Monday, April 4, 2011
Brake time for Cotton Bowl to BCS
By David Ubben
After the Fiesta Bowl released its report on the abuse of funds within the bowl and fired CEO John Junker, plenty of those who cover college football, myself included, turned an eye toward the Cotton Bowl.
The bowl already had BCS aspirations. Comments by BCS director Bill Hancock immediately after the report was released suggested that the Fiesta Bowl's status among the elite was in jeopardy. After that statement, he even added, in an interview with CBS Sports, that he was "dead serious."
However, those holding their breath that the Cotton Bowl will gain a spot in the BCS may be holding it awhile. Shortly after those comments, Hancock softened his stance in an interview with the Arizona Republic.
Bill Hancock, executive director of the coalition of college football's top bowls, said in an interview that discussion of eliminating the Fiesta Bowl from the BCS was "way premature." He called it "irresponsible" for media to speculate which bowls, if any, would replace the Fiesta Bowl in the four-bowl BCS.
Then, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, who operates out of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex where the Cotton Bowl is played, expressed confidence in the Fiesta Bowl reforming its finances in the future and holding on to its BCS slot as the home of the Big 12 champion.
"I feel good about their commitment to do the right thing," Beebe said. "There hasn't been a reluctance or push back [from Fiesta officials] at all."
The commissioner left the door cracked a bit on the league's future relationship with the bowl, saying he was "confident" but "not there yet" in determining whether the Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl's relationship will continue.
"We certainly have the highest stake in this," he said.
Looking for a campaign from the coaches? Don't expect Bob Stoops to carry the banner. Though his Sooners have played in the bowl three times in five years, he refused to inject himself into the debate.
Oklahoma played two Big East teams (UConn, West Virginia) and Boise State in their past three trips to the Fiesta Bowl. But the Cotton Bowl earning a BCS spot would mean the national title game would be played in Dallas once every four years. Oklahoma beat Florida State in Miami to win the 2000 title, but was beaten by Florida in Miami and LSU in New Orleans in front of decidedly partisan crowds. His team has earned eight BCS bids since 2000 and played in the Cotton Bowl just once.
Despite having plenty to gain with the Cotton Bowl earning BCS admission, Stoops is staying out of it.
"That would not be right for me to get into that debate,” Stoops said. "At the end of the day, I trust our administrators, presidents, and all of our commissioners and people running our conference to decide that. I am very aware of my job as the coach and my job is to run our team and their job is to manage the university and what is best for our league and everyone else, so I will leave it to them to determine that."
It's always looked like a bit of an uphill battle for the Cotton Bowl to earn a BCS spot, but currently, it's lacking in public support from people with real decision-making power. Will that have to change for the BCS to become a reality? Perhaps, but there's no doubt it would help.
For now, the Cotton Bowl will have to do without.