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View Full Version : Commissioners blocked OU-VT matchup in BCS


DaKCMan AP
12-18-2007, 02:10 PM
The Orange Bowl that wasn't
Proposed Oklahoma-Va. Tech game busted by BCS

In the chaotic hours following the final, upset-laden night of the 2007 regular season, coaches and fans from as many as seven different teams made their case to earn one of the two spots in the BCS National Championship game.

The BCS ultimately selected consensus No. 1 and 2 teams, Ohio State and LSU, but many followers - myself included - were left disappointed that none of the other highly ranked contenders (Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech or USC) were pitted against each other in bowl games.

As it turns out, an 11th-hour agreement had been reached that would have allowed the No. 3 and 4 teams in the final BCS standings -- Virginia Tech and Oklahoma -- to meet in the Orange Bowl, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. The conference commissioners who oversee the BCS, however, shot it down -- and several of the affected parties are still wondering why.

According to the official BCS selection process, the Hokies, as ACC champions, and the Sooners, as Big 12 champions, were "contractually committed" to their conference's host games -- Virginia Tech to the Orange Bowl and Oklahoma to the Fiesta Bowl.

However, there's also a written clause -- one that has yet to be invoked during the BCS' 10-year history -- that allows the commissioners to "adjust the pairings ... after the completion of the selection process." Among the circumstances that can be taken into consideration are "whether the same team will be playing in the same bowl game for two consecutive years" (Oklahoma played Boise State in last year's Fiesta Bowl) and "whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans ..."

Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione confirmed Monday that on the morning of the Dec. 2 BCS selection show -- before the results of the final BCS standings were known -- he spoke with Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker about the possibility of invoking that clause to allow the Sooners to face "the highest-ranked team available."

"If we weren't going to be in the 1 vs. 2 game, we wanted to know if there was a possibility to play the highest-ranked team out there," said Castiglione. "At that point, we didn't know which team that would be."

According to sources involved in the discussions, Junker, along with Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, began contacting officials from the other bowls to see what could be worked out. It was well known by then that the Rose Bowl intended to take Big Ten at-large Illinois to meet Pac-10 champ USC and that automatic entrant Hawaii was heading to the Sugar Bowl, leaving the Fiesta and Orange bowls as the only games with any flexibility.

According to those same sources, the Fiesta and Orange bowls worked out an agreement to "swap" Oklahoma for the Orange Bowl's anticipated at-large choice, Kansas, creating an attractive No. 3 vs. 4 matchup in Miami while also allowing the Fiesta to host a Kansas team it had coveted throughout the Jayhawks' surprising 11-1 season.

Any such "adjustment" to the written placement rules, however, must be requested and then approved by the BCS commissioners following the conclusion of the formal selection process. Beebe said he made the request on behalf of his league's school but was met by resistance.

"There was a lengthy discussion, I made my case for it, and others made a case against it. It didn't prevail," said Beebe. "I don't necessarily agree, but I respect the views of those who were against it."

According to SEC commissioner and current BCS coordinator Mike Slive, "A request was made [to adjust the pairings]; it was considered and rejected.

"After thinking about it, the commissioners exercised their discretion to leave the pairings the way they were. There was a clear consensus."

Both Slive and Beebe declined to say which commissioners blocked the move -- though multiple sources said that ACC commissioner John Swofford and Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese did not oppose it.

Slive, who in his role as coordinator acts as a spokesman for the other commissioners, declined to elaborate on why the request was rejected. Pointing out that similar requests to adjust the pairings have been denied in the past (including in 2003, when the Fiesta Bowl's at-large selection of Ohio State stuck the Orange Bowl with a Miami-Florida State regular-season rematch), Slive said such an override would require "a very high threshold."

"My sense was that the reason wasn't compelling enough given the fact that on two prior occasions -- including the Miami-Florida State year -- the commissioners had set a very high threshold and felt that this did not meet the threshold," said Slive. "There weren't such compelling circumstances as to merit a change."

Two sources not directly involved in the decision speculated that the commissioners feared such a matchup might damage the legitimacy of the Ohio State-LSU title game.

The second-ranked Tigers have the same 11-2 record as both the Hokies and Sooners. Theoretically, a decisive victory by Oklahoma -- which is ranked No. 3 in the AP and Coaches polls -- combined with a less decisive LSU victory over the Buckeyes could have opened the door for a split national championship. (Unlike the coaches, AP voters are not obligated to select the BCS title-game winner No. 1).

"We certainly recognize the rules provide for the top two teams playing in the BCS national championship, and from that a winner will be named BCS national champion," said Oklahoma's Castiglione, whose team routed then-No. 1 Missouri 38-17 in the Big 12 title game. "There could be an argument for a split national champion, and that may be stated by any number of people. The AP is a very reputable poll. We just wanted to play the highest-ranked team. That was our goal all along."

Asked whether the split possibility played a factor, Slive insisted, "It never came up."

Asked why the opportunity to see the No. 3 and 4 teams play would not qualify as a game with "greater appeal to college football fans," as the BCS manual spells out, Slive replied, "Everybody looked at that, and knowing that, still came to the same conclusion. In any such consideration of something like this, you have to look at the question of what precedent does it set -- particularly when there have been more compelling requests that have not been granted -- and what are the unintended consequences?"

Castiglione stressed that Oklahoma is still pleased to be facing West Virginia in the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl ("This discussion had nothing to do with our eventual matchup," he said), and apparently Sooners fans are as well. As of last Friday, the school had sold all but about 2,000 of its 17,500 allotted tickets.

Meanwhile, Kansas on Monday sold out its allotment (also 17,500) for the Jan. 3 Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech.

The timing of the rejected Sooners-Hokies request is interesting, however. Over the next six months, BCS officials are expected to formally discuss the possibility of adding a "plus-one" game beginning with the 2010 season. Under the most commonly discussed model, in which the top-four teams would be "seeded" into semifinal bowl matchups, both Virginia Tech and Oklahoma would remain in contention for the national championship.

Slive has expressed his openness to the possibility on numerous occasions, as has Swofford, the ACC commissioner who will take over as coordinator following this year's title game. Such a plan would meet considerable resistance, however, from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen, due to its potential effect on those leagues' relationship with the Rose Bowl.

Castiglione said the foiled OU-Virginia Tech matchup, "is a real interesting element worthy of further exploration."

"I just hope at some point in time we can hear an explanation of why this wasn't possible given the fact the rules provided that opportunity if it was in everybody's best interest. Clear-thinking, well-intentioned minds would like to know whether something like this is possible."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/stewart_mandel/12/17/bcs/index.html

Stewie
12-18-2007, 02:13 PM
Maybe with more BS like this exposed we'll get a real playoff system.

58-4ever
12-18-2007, 02:13 PM
Good post. I can't wait until all those good ole boys die. They are ruining college football. This year there are a number of teams that could be the best team in the country, but we will never know who is the true national champion. What a joke.

Cochise
12-18-2007, 02:13 PM
:hmmm:

kepp
12-18-2007, 02:16 PM
Good post. I can't wait until all those good ole boys die. They are ruining college football. This year there are a number of teams that could be the best team in the country, but we will never know who is the true national champion. What a joke.
Yep...I think the Sooners could beat either LSU or OSU right now.

Orange Cameltoe
12-18-2007, 02:17 PM
Yep...I think the Sooners could beat either LSU or OSU right now.

No shit Sherlock.

Rooster
12-18-2007, 02:17 PM
Boooo crappy BCS.......

Hurray beer.......

jspchief
12-18-2007, 02:22 PM
Maybe with more BS like this exposed we'll get a real playoff system.Yea because fan outrage over a jacked up system has forced so much to change already.

The BCS has nothing to do with what fans want. It's about the most powerful conferences in the country getting guaranteed paydays.

Chiefnj2
12-18-2007, 02:27 PM
There is no national champion, only a BCS champion.

Rooster
12-18-2007, 02:30 PM
There is no national champion, only a BCS champion.

Amen to that.

El Jefe
12-18-2007, 02:30 PM
There is no national champion, only a BCS champion.


So Florida wasn't the best team in the Country last year, or how about Texas with VY, they werent the best teams in the Country?

El Jefe
12-18-2007, 02:31 PM
My post is to get your thoughts because for the most part I agree with you.

Chieficus
12-18-2007, 02:55 PM
Dang, that would have been a cool set up.

The plus-one idea they're kicking around is a step in the right direction, now to see if they'll actually go through with it...

Pushead2
12-18-2007, 03:00 PM
Playoffs will never happen. Too much cash.....

Chiefnj2
12-18-2007, 03:01 PM
So Florida wasn't the best team in the Country last year, or how about Texas with VY, they werent the best teams in the Country?
Nope. They were the BCS National Champions.

Mr. Laz
12-18-2007, 04:08 PM
Playoffs will never happen. Too much cash.....
they could have both if they weren't such stubborn jackasses