Mike Sorensen: The BCS is going to need an act of Congress for change

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  • royalblue
    May 25, 2010 9:49 a.m.

    The BCS is nothing more than a money grab to ensure that the money always stays in the pockets of the "haves". The bottom-dwellers in the BCS conferences (like Washington State, Duke, and Northwestern) get more BCS money than the top teams in the non-BCS conferences.

    Naive fans who think that the system gives us a truer champion because "SOS" is now considered in the secret computer formulas, should consider this little gem from Sagarin:

    "In [the BCS computer formulas], only winning and losing matters; the score margin is of no consequence, which makes it very 'politically correct'."

    Beating every team on your schedule by 50 points is no different than squeaking out 1-point wins all season, which of course makes it impossible for non-BCS teams to ever gain any headway with the computers because BCS teams won't play them, then they use the convenient excuse that they "don't play anybody" as reason not to give the non-BCS teams anything but table scraps.

  • cougarcindy
    May 25, 2010 9:18 a.m.

    Western schools ought to opt out of the BCS and form a western system. It may take a decade or two, but the strategy is to ignore the BCS as we offer players and coaches a place to grow and perform at their best, and offer donors and boosters and sponsors young, fresh, affordable market to invest in. In 20 years, won't the BCS will come crawling for a piece of the pie?

  • Conservative Democrat
    May 25, 2010 6:23 a.m.

    I doubt anyone disputes the fact that the rich get richer with a playoff system, but at least there is no hypocrisy in the monetary distribution. The farther you go into the playoffs, the more money your school and your conference gets. Still, it didn't prevent a non-BCS school from making the finals of "March Madness" and earning it's fair share. The BCS is an exclusionary club that prevents schools from entering, and limits the earnings of the schools that get in based on who they are instead of how they play. It's time to use Title IX, Federal Anti-Trust laws, and whatever other existing laws that are available to break up the BCS.

  • Utah'95
    May 25, 2010 3:04 a.m.

    Last year I attended a USO function where seven coaches (six from BCS conferences) spoke to US servicemen overseas. They were surprisingly candid during the Q&A, probably because there was no media in attendance. Here are some things that were said:

    Big Ten coach: "Those of you who want a playoff - it's not going to happen. There are too many people making money in the system that is in place right now."

    PAC 10 coach: "Utah and BYU have excellent football programs. But adding them to our conference wouldn't bring enough television sets to make splitting the money 12 ways more profitable for our current teams that the current system does."

    Big 12 coach: "We don't want to share the money with them" (the non-BCS teams).

    I have lived in PAC 10 territory, ACC territory, and overseas for the last fifteen years. From my experience, it is the rare sports fan who doesn't have allegiance to a non-BCS team that cares about any of this stuff. We get wrapped around the axle about who's better (Utah or BYU), and who's left out, but outside the intermountain area, almost no one cares.

  • Buster
    May 25, 2010 12:58 a.m.

    @Ute Blue Devil

    Sure, but a playoff gives us Larry vs Magic, NC State, Gonzaga, Andre and Doleac, Ainge's Drive, Pace Mannion pattin' the guy from Illinois on the rear at the half before he took them apart in the 2nd half.

    Give me a little David vs. Goliath, and give David the chance next week to prove it wasn't a fluke.

    Maybe it was a one weekend magical thing, maybe not. Who knows what Utah could have done the weekend after they steam rolled Bama. Maybe nothing, maybe special.

    Give it a chance to be special.

  • UtahBlueDevil
    May 24, 2010 10:38 p.m.

    Ok, lets get a reality check here. Lets say we throw away the BCS, and have a playoff system like basketball or many of the other sports has. The one trend that you will see jump out at you is it doesn't stop, not even a little, the trend that a few conferences end up dominating the system. Even with a playoff.

    Take the ACC for example in basketball. This single conference, even though every years people say it has lost is luster, has won 5 of the last 10 National titles. Yes, there have been upsets, and teams that have exceeded where they were expected to have gone. But the trend stays the same over time.

    Go to other sports, Lacrosse, Baseball, Tennis, Golf, Gymnastics - and you still have your premier teams that have far higher revenues and success than others.

    Going to a playoff system is not going to change the natural order of who the big teams and conferences are. History and results show the big schools keep on winning regardless of the system devised at the end of the season.

    Not saying it fare or right. It is just is what it is.

  • Utes4Ever
    May 24, 2010 7:44 p.m.

    While the BcS does have it's flaws, it is far better than a playoff in my mind. Keep the BcS, but level the playing field.

    Keep congress, and a playoff, out of this.

  • Buster
    May 24, 2010 2:54 p.m.

    UtahMan90 | 12:18 p.m.

    I agree, Utah should have played for the NC in 2008.

    BYU should have played in BCS bowls previously.

    The truth is both have been hosed due to timing, and both have been screwed by the football Powers.

    So, if BYU and Utah go to AQ conferences, they should still not support the status quo, and push for a playoff.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad
    May 24, 2010 2:24 p.m.

    UtahMan90 - one important element. What were they ranked before their bowl game? An honest question, I really don't keep track of things like that for Utah.

    If you are ranked #1 and you win your bowl game, it's pretty hard to deny you your NC. However, being undefeated in and of itself doesn't cut it. All the chips have to fall just right, starting with a decent to good rating, which you typically carry over from a good season the year before; and ending with your competition losing games at the right time of season.

    At least that's how it worked for us!

  • utahcountyute
    May 24, 2010 2:18 p.m.

    Trueblue has it pretty close to where I would like to see it. Any kind of a playoff for college football, where the championship is determined on the field would be the ultimate in college sports.

    Come on Obama, do something important.

    Down Hedgie, Down!

  • Big_Ben
    May 24, 2010 1:58 p.m.

    byu dude, I would hope they would still bad mouth the BCS. But I bet the fans would fall in line. I hope I dont ever fall in line. This system, while a significant upgrade over the previous system, is awful.

  • Admansam
    May 24, 2010 1:54 p.m.

    This is so ironic. Back "when" I helped in Orrin Hatch's campaign to beat Frank Moss. His campaign theme was Moss has served long enough. Isn't it ironic that Mr. Hatch is not living by the same rules he denounced for Mr. Moss. And, now he's lowered himself to the level of chasing after football at a time when the very foundations of the nation are creaking. Hypocrisy has led to insanity.
    One man's opinion.

    May 24, 2010 1:52 p.m.

    Cynic: You are the foolish one!

    Read a book.....

    Read Democrat Henry W Smith filibuster...

    The Southern Bloc, which was composed of 18 Democratic Senators and 1 Republican.

    Read the Senate floor speech given by the illustrious Democratic Sen Robert Byrd given for 14 hours 13 minutes June 10, 1964.

    Its was the Democrats who opposed the Civil Rights...

    May 24, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    Should Utah get invited to the Pac 12 and BYU to the Big 12. Do you think those two institutions will bad mouth the BCS system or get in line with the corruption ?

    May 24, 2010 1:23 p.m.

    BCS = Apartheid

  • Naval Vet
    May 24, 2010 1:08 p.m.


    “loved the democrat (liberal) slant that Mike tossed into this column. a true Utah grad at his finest!! The feds stepping in to mandate a playoff is NOT ‘more govt [sic]’. The definition of "more governement [sic]" is ‘more taxes without jobs created’.”

    I love the zoobie-republican (conservative) spins where anything favorable / praiseworthy / convenient / intelligent = Republican / Conservative; anything unfavorable / unfair / inconvenient / stupid = Democrat / Liberal.

    “Big Government” aka “more government”, is NOT about “more taxes without jobs created”. It’s about the government stepping in to determine how a business may or may not operate, and stipulating consequences for non-compliance.

    Not all forms of government intervention are bad. The “Sherman Anti-Trust Act” was Big Government stepping in to prevent monopolies. This was a GOOD thing. The Bill of Rights was a “Liberal” movement. By the late 18th century, the conservatives [aka the Tories] were the ones who wanted to maintain the status quo [a “conservative” position/agenda] of the existing aristocracies. Another “radical” liberal movement was the “Emancipation Proclamation”.

  • scott
    May 24, 2010 1:06 p.m.

    A playoff is the only championship format that makes any sense. That's why EVERY other sport uses it.

    The sad thing is, a playoff would generate a lot more money than the BCS, and yet, the idiots who support the BCS because of all the money it generates are too blind to see that.

  • Big_Ben
    May 24, 2010 12:44 p.m.

    jealous u. and hedgehog, your debates are so juvenille. Its amazing to me. You two bring up the same things day in and day out and laugh at each other. We get both of your points, lets move on.

  • Striker
    May 24, 2010 12:33 p.m.

    hedgehog, you are the worst at comebacks of anyone I've ever seen. You can tell you are a fan of the u.

  • Conservative Democrat
    May 24, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    Cynic --

    What southern republicans in 1964? Martin Luther King perhaps (fact: registered republican). Without republican support, the Civil rights Act of 1964 would not have passed - period!

  • Jealous U
    May 24, 2010 12:19 p.m.

    The point, hedgy, is that Utah has NEVER won a National Championship or a Heisman Trophy or been a regular Top 25 team.

    Past, present, future --- EPIC FAIL!

  • UtahMan90
    May 24, 2010 12:18 p.m.

    Am I the only one who thinks that like BYU, Utah would have had a NC when they went 13-0 and no other team went undefeated that year?

  • hedgehog
    May 24, 2010 12:12 p.m.

    "A team that's never won a National Championship, never won a Heisman Trophy"

    Jealous Y,

    You must be talking about the relevant football powerhouse Army … correct? Army was a “program” that won a National championship and had a Heisman winner LAST DECADE. Yeah it definitely sounds exactly like Army.

    Times change and sometimes it’s hard to let go of the glory days. But hey, at least your coach has set the right expectation. Macco Bowl or bust.

  • Buster
    May 24, 2010 12:04 p.m.


    Suppose Utah becomes a member of the PAC 12. How many Rose Bowls do you predict Utah plays in in their first ten years. How many Vegas Bowls?

    And do you really think every year any team plays Utah they think "Wow, 2 BCS Bowls"? Or do you think they look at your team, and non-ranking.

    How intimdated was UNLV when you had the one?

    Point out one year that BYU beat Utah and that win made BYU relevant. Yet, how many times did Utah look to a BYU win as making their season.

    TUN needs TDS, but over the past ten years the two teams are for the first time in 40 years competative in football.

    Get the basketball program together, and this might actually be a rivalry.

    Deseret dual this year. BYU 45.5, Utah 15.5.

    Which institution needs the other to be relevant, I believe was you question. You tell me. Where was the Utah athletic program last year?

    Good luck on that PAC-12 invite. I'm guessing you're in a fetal ball waiting, because you need it to prove "your" individual worth as a human being.


  • Go Big Blue!!!
    May 24, 2010 12:03 p.m.

    RE MTF

    As a UT alum as well as a USU alum my football programs are doing just fine thanks. USU is on its way to being respectible in the WAC. Texas will be in the NC hunt again this year.

  • Jealous U
    May 24, 2010 11:39 a.m.


    A team that's never won a National Championship, never won a Heisman Trophy, and wasn't even a blip on the national radar until 6 years ago, "validating" a team that's done both and been a perennial Top 25 team for the last 33 years?

    Thanks for the laugh!

  • cynic
    May 24, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    @TRUTH 10:24AM
    That's the most hilarious thing I've ever read. Both your name and your post are wrong.

    Go look at who voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, for example. Southern Republicans and Democrats all voted against it, duh. In the rest of the country, over 95% (NINETY-FIVE PERCENT) of Democrats voted FOR civil rights. That's 145-9 in the House of Representatives and 45-1 in the Senate.

    If you are going to use that screen name, then live up to it. Don't expect to be able to make up facts without being challenged by people who really know the truth.

  • The Rock
    May 24, 2010 11:22 a.m.

    For the record...

    America has been arguing about Big Government vs Small Government for decades.

    Truth be known, liberty exists between two enemies, anarchy and tyranny. When government is tool small you get anarchy (think French Revolution for a worst case) and the people abuse each other. When government is too large you get tyranny and the government abuses the people.

    Government must be large enough to prevent anarchy and limited in its roll and powers to prevent tyranny. Modern conservatives know this and are really constitutional moderates.

    The BCS is a form of anarchy where one group of people abuses another. The government does have a roll in preventing anarchy.

    Our financial markets experienced anarchy causing the sub-prime meltdown. This was caused by Fanny and Freddy and the neighborhood reinvestment act.

    The BCS is a problem; however, there are much larger fish to fry.

    Liberals actually promote anarchy by refusing to enforce immigration law and being soft on crime. They also push for more government control in areas government should stay out of. They are burning both ends of the candle against freedom.

    God Help Us.

  • hedgehog
    May 24, 2010 11:20 a.m.

    Sportsfan. Feel free to deny the more feasible Utes as a BCS member. As it stands now you should be in a fetal ball praying Utah doesn’t move on. At this point and time, tds needs the Utes to validate their relevance. I mean, come one, how many other two time BCS winner do you get to play EVER year?

    Who knows though, maybe if the Utes get’s out of your way you might have a better shot at actually getting to a BCS bowl game. As it stands now its TCU and Utah….. and the rest.

    I’d wish you good luck in Vegas this year …. But come on, that ain’t gonna happen.

  • SportsFan
    May 24, 2010 10:52 a.m.

    I suspect if a team like Utah is accepted into a BCS conference they would need to agree to a much, much smaller revenue cut than current members since it's doubtful that hedgehog's Utes will ever actually play in a BCS game.

  • TrueBlue
    May 24, 2010 10:42 a.m.

    An NCAA Major College Football Playoff would dwarf March Madness in fan interest and revenue by as much as the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl dwarf the NBA playoffs.

    What could have been:

    2009 NCAA Football Playoff

    All 11 conference champions + next 5 highest ranked teams (AP/Coaches Polls combined)

    Seeded like the NCAA basketball tournament.

    No first round same conference matchups.

    Played each Saturday beginning the Saturday after Christmas.

    Remaining bowls played on any day except playoff Saturdays.

    First round at the home field of the higher seed.

    Quarter-finals through finals in the Orange, Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, and Cotton Bowl venues.

    #16. Troy (SunBelt) @ #1. Alabama (SEC) 9:30am EST, December 26th
    -----------------------------Quarter-final in Sugar Bowl
    #9. Georgia Tech (ACC) @ #8. Ohio St. (BigTen) 2pm

    #13. Penn St. (at-large) @ #4. TCU (MWC) 8pm
    -----------------------------Quarter-final in Fiesta Bowl
    #12. Virginia Tech (at-large) @ #5. Florida (at-large) 6:30pm

    #15. Houston (C-USA) @ #2. Texas (Big12) 11am
    -----------------------------Quarter-final in Rose Bowl
    #10. Iowa (at-large) @ #7. Oregon (PAC10) 5pm

    #14. Central Michigan (MAC) @ #3. Cincinnati (BigEast) 12:30pm
    -----------------------------Quarter-final Orange Bowl
    #11. LSU (at-large) @ #6. Boise St. (WAC) 3:30pm

  • GD
    May 24, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    How did this discussion all of a sudden become BYU?

    May 24, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    Mike Sorenson...I find it ironic that you slam Orrin and conservatives for supporting a BCS/Govt Intervention and compare it to Civil Rights Movement.....

    You do know that those who supported civil rights were the likes of Conservatives like Orrin and those who opposed civil rights were those like yourself? Liberals!

  • The Rock
    May 24, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    Hey, here is an unpopular idea!

    In as much as college football and basketball are nothing more than farm clubs for the NFL and NBA, just eliminate college athletics and make the big leagues pay for their own farm teams.

    College athletes are abused financially by the schools. The schools make millions while top athletes get a scholarship worth a fraction of what they bring to the schools.

    This system works just fine for baseball and it should work well for other sports as well.

    Universities and colleges should focus on education, not athletics.

    Don't like this idea? Me Neither.

    Go Cougs'

  • Fitness Freak
    May 24, 2010 10:09 a.m.

    Its an obvious anti-trust violation because it involves a "monopoly" and big bucks.

    The BCS is a good example of how powerful monopolistic practices can become when they also have political clout!!

  • Scott1
    May 24, 2010 9:55 a.m.

    Remember one of the main points here. These BCS school are not simply separate business entities relying solely on themselves. They are receiving federal money.

  • MTF
    May 24, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    Re: Go Big Blue!!!

    If I were you I would cry myself to sleep at night over the state of your football program.

    Respectfully -

    An OSU Alum

    The BCS is a joke, but it won't change anytime soon. There is too much money involved, and most people in the East aren't aware that football happens West of the Mississippi. Because you can't beat em' you better figure out how to join em'.

  • rlsintx
    May 24, 2010 9:31 a.m.

    Why do you think Orrin Hatch is for less government ? As I've watched from far off texas - I keep wondering why a conservative state like UT keeps returning him to the senate ... he's one of the good 'ole boy network that's tying the country up in debt forever more...

    on the BCS - there's only one sure way to break the BCS, and that is to win all out of conference games when the chances arise, and to this point in time (year in and year out) - BYU (my alma mater) has proven it DOESN'T... inspite of it's generally good performance levels across many sports statistically.

    Maybe, it's not all about national football championships anyway.

  • hedgehog
    May 24, 2010 9:01 a.m.

    "playoff system combined with a slightly more limited bowl game schedule would increase the interest in college football and the revenues"


    I’ll agree that universally, fan interest would increase by having a national playoff system but I’m not sold that it would increase revenues substantially for the current BCS members. A bigger pie and thinner slices may not be that interesting for the Florida’s and Texas or the world.

    I suspect if a team like BYU is accepted into a BCS conference they would need to agree to much smaller revenue cut than current members.

    May 24, 2010 8:39 a.m.

    loved the democrat (liberal) slant that Mike tossed into this column. a true Utah grad at his finest!! The feds stepping in to mandate a playoff is NOT "more govt". The definition of "more governement" is "more taxes without jobs created". a playoff system combined with a slightly more limited bowl game schedule would increase the interest in college football and the revenues. the bowl system would be the consolation games which they are now. a true champion would be decided on the field not in a computer. the average fan would be truly interested in what all the other conference champions are doing and how they would pair up with their home team, etc.

  • 42istheanswer
    May 24, 2010 8:04 a.m.

    Government needs to quit wasting my tax money, this would be a good place to start.

  • WestCoast1
    May 24, 2010 7:57 a.m.


    The NCAA has had years and years to "fix it". How well have they done in "fixing it"? Give me a break! You sound like Hancock and his band of merry men.

    Listen, there comes a time when the government does have to step in and do something, especially when it deals with monopolies and the unequal distribution of power and money. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 states "the public is best served by free competition in trade and industry. When businesses fairly compete for the consumer's dollar, the quality of products and services increases while the prices decrease. However, many businesses would rather dictate the price, quantity, and quality of the goods that they produce, without having to compete for consumers." (No, I'm not quoting from Wikipedia.) This same principal holds when determining monies available to state universities. A good college athlete who has aspirations for playing in the NFL is going to go to the university (Read: BCS university) who can most likely provide him the exposure to do so.

    I welcome any comment, for or against my post.

  • the world
    May 24, 2010 7:57 a.m.

    My only disagreement: Hancock absolutely knows the BCS is unfair. He doesn't mean a word he says. It's all PR baloney.

  • cougar4life
    May 24, 2010 7:55 a.m.

    Let’s get one thing straight. The BCS was created to maximize revenue for its members and indentifying a universally excepted National champion is clearly incidental. If the BCS members felt that positives (revenue) offset the negatives (religious school) they would’ve have offered BYU admittance years ago.

    Wake- up Cougars. If the BCS conferences needed you they would have shown an offer years ago.

  • 5
    May 24, 2010 7:36 a.m.

    Follow the money. If the NCAA tried to make their own playoff system without considering the existing bowls, the BCS schools would just pull their football progams out of the NCAA and go it alone. That is why the NCAA will never do it. As of now they do get some revenue and if they lost the BCS schools they would lose it. The NCAA no longer has the student athlete welfare as it's core value. It is all about money. Remember the Tarkanian press conference where he openly gave one of his players a ticket home to attend his grandmothers funeral? It was against NCAA rules, but Jerry did it and then dared the NCAA to enfore the rule. Only public opinion kept them from hanging Jerry. The NCAA is a corrupt money grubbing institution.

  • Go Big Blue!!!
    May 24, 2010 7:32 a.m.

    All of you BCS haters claim the BCS is stealing all of this money. The reality is that they created the wealth. The big conferences created the great bowls. They deserve to reap the financial benefits. Take your little Holiday bowl home and cry yourselves to sleep.

  • The Big One
    May 24, 2010 7:20 a.m.

    Let the ncaa fix it, ha ha funniest thing I've heard this all has happened on their watch. Mr. Orrin you have watched the country go down the tubes in your years in Washington and haven't done anything, what makes you think you can do anything about this. Couldn't be a publicity ploy?

  • Esquire
    May 24, 2010 6:37 a.m.

    You just figured it out that it will take legislation? By the time Hatch does anything besides huff and puff, he will be in his 10th term, the oldest Senator in history, by decades.

  • carman
    May 24, 2010 6:01 a.m.

    Any system which favors one school over another, particularly if the favored schools are getting federal grants, should be outlawed by an act of Congress. The idea that the four biggest payout bowls give automatic bids to 6 conferences, and "might" allow a school from another conference if there appears to be no way to exclude them, is simply wrong. It is time to eliminate the athletic racism that favors schools from one part of the country over schools in another. And if you think the declining Big 10 or Big 12 will give up their places willingly, you need to wake up!

  • stonewall
    May 24, 2010 3:55 a.m.

    I think both sides are completely missing the point the other is trying to make. The fact is, when the BCS was created it was a HUGE upgrade over the system that was then in place. The national champion was voted on back then, not determined through competition. And the bowls stuck with their conference affiliations and that was that. Utah's reward for their undefeated seasons WOULD have been the Las Vegas Bowl without the BCS. The BCS has definitely greatly increased the accessibility of the big stage to all schools.

    That said, the BCS is missing the point that no one is looking at college football through the same lens that they used in the late '90s. College football fans are no longer satisfied with merely being better, we want the system made right. They are still trying to vindicate a system which isn't equitable by saying that it is less wrong than the one that preceded it. Sooner or later you just have to say that it isn't about having an improved system, it's about having the correct one that everybody is pining for.

  • rnoble
    May 24, 2010 1:02 a.m.

    ncaa needs to step up and take this declaration of championship away from the bowl commissioners---they should plan for and execute a playoff---they should restrict leagues to no more than 8 schools---the league champs then are in the playoff and if some leagues are considerably stronger then there should be a play-in wild card arrangement---when ncaa gets control and makes these changes then schools and tv can make any coalitions desired to meet the market and the bowls can go on as they were in the beginning; a challenge match between leagues---

    most leagues would have a clear champion from win loss record but for those that don't, tie breaker rules could be fashioned---with more teams likely to have end of the year attention more players would consider more opportunities and tv would respond accordingly---

    it does not take and act of congress---just that ncaa steps up and does their job---

  • CougarKeith
    May 24, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    I am tired of government in our business, why don't they just stay out of our lives! It has nothing to do with anything of their concern, get lost! Leave the BCS alone. I don't like it the way it is, but let the NCAA fix it.

  • Digbads
    May 23, 2010 11:37 p.m.

    I can't believe you described Orrin Hatch as someone who is for "less government". What a joke.

  • Utes 31 Tide 17
    May 23, 2010 11:23 p.m.

    I, like many male college students, decided which University I would attend based largely on football. Admissions applications to Boise State skyrocketed after the '07 Fiesta Bowl. Wise or not, that's the reality.

    Anybody who doesn't think Congress has any business meddling in sports must completely dismiss those facts. Not to mention the millions in revenue funneled away or towards taxpayer-supported institutions.