FORT WORTH, Texas — The ferment of the BCS debate was ratcheted up a notch Wednesday.
Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that TCU and Boise State don't play a difficult enough schedule to merit playing in the BCS National Championship Game if either one went undefeated.
Gee, defending the BCS system while opposing a playoff, said, "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 gantlet that there's some reason to believe that they not be the best teams to (be) in the big ballgame."
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte and Boise State president Bob Kustra both fired back Wednesday, citing the resumes of their schools and conferences, which aren't among the six conferences with automatic berths to the BCS bowls. TCU is in the Mountain West, Boise State in the Western Athletic.
"I don't think there's anything to defend," Del Conte said. "When someone has to go out and defend themselves and state their case, they've lost the battle in my eyes. Our record speaks for itself."
TCU (11-0) and Boise State (10-0) are No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the Bowl Championship Series standings, behind No. 1 Oregon (10-0) and No. 2 Auburn (11-0).
The top two teams in the final standings on Dec. 5 will play in the National Championship Game on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.
The eighth-ranked Buckeyes (10-1) of the Big Ten host Michigan on Saturday. Their four nonconference games were wins against Marshall, Eastern Michigan, Ohio University and Miami.
"I just hope that when he speaks about his research profile or the quality of his university he's a little more believable than he is about athletics, because he's just so wrong on this one," Kustra told the "Idaho Statesman".
Del Conte said the fact that TCU is in the conversation for the title game is a win for the Frogs.
"I take no umbrage in what he said because he's talking about us," Del Conte said. "He is saying TCU is in the mix to play for a national championship and he's trying to defend his troops and why they should play for a national championship and not us."
TCU, which will go for a second consecutive undefeated regular season against New Mexico (1-10, 0-7) at 3 p.m. Saturday, has seen its lead on Boise State decrease in the last two weeks. BCS experts expect the Broncos to pass TCU if they win Friday over No. 19 Nevada.
"Everyone is looking to position themselves as best as they can," Del Conte said. "Our record speaks for itself. We have nothing to hide. We have a great schedule."
A bowl meeting between Ohio State and TCU would be a great way to settle the score, Del Conte said.
"We don't care who we play," he said. "We've never been a program that shied away from competition. Nor have they. Year in and year out we schedule nonconference teams that challenge us. That's not an affront to Ohio State. But if you have to defend yourself you're creating a shadow of a doubt. TCU has not created a shadow of a doubt."