SEC media days: Hey, who let the BCS in here?

This is Bill Hancock of the BCS. He told us a few jokes.

This is Bill Hancock of the BCS. He told us a few jokes.

HOOVER, Ala. — Let me start by saying that I really like Bill Hancock. He has worked for the USOC for several past Olympics (summer and winter) that I’ve covered and he’s one of the few individuals a media person can always count on to get information and help cut through international red tape on issues.

But Hancock now is a likable guy with a thankless job: He is the executive director of the BCS.

Nothing stirs the masses like a power point. (Yawn.)

Nothing stirs the masses like a power point. (Yawn.)

I believe his second choice for employment was environmental spokesperson for BP.

Hancock opened SEC media days with a 15-minute power point presentation. He started with an unintended joke: “I’m going to tell you how [the BCS] works and why it works.”

He went on to talk about how college football “never has been more popular.” And, “Since the BCS was created, attendance and TV ratings have soared.” And (this might be my favorite): “We have the best sport, hands down. Why monkey with that?”

See, here’s the problem: Logic screams that college football has grown in spite of the BCS, not because of it.

The growth of college football can be traced to an increased presence on television, more dollars flowing into the sport than ever before and more higher profile coaches elevating programs to the stature of small nations or major corporations.

The fact college football has a flawed postseason system has nothing to do with its boom.

So I asked Hancock: What tells him that the BCS is directly responsible for college football’s growth?

His answer: “That’s a good question. That’s one of the things I thought about during my run this morning. I don’t think there’s a lot of intuitive evidence, hard evidence [that the two are related]. But attendance did begin to rise when the BCS was formed. Could it have been a coincidence? It could have. But we know the game has become much more of a national game because of the BCS. It’s not fair for us to take all of the credit for everything or get all of the blame for everything. But I don’t think it was just a coincidence.”

I’ll give him credit for a creative, albeit vague, answer.

But for what it’s worth, after his power point and a brief Q-and-A, I’m not sure that he convinced anybody in the room.

Previous SEC/Georgia posts

We’re LIVE at SEC media days (with no shortage of storylines)

NCAA reportedly investigating Florida (but temper excitement)

Can Dogs end Alabama-Florida monopoly in SEC title game?

Listen up, Ole Miss: I’ve got Colonel Reb’s replacement

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

110 comments Add your comment

Billo

July 21st, 2010
12:50 pm

Billo

July 21st, 2010
12:51 pm

i am a dork…second

It's a shame what he did to that dog

July 21st, 2010
12:52 pm

I’m just losing so much sleep over USC giving Reggie Bush’s Heisman back. LOL

Billo

July 21st, 2010
12:52 pm

Jeff…do you know what players Richt is bringing?

It's a shame what he did to that dog

July 21st, 2010
12:53 pm

“after his power point”

Who the he!! uses PP? Geez, no wonder people outside the south make fun of us so much. What next, MC Hammer being played on cd?

Jeff

July 21st, 2010
12:53 pm

It is STILL better than a playoff!

haha

July 21st, 2010
12:55 pm

truth is the BCS needs college football…college football does NOT need the BCS

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
12:55 pm

Bill: 3 Georgia players are Drew Butler. Shaun Chapas and A.J. Green.

Billo

July 21st, 2010
12:58 pm

Thanks Jeff. Kicker to media days, thats funny.

savannahdawg

July 21st, 2010
1:00 pm

Of course he loves his BCS system………hello……………he getting paid as long as the BCS is around. Is he going to say it sucks, let’s have a playoff? This article was a waste of time. You must have needed to fill some copy.

BMDPD

July 21st, 2010
1:01 pm

Billo, that kicker is all Georgia and bleeds red and black. Not to mention award-winning. Good pick in my opinion!

Dan

July 21st, 2010
1:02 pm

It’s too easy to criticize the BCS. But we have a word for offering criticism without including a defined alternative. It’s called whining.

Billo

July 21st, 2010
1:03 pm

BMDPD….don’t get me wrong UGA may have the best tandum of kickers in the country, and Drew is a heck of a kid. It is just silly to me to have a kicker there. I am imagining him sitting next to a big o-linemen in the lobby. hehehe

DawginLex

July 21st, 2010
1:04 pm

Jeff,

If you ask Petrino a question and he realizes you are from Atlanta, will it cause him any concern at all or is he as heartless as we all believe him to be?

BMDPD

July 21st, 2010
1:04 pm

Billo, I bet that is a site to see.

Chris

July 21st, 2010
1:06 pm

Jeff,
That was a good question and it was a dancing answer. Haha has it right. If the BCS is never formed and we were still subject to seven games on New Year’s Day, college football would still be soaring in popularity due to the reasons you cited.

Billo

July 21st, 2010
1:07 pm

Its the little thing in life you know.

But honstly, with Rambo and/or Boykin returning kicks, UGA may have the best special teams in the country. That is if Walsh can kick the dang ball threw the endzone.

derek

July 21st, 2010
1:10 pm

While there may not be hard evidence to support the idea that the BCS has helped college football’s popularity, I think there is “intuitive evidence”. As media transforms from a simple fact gathering and reporting entity to one that increasingly creates “news” by perpetuating gossip, rumor, and occassional fact we should remember our cliches. There is no such thing as bad press. And controversy certainly creates interest. If the legacy of the BCS is nothing more than adding to the controversy of which teams are the best each year, then that alone is likely a good thing for college football.

Other sports may also benefit from controversy over substance. Baseball continues to discover a resurgence in popularity despite dwindling power numbers, which have historically been considered good for ratings. However, controversial umpiring and the focus on instant replay may be getting the game more press. The World Cup, while always popular worldwide, seemed more interesting this year, and was full of controvesial calls.

Too much typing for sure. Not that I support the BCS (as a Georgia fan, I would have loved a playoff system instead of a anticlimactic Hawaii game several years ago), but we shouldn’t immediately dismiss it as bad for ratings.

Augusta

July 21st, 2010
1:19 pm

As I learned in psychology, correlation does not prove causation.

HugoStiglitz

July 21st, 2010
1:26 pm

Well im still holding out hope that D1 college football will have a real postseason one day. It gets a little frustrating watching great seasons and conference championship games, and then ending it on such a sour note, with such a joke of a system and with a random pairing playing for the MNC. Thanks for asking tough questions though Jeff and not letting him just spread BS without saying something to back it up.

Kane337

July 21st, 2010
1:28 pm

Anybody that supports the flawed BCS system is an idiot in my book.
There is absolutely no logic that says the BCS is a better system than a true playoff.

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
1:29 pm

Billo — Yeah, I know. But at least they brought Green.

ugadawg2005

July 21st, 2010
1:30 pm

He is correct. College football and tv ratings have soared as a result of the BCS. It is better than the pre-BCS Bowl alliance/coalition, and certainly better than what we had before then. The BCS increased interest because it promised to pit the top 2 teams against one another at the end of the year and created a race for this game. In 1997, everyone was excited because then Nebraska and Michigan played in different bowl games. If the BCS were in place, they could have played.

This does not mean that a playoff is not a better solution. This does not mean that a playoff won’t be better for college football than the BCS. However, the BCS is defnitely responsible for increasing interest in college football over the predecessor systems.

As a playoff supporter, we do not need too many teams. We don’t want the regular season to become like college basketball, or even as unimportant as the NBA or NHL.

wxwax

July 21st, 2010
1:31 pm

To the poster who thinks the BCS is better than a playoff, one simple question: why?

Pretty much every other sport has a playoff. People love playoffs. They generate excitement and interest as teams are knocked out and the field narrows. Heck, people who “hate” soccer watched the World Cup in record numbers because it was an exciting playoff, an event.

If you’re a business guy, the money a playoff would generate makes the current bowl set-up look like a joke. Concerned about losing the bowl tradition? It’s a myth. Every single bowl, even the venerated Rose Bowl, has prostituted itself and changed its format in the last ten years. There is no bowl tradition anymore. College football players don’t have the time for a playoff? Tell that to Appalachian State.

There’s only one reason to oppose a playoff: It would loosen the firm grip the major football schools have on the process and the result.

I’m struggling to see why that’s a bad idea.

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
1:31 pm

DawginLex — Petrino’s guard is always up, no matter if I’m from New York or Atlanta or Biloxi.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

July 21st, 2010
1:32 pm

That’s the kind of talking done by a$$ painters. Beware anybody that talks like that and offers you a dog biscuit to come into the electrical closet for just a minute. If I had it to do over again I’d bite the guy with the spray paint. Where does the BCS stand on a$$ painting a little dog?

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Jeff

July 21st, 2010
1:38 pm

If they simply went to a four team playoff, then maybe. But you know it would stop there (as the NCAA hoops tourney demonstrates). One of the reasons that college football is SO great, is that a game the first three weeks of the season is just as important as the last three. In no other sport does that exist. That is what I hope to retain.

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
1:42 pm

Mike Slive just cracked a joke, saying “the Tennessee coach” (Lane Kiffin) “left to return to his Western roots” and of Derek Dooley he said “When I say welcome, I mean welcome.” Nicely done, Mr. Slive.

Jeff

July 21st, 2010
1:43 pm

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
1:47 pm

Ding, ding, ding! First Tim Tebow reference at 12:46 central time. (Mike Slive on exemplary student-athletes).

Hawk n the Ham

July 21st, 2010
1:48 pm

Schultz! Welcome to Hoover.

Clay

July 21st, 2010
1:52 pm

College football has grown because of increased exposure. When I first became interested (1967), good southern teams (and Dooley’s teams generally were) got on TV maybe twice during the regular season. ESPN, TBS, TNT, FOX changed all that.

RxDawg

July 21st, 2010
1:58 pm

Another reason college football has grown so popular is -> Alumni.

There are simply just more and more people going to college these days. More grads = more alumni = more fans = more ratings.

bob

July 21st, 2010
1:58 pm

The BCS is the better than the previous system, just vote after the predetermined bowl games. What more can it do until whomever allows a plus one game or a playoff?

Gatorzone

July 21st, 2010
1:59 pm

Give that POS Hell Jeff!!!! Petrino has a yellow streak 2foot wide down his back!!!

Asheville Dawg

July 21st, 2010
2:03 pm

That commissioner is a funny/truthful guy.

Flappin' Falcon

July 21st, 2010
2:03 pm

I’ll give you 4 letters…E-S-P-N.
ESPN is the biggest reason college football has grown to megapopularity. They have taken this phenomenally marketable product and perfected the art of selling college football (and all other sports too) and delivering college football content better than anyone else. They have the best and the brightest working behind the scenes. I’m not talking about the on screen talent. I’m talking about names we never hear. The dudes in the suits who know how to package it, wrap it and sell it better than anyone else.
The BCS execs are nothing but a bunch of well connected old slugs. Power Point presentation? It’s 2010, dudes. The BCS is just floating in a raft in ESPNs wake and scrabbling for scraps like everybody else.
Within 10 years the BCS will finally submit and there will be a playoff in college football. AND it will be broadcast by ESPN. ESPN will create the idea in its entirety from the playoff scenarios to the billions of $$ in advertising to the delivery of what 99% of America has been asking for for 20 years…a playoff system and the end of the BCS as we know it.

Dawgone

July 21st, 2010
2:05 pm

If the BCS is so wonderful and responsible for so much growth, I’m sure there are other sports and entities flocking to duplicate its success in their respective venues. Right? Right?

Stan Gnomor

July 21st, 2010
2:07 pm

Great question Jeff. You know the BCS is wrong. I know the BCS is wrong. Every living organism on this planet not being highly paid by the BCS knows the BCS is wrong. But as long as the BCS is in charge of deciding the fate of the BCS… the answer will always be that muddled jumble of BS you got from Bill Hancock.

Hawk n the Ham

July 21st, 2010
2:08 pm

If it’s so great, then lets get rid of the March Madness tourney for basketball. Have a couple of iMacs figure up who is the best 2 teams, and let them play. Just forget about all the fun and excitement of that old non computer based tourney.

Logan

July 21st, 2010
2:08 pm

I was once a pro playoff person myself, but now I’m not so sure about that anymore. My biggest hold back is to take a look at the basketball tourney. They are always wanting to add more and more teams to it and what was there reason for it, so they could make some more money. They try to claim that will do away with the “bubble teams”, but no matter how many teams you have in the tourney, somebody is gonna get left out and will therefore always have the bubble teams. The same will happen with a playoff system here too. The reason it works in the other divisions of football is cause they aren’t cash cows like D-1A football. If they were, the NCAA would make the playoffs bigger to make more money from it.

Chris

July 21st, 2010
2:12 pm

To all the posters saying the ‘BCS is so much better than what we had’, I disagree. The BCS has reduced the other four major bowls to meaningless exhibitions. Did anyone really care about FL waxing Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl, GA/Hawaii, WVU/OK in the Fiesta Bowl?
At least prior to the BCS, you had one wonderful day of flipping channels and actually CARING what happened in each game.
I have to admit though that it probably is a step in the right direction although at this pace, I’ll never see a true playoff in my lifetime…I’ll probably die in two years anyhow.

Chris

July 21st, 2010
2:16 pm

That’s a very valid point Logan. You’ve got the greatest regular season in all of sportdom as it is. A four team/plus one is the only realistic proposal in the next four or five years as I understand the current contract. From there, you’ll get schools screaming at number five that they were hosed. Then you’ve got the travel from the fan bases to three weeks/three different venues. Most people don’t have that kind of time and money although the venues would still be sold out and the ratings and TV money would dwarf what we have now.

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
2:24 pm

Saban still talking and railing on agents…. Not sure if I’m supposed to address him as “coach” or “Sensei.”

Dawgone

July 21st, 2010
2:26 pm

Is Saban standing on a box or did some taller person come over and lower the mic for him?

Bulldog59

July 21st, 2010
2:26 pm

Gotta agree with Clay on this one. The TV coverage and availability of college games has grown enormously. That more than anything would explain the increased popularity. You can now see a college game on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,

George Stein

July 21st, 2010
2:38 pm

Bulldawg59 – I tend to agree that TV coverage has increased and that has in turn driven up the demand. But, I also think the scholarship limits has something to do with it.

Because teams no longer accumulate massive amounts of talent, it gets spread around which gives schools that used to rarely have an opportunity to play any meaningful games a chance and, as a result, their fans and alumni get behind the team more because they have a feeling that they could actually win.

Hawk n the Ham

July 21st, 2010
2:39 pm

I had heard on Saban’s contract, if he won the national championship, Bama would give him leg extensions. Is there any truth to that Schultz?

WDE!!!

July 21st, 2010
2:42 pm

Ask Saban, “Since you are here, who’s running hell?”