have fun in Mobile!

As this season proves, outstanding teams can play in BCS bowls, including the national championship game, no matter what conference they're in. For much of this season, Boise State and TCU earned the ranking of No. 3 and No. 4. That can't happen in a rigged system.

You know what can happen in a rigged system?  Never allowing Boise State and TCU to get higher than No. 3 or No. 4.  

Also, nobody is complaining that TCU or Boise don't get a chance to play in BCS bowls.  The complaint is that a TCU team that is undefeated just like Auburn and Oregon can't get a chance to play for a title.  Don't lie to me, Hancock.  We all know that had Auburn lost to Alabama and then beaten South Carolina, they'd still be playing Oregon.

Commies? A cartel? Give me a break. The BCS is a voluntary arrangement that benefits every university in the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision.

You and I have different definitions of "voluntary," sir.  

It has provided all schools with more revenue and more access to the major bowl games than ever before.

It just happens to provide certain conferences with more revenue and more access.

Why not a playoff?

This should be good.

Sure, I understand that many football fans want an NFL-style playoff instead. I know that they want to fill out a bracket, and that they want to watch more college football in December. They want their favorite team to have a slot in that bracket. But the desire for a different postseason format doesn't justify the false attacks against the BCS event. And as the person who used to manage the NCAA Final Four, I know that what works for one sport doesn't work so easily for a different sport.

Good point, Mr. Hancock.  It's not like the FCS has a playoff system or anything.  I mean, that's college football, where as the FBS is college football.  It's totally different.

College football has the best regular season of any sport, and the lack of a playoff is one big reason why. Millions of football fans this year tuned in to watch the season-opening game between Boise State and Virginia Tech because there was so much on the line —starting early in September. If there were a playoff, the Alabama-Auburn game wouldn't have been as important nationally, or as dramatic.

Yes, we've all seen what playoffs have done to the NFL regular season.  Those incredibly high ratings, packed football stadiums and all that money coming in has destroyed the sport.

I mean, nobody would ever tune into a football game if the only thing that was on the line was the top seed and homefield advantage in the playoffs.

A playoff also would mean the end of America's bowl tradition as we know it. As Rick Baker, president of the Cotton Bowl, said, "A playoff system would ruin the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."

Yes, the Cotton Bowl Classic which recently left the actual Cotton Bowl for Cowboys Stadium.  We certainly don't want to threaten that tradition.  Surely with a playoff system we'd never again have a chance to see the third-best team in the SEC face off against the third-best team in the Big 12.

Under the current system, 70 schools and hordes of fans arrive days before the big game and immediately become the toast of the town.


Fans and families plan vacations around bowl week. Student-athletes are celebrated as the players get to see places and do things they otherwise never could do. No wonder a poll of student-athletes taken by ESPN the Magazine earlier this year showed that 77% of players would prefer a career with three bowl games to a career with one playoff game.

Well, with a playoff system, if that player stayed in school all four years and only made the playoffs once, he'd end up playing in one playoff game and go to three bowl games.  I wonder how he'd feel about that option.

A playoff, on the other hand, would be limited to a small number of schools, 

Unlike the BCS, which welcomes 10.

and it would turn their celebratory week into a series of one-day business trips because the teams would arrive the day before the game and leave right afterward. If they won, they'd need to get ready for next week's game. That's not a bowl party — that's another game on the schedule. 

While bowl games are another game on the schedule.  There's a difference!

For the schools that don't make a playoff, their bowl games would fade away. Sadly, so too would a great American tradition.

Ah, yes, America.  Baseball, apple pie and the DVDA Compass Bowl.  I tear up just thinking about it.

If ever a season showed that the BCS is fair and that it works, it's this season. And it happened while maintaining the thrilling regular season in which every game counts.

Yes, that's right.  This season, the one in which a team that has not lost a game this year and will be denied a chance to be champion, is the fairest of them all!  Every game in the regular season counted, just not TCU's!

Thanks for helping me see the light, Mr. Hancock.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:33 pm

A response to Bill Hancock

Extraordinary internet site home-page contains a great deal of prosperous testimonails from others. There are actually correct here every one you ought to realize.

Since: Dec 17, 2010
Posted on: December 17, 2010 11:47 am

A response to Bill Hancock

Obviously, this pompous moron didn't even bother to read the criticism in Wetzel's book.    It thoroughly debunks every claim he makes.

Death to the BCS!

Since: Dec 15, 2008
Posted on: December 14, 2010 10:16 am

A response to Bill Hancock

I belive that TCU had a more difficult strength of schedule than Wisconcin.

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2010 2:42 pm

A response to Bill Hancock

Exactly, tegill.  We don't know who the best team is....any year.  Texas vs. USC in 2005 was the only matchup that had little controversy, and it was only luck both teams managed to get through the conference schedule unscathed.  Auburn (like all BCS AQ teams) has played their share of patsies.  It brings up both problems with the BCS and they compound each other.  They are:

1)  Since most teams are instantly knocked out of the title race with a late-season defeat, not many teams take a chance in their non-conference games.  The BCS system therefore ENCOURAGES highly-ranked teams not to challenge themselves.  That's the best sign of a bad that discourages good out-of-conference matchups.  It robs the fans.

2)  Because so much is left to uncertainty since we don't get conferences actually competing with each other, we're just left to ASSUME based on conference SOS which conference is best.  That is terrible.

A playoff fights both of these.  Teams could get away with an easy non-conference and still make a playoff, but if you're a team on the cusp of the at-large berths, a nice win could push you into the playoff.  Secondly, we stop having to ASSUME (we all know what that makes us) who the best teams actually are.  Why would we?  We get to see them decide it on the field...where it should be.

If the BCS doesn't collapse in on itself like a dying star in two years, I'm organizing a nationwide boycott of all bowl games until we get one.  I love major college football too much to have money-grubbing jerks ruin it for everyone.  I'm willing to sit out watching a few seasons if I know it's for the greater good.  And a playoff is definitely worth fighting for.

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2010 7:47 pm

A response to Bill Hancock

Firstly it's not plagarizing when you start the article stating who and where the information you are using came from.  That's called a cited reference.  Secondly this is not the first year that the BCS will possibly end up with multiple undefeated teams.  Or controversy over who should be the National Champion.  It has already been split once in the history of the BCS.   By patsy schedule do you mean playing powerhouses like Arkansas State, Kentucky, Louisiana Monroe, Mississippi and Chattanooga?  That's 5 of Auburn's wins.  Looks pretty patsy to me, but they are still going to the BCS championship because evidently there is a rule that an SEC team or USC has to play in the Championship game.  With a playoff at least you get a chance to see how the various conference champions stack up.

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2010 7:22 pm

Bigger Problem With the BCS

Yes, I hate the whole only two teams make the championship game but to me the far bigger problem with the BCS is that they single out certain conferences by name for automatic BCS bids and exclude others and pay more money to certain "chosen" conferences than the "have nots". Even if a non AQ makes the BCS like TCU, the money paid to their conference is a fraction of what they pay to the Big East and ACC. I understand college football and the bowls is a business but if you are going to say to the MWC and WAC "sorry you don't make enough money for us" why aren't you saying the same to the Big East and ACC? If the BCS wants to be greedy, I can't blame them. I can tolerate greed. I can't tolerate stupidity. Or favoritism.

I think the Big 12 commissioner threatened to go back to the old bowl system. While my first choice would be a playoff, I think the old bowl system would be better than what we have now. If the BCS insists on a two team national championship game, just have the game and then all the other bowls can just go back to picking whatever teams and/or conferences they want (and maybe they can all go back to Jan. 1 where they belong). The Rose Bowl could just invite Big 10 and Pac 10 every year. The Sugar Bowl could take the SEC every year, and so on. The more popular conferences will get the better bowls while the others get the scraps. Is it fair from a performance standpoint? Of course not. But is it fair from a financial standpoint? Absolutely. The BCS bowls now aren't fair from either standpoint.

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: December 11, 2010 7:02 pm

A response to Bill Hancock

"I know that what works for one sport doesn't work so easily for a different sport."

I think I speak for 99% of college football fans when I say that this is the BIGGEST COP-OUT EVER GIVEN as to why there's no playoff.  THERE ARE PLAYOFFS IN NEARLY EVERY SINGLE SPORT IN NEARLY EVERY DIVISION.  What a joke.

This entire piece is absolute B.S.  How is Boise losing in the last week some kind of validation that the BCS system works?  THEY STILL WOULDN'T HAVE PLAYED FOR THE TITLE.  It's entirely lucky they lost.  And even then, they still screwed TCU of any shot in hell for a title anyway.

Mr. Hancock, this system DOES NOT WORK and has NEVER worked!  I'm sick of the excuses and lies.  The FANS should get what the FANS want since they're the ones giving you millions every year to keep this facade going.  The fans by and large want a playoff, and the pressure increases every year.  This year is no different.  This speech you wrote up is a joke, just like your excuses.


And once that happens, you won't have a job anymore.  And the people who love football because of real passion (instead of greed, like you) will rejoice that day.  Because the Wall of Lies people like you have created for years to prevent a playoff will have finally crumbled.  You are a joke, Mr. Hancock, and your system is on its last legs.  If I were you, I'd start sending out my resume.  I give you three years tops.

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2010 1:04 pm

A response to Bill Hancock

"make sure bad teams don't get in over much better teams."

There will never be a system or playoff that does not include the conference champions.  The tougher the conference schedule or the greater the parity  the more likely a conference champion will have losses.  If we're going to insert opinions as to who is deserving and who isn't, what would be gained over the system we use now? 

Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: December 11, 2010 12:59 pm

A response to Bill Hancock

How about a bowl system that also leaves out teams that have earned the right to play a bowl game....this year the 8-4 Temple Owls were left out in the cold while 6-6 and 7-5 teams get to play?

Not to mention that Temple beat UConn, who is also 8-4 and winners of the Big East. UConn goes to a BCS Bowl; Temple stays home for the holidays.
Yup, that's a great system to defend there buddy!

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: December 11, 2010 12:41 pm

A response to Bill Hancock

Obviously, by plagarizing USA Today, you are able to do what you get paid for without any original thought, a common situation for "sportswriters" at CBSports.  At least you could have defined your argument is:  do you want to share the money that belongs to the BCS or do you want "fairness", whatever you imagine that to be.  Before we cry about what might have been or might have been fairer, why not wait until the team that "has been denied a chance to be champion" has a chance to play a lower ranked team but the first challenge it will face for the entire season:  TCU vs Wisconsin in the Rose; that should answer any question you may have.  I think it "unfair" for a team with a patsy schedule can make a claim to a top bowl over teams that have proven themselves but lost a game.  To put it another way, I think it is unfair to many other teams that an essentially untested can make claims of superiory when that claim is not based on results on the field, on merely opinion, which you argue against otherwise.   In any system, teams must be seeded and poor, denied TCU never outranked ("outseeded") either Oregon or Auburn.  Furthermore, when the season ends, there will be only one undefeated team, so by your standards the national championship has been "fairly," equitably, and rightously established by hte current system and TCU gets to carry home a bundle of those BCS $$$. TCU has had their chance and  carriede home the cash.  End of your argument.    

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or