COLUMBUS, Ohio — Boise State's president said his counterpart at Ohio State's claim that Big Ten and Southeastern Conference teams play a "murderer's row" schedule "is the greatest exaggeration I think we've heard this year in college football."
In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Bob Kustra angrily responded to Ohio State President Gordon Gee's statement that TCU and Boise State don't deserve to be in the Bowl Championship Series title game even if they run the table.
Gee said of the power conference's schedules: "We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor."
Kustra had Ohio State's last two schedules in front of him — the Buckeyes have played Southern California and Miami, in addition to several mid-majors and directional schools — and said, "If they're not playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, they're playing the Little Brothers."
TCU sports information director Chris Del Conte also stepped into the fray, defending the Horned Frogs' unblemished record.
"We only worry about our house and what we do at TCU," he said. "I'll put our record up against anybody."
The controversy began when Gee defended the BCS and the current bowl system earlier in the day in an interview with The AP.
"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. "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."
Referring to TCU and Boise State, he added, "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."
That left both TCU and Boise State angry.
"We go through the gantlet every single day," Del Conte said.
Kustra said he it was hypocritical of Ohio State and all of the major BCS conferences to demean teams like Boise State. He said most of those conferences refuse to schedule his school.
"It's easy for the presidents to talk, but ask the ADs when's the last time that they seriously entertained taking requests or inviting Boise State to (play them)," Kustra said. "If you're Boise State or TCU, they're going to want to steer way clear of you."
He said he had phone records that would prove that Boise State had tried to schedule home-and-home games with Top 25 teams from the BCS conferences, but that they would not play the Broncos anywhere but at their home stadium.
Gee, long a proponent of the BCS and the bowl system, said the current format to decide a national champion is superior to other options.
"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.
Gee called a playoff system "a slippery slope to professionalism."
Kustra said most teams from the power conferences follow a simple blueprint when scheduling these days.
"The formula these days for BCS teams is get seven or eight home games, play one non-conference game against a team from another BCS league, schedule three or four patsies and try not to leave the state if you can help it," he said.
He also said that the SEC's Florida Gators have not left the state to play a non-conference, regular-season opponent since 1991.
Gee said that it was some of the quirkier moments in the BCS which made it endearing. He cited 2007 when Ohio State lost its final home game of the season to drop to eighth in the BCS rankings, then benefited from a long series of upsets to make it into the national championship game, where they lost to LSU 38-24.
"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."
TCU has earned an opportunity to at least be considered to play in the national championship game, Del Conte said.
"We have a wonderful coach, a great football program and at this point in time, we're undefeated heading in the right direction," he said. "Look at our overall body of work the last 10 years — it stacks up against anybody."