Bobby Bowden wants on BCS panel
Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden would like to be on a BCS committee that selects national championship playoff participants.
"I would be willing to serve on it," Bowden said Tuesday. "I think ex-coaches have a lot of wisdom. I watch the games. And I watch the game films on my iPad."
Bowden is a voting member of the Legends Poll, which for seven years has asked legendary ex-coaches to watch game footage from across the country, participate in conference call discussions and vote.
"This Legends group is about as real a group as you can have," Bowden said. "I voted for years as an active coach. But what you're really doing then is putting yourself and your conference in position. I used to have an idea of what was going on around me. But now I really have an idea of what's going on around the country. When we're retired, we all have a better view."
I would be willing to serve on it. I think ex-coaches have a lot of wisdom. I watch the games. And I watch the game films on my iPad.” -- Former FSU coach Bobby Bowden
The idea of a committee to determine the Final Four participants starting in 2014 is gaining some traction.
The Big Ten and Big 12 have stated comfort with the committee concept. Big 12 officials have expressed the desire for a "human element" to ensure blatant oversights do not occur. The Big Ten would like a committee with some guidelines to treat the selection discussion as a jury. The SEC has said the committee is a concept worth further exploring.
The Pac-12 and Big East have not advocated the committee concept at this time. But it may be a compromise, considering some conferences want all four finalists to be conference champions, some want preference shown for conference champions in a "hybrid" model with one wild card, and some want the top four teams regardless of conference.
Many conferences also have expressed concern about using an active coaches' poll and computer formulas without transparency as part of the BCS formula, while also stressing a desire for added emphasis on strength of schedule.
Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, former Ohio State coach John Cooper, former BYU coach LaVell Edwards and former Georgia coach Vince Dooley are all members of the College Football Hall of Fame and part of the Legends Poll. And they also would like to be part of the BCS committee.
"I go to games, I watch on TV, I watch all the game video and then we talk about it for at least an hour every week," Slocum said. "Nobody follows it closer than the guys on this Legends Poll. We have the time to do it. We have the expertise from years of coaches.
"It's a lot better than a computer. And it's a lot better than people who have never worked in the game. The system is flawed. We all want to do what we can to help preserve the integrity of the game."
Cooper believes the opportunity is an exciting one.
"I would love to do this," he said. "I would love to be a part of it. My life revolves around college football and coaching. I would vote for the best team, regardless of conference. And I know we all would operate that way."
Edwards believes the new approach would be more useful than polls.
"This is not ballots being filled out by sports information directors," he said. "This is watching film and having in-depth discussions with people around the country. It's as close as anybody could come to being completely objective. Computer formulas with no transparency are no good. Former coaches have the ability to evaluate things like how a team is playing at a particular time."
SEC commissioner Mike Slive quipped once that any member of a committee would have to enroll in a "witness protection program."
"No person is better equipped to handle the pressure that would go with being on that committee than an ex-coach," Slocum said. "We've seen a lot more pressure than being on a poll."
"Bobby has an iPad?" Dooley said. "Well, I've got an iPad and an iPhone. Seriously, we all have strong opinions as coaches on our conference calls. I think the former coaches are the best choice for the committee because we have the time to study it. I'm not campaigning to be on any committee but I would definitely want to serve and help the system. I respect the computers, but they have limits. As a retired coach, we had broader perspective."
Bowden and Slocum said they believe a television program that exposed their discussions would allow for transparency and be entertaining. Bowden did say he wasn't certain he'd want his poll made public.
"There are some wild ones out there," Bowden said. "My last year coaching at Florida State I got some calls from prominent places about why I voted for who where. But I do think this would be worth being a part of."
Among the interested people who have participated in Legends Poll conference calls, according to executive director Andy Curtin, is BCS executive director Bill Hancock.
"If we're headed toward a BCS committee with 12 or 14 voters, I'd think there might be eight or 10 members of the Legends Poll on it," Curtin said. "It really is the best solution. I really think almost every one of them would do it. These guys are fountains of knowledge. They're unbelievably smart. They are dedicated to the study and they are non-biased."
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