COLUMBUS, Ohio — Even if TCU and Boise State run the table, they still don't deserve to be in the Bowl Championship Series title game, Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee said Wednesday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the president at the university with the largest athletic program in the country said that TCU and Boise State do not face a difficult enough schedule to play in the national championship game.
"Well, I don't know enough about the Xs and Os of college football," said Gee, formerly the president at West Virginia, Colorado, Brown and Vanderbilt universities. "I do know, having been both a Southeastern Conference president and a Big Ten president, that it's like murderer's row every week for these schools. We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We play very fine schools on any given day. So I think until a university runs through that gauntlet that there's some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to (be) in the big ballgame."
Gee, long an admirer of the BCS and the current bowl system, said he was against a playoff in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
"If you put a gun to my head and said, 'What are you going to do about a playoff system (if) the BCS system as it now exists goes away?' I would vote immediately to go back to the bowl system," he said.
He said the current system is better for the student-athletes.
"It's not about this incessant drive to have a national championship because I think that's a slippery slope to professionalism," he said. "I'm a fan of the bowl system and I think that by and large it's worked very, very well."
He cited Ohio State's presence in the 2007 national title game as an example.
The Buckeyes won their first 10 games that season to rise to No. 1 before losing 26-21 at home to unranked Illinois. They fell all the way to No. 8 in the BCS rankings.
A series of upsets over the final weeks of the regular season and in other team's conference championship games led to the Buckeyes climbing all the way back to the No. 1 spot in the final BCS rankings. They were matched against an LSU team with two losses.
Ohio State led 10-0 early only to have LSU come back and score the next 31 points in a 38-24 victory at the Louisiana Superdome.
"You know, it's a mystery," Gee said. "We were No. 1 then No. 11 then No. 7 and we ended up playing for the national championship. I think I kind of like that mixed-up mystery."
While he was at Vanderbilt, Gee abolished the athletic department since it was underwritten by the university's general fund anyway. He said he has no problem with an Ohio State program that fields 36 intercollegiate varsity teams and has an annual budget exceeding $120 million.
"Here, athletics pays for itself and also pays for academic programs at the institution," he said. "The other thing, of course, that I take a look at and see how well we are doing in terms of that notion of balance, which is what I was all about at Vanderbilt, which I am all about here."
He said Ohio State's eighth-ranked football team, which plays rival Michigan on Saturday, is in the top 10 in the nation not only on the field but also in terms of academic progress.
"That's the kind of balance I want to have," he said.