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Wednesday, November 6
Coker likes bowl system despite Miami's position

Associated Press

NORMAN, Okla. -- If his team wins the rest of its games, Bob Stoops will have No. 1 Oklahoma in the national championship game for the second time in three years. Defending national champion and second-ranked Miami could go undefeated and miss out on the Fiesta Bowl.

So it's not surprising that Stoops and Coker might have different opinions of the Bowl Championship Series system, which determines who plays for the national title. Stoops wouldn't mind seeing changes to the BCS, and Coker likes the system roughly the way it is.

Wait a minute.

The coach whose team has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the BCS wants a playoff? And the coach whose team is on course to be jilted by the system for the second time in three seasons approves of it?


"There needs to be some type of playoff system,'' Stoops said. "Some of it (the BCS) makes sense and is good. Other parts of it don't make sense, and it's bad. They need to eliminate the parts that don't make sense and get it to make sense more.''

Oklahoma (8-0) has a solid lead this week's BCS rankings, which take into account the Associated Press media poll, the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and six computer rankings. If the Sooners win their final four regular-season games and the Big 12 championship game, they will play in the Fiesta Bowl for the national title.

Stoops said the teams that play for the national title should at least have won a conference championship. Last year, Nebraska made it to the national championship game after not even winning the North Division of the Big 12.

"What'll happen this year, I don't know,'' he said. "I don't even bother to speculate. I don't much care. All I care about is going to play Texas A&M this week. Hopefully, down the road they'll find a way to tweak it or incorporate some type of playoff, but use the bowls to use it. I think it would be great.''

Stoops suggested possibly an eight-team playoff that would involve seven BCS bowl games, with the championship game being rotated among those bowls. Or perhaps just rotating it among four BCS bowls.

"They need a lot smarter people than me to figure it out,'' he said.

The Hurricanes (8-0) are third in the BCS rankings behind Oklahoma and Ohio State. Even if they win their remaining four games, there's a possibility they could stay there, which would open the system to even harsher criticism.

Still, Coker likes the bowl system. He spent four years as an assistant coach at Tulsa and seven seasons as an assistant at Oklahoma State, learning that bowl games are better for the majority of teams in the country.

"I don't really want to see a 16-team playoff,'' Coker said. "If you have 117 teams, you have 116 losers. When I was with Jimmy (Johnson) at Oklahoma State, we were a good football team. We weren't a great football team. We lost to Nebraska, we lost to Oklahoma and lost late to Missouri. We're going to be in no national championship playoff at all, but we got invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl. It's not even a bowl anymore.

"We go and there's 55,000 people, crowded, packed and we win the game. It's like we won a national championship. Our fans were elated, Jimmy's a great coach and now gets this opportunity at the University of Miami. Assistant coaches get rehired. But if you have one winner, then there are a lot of losers out there. From a coaching standpoint, I like to see a lot of coaches have an opportunity to win and their programs have an opportunity to win.''

Coker said he might favor a one-game playoff that would take two of the four winners of the BCS bowls and let them play for the title.

"But who would select those teams? Me? My wife? Maybe a committee of retired coaches,'' he said. ``There's always going to be those problems.''

Coker admitted he might change his tune if the BCS rankings stay unchanged.

"If we're third in the country (in the BCS) and two teams go and we don't, then oh yeah, we definitely need a playoff,'' he said.

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