|ESPN.com: BCS||[Print without images]|
(Note: Prepared text. Spoken remarks may differ.)
SOUTH FLORIDA -- Thank you, and please join me in thanking Larry Wahl and all the Orange Bowl volunteers for their great work this week. Some of you may know this, but I had the privilege to be a volunteer at the Summer Olympic Games in London, so I know from personal experience how demanding volunteer work can be. It is also very rewarding. So again, thanks.
It is always good to be here with you. We're here to celebrate another amazing finish to a fantastic regular season, even as we build an entirely new era with the college football playoff set to launch in 2014. I'll have a little more to say about the playoff in a minute.
But this is still the BCS era, and we have one more year to go, so I would urge all of you to step back and look honestly at what the BCS has meant for college football since its grandfather, the bowl coalition, began in 1992. Remember that it has been 21 years since we had the old every-man-for-himself-and-invite-teams-on-Halloween bowl system: three years of the coalition, three of the bowl alliance and 15 of the BCS. I hope you agree that for all its perceived shortcomings, the BCS was a major improvement over the wild, wild west of the past, when the top two teams met in bowl games only eight times in 56 years.
The BCS's charge was getting one versus two. Period. I'm proud to say we have an excellent track record carrying out that charge.” -- BCS executive director Bill Hancock
And I know some of you are tired of hearing me say this, but I will say it again. This year marks the 15th year in a row that the top two teams by BCS measurements have played each other, and the 12th time in 15 years according to the AP poll, including the last nine years in a row. The BCS group is proud of this outstanding record, and it's no wonder that the BCS National Championship Game is America's second most-watched sporting event of the year. We may break our own record for viewership tonight.
The BCS's charge was getting one versus two. Period. I'm proud to say we have an excellent track record carrying out that charge.
As you know, breaking records is very difficult in sports, so give the BCS its due. The BCS preserved and enhanced the most popular elements of college football while creating a true national championship game. That commitment to both the regular season and the postseason has helped college football reach new heights in popularity.
You all love statistics and going behind the numbers. So as you think about and write about the BCS era, I respectfully request that you look beyond just what we've done in matching No. 1 versus No. 2, although that is our primary objective. Look at what the BCS has done in terms of providing new revenue and access to the top tier bowl games to conferences that never had it before.
Look at what the BCS has done in terms of enhancing the regular season while preserving and boosting America's great bowl tradition. Look at the number of programs which now compete for the title each year. Look at how the BCS era has witnessed the growth of college football from primarily a regional sport into a wonderfully popular national sport. And look at what the BCS has done in terms of access.
The BCS is often used as the convenient scapegoat for just about every perceived wrong in the sport. So one year, for instance, the BCS is described by some as an evil cartel that won't let Cinderella teams into the party, and the next year the BCS is assailed for slighting conferences and teams with better records. Folks, which one is it?
And yes, I'm talking about Northern Illinois. They played by the rules, they earned the right to be in a BCS bowl, and I'm proud that the BCS format rewarded them for their outstanding season. Just as the rules we accept and live by allow
Wisconsin to play in the Rose Bowl, Northern Illinois earned the right to play in the Orange Bowl. And I would say the same thing about any team that has rightfully earned its way to a BCS bowl, irrespective of conference affiliation.
And that is exactly the approach taken by this group as it agreed to create the new college football playoff, which will begin in 2014.
As President Steger said when we announced the playoff this past summer, we believe the new format will be good for student-athletes, for alumni and for these institutions. It's a best of both worlds result because it truly does capture the excitement of a playoff, while protecting the best regular season in sports and also the tradition of the bowls.
Obviously, we still have important work to do, and more announcements to make. We need to pick the first city to host the championship game. We need to pick the other three bowls that will be in the rotation to host the semi-final games.
Many details remain to be finalized about the selection committee, including who will serve on it. Plus, we need to give ourselves a new name. I welcome your suggestions!
Behind the scenes, we are making great progress as the countdown to launching the playoff era. I'm proud of what we've done and know these decisions will be made in plenty of time for the 2014 season.
This is the state of the BCS today. We are at an historic juncture -- a turning point between the old and the new. The sun is setting on the BCS era and the playoff era will begin in just over a year. The fans wanted change - and we're changing.
We're making a transformation that preserves the traditions of this great game while laying the foundation for new traditions, new rivalries, and new excitement.
The playoff era will be the best of both worlds, and each day I wake up, I'm grateful to be a part of it.