|Tuesday, June 25
Updated: June 26, 9:15 AM ET
BCS considered many changes before making few
By Wayne Drehs
For all the talk about Tuesday's changes to the BCS formula, it was a handful of rumored modifications that didn't go through which created the most noise.
In the past weeks, it had been rumored that a BCS oversight committee, somewhat similar to the group the NCAA uses to determine the 65 participants in its men's basketball tournament, would be instituted to clear up any late-season headaches the BCS formula potentially created.
In a Tuesday teleconference, Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, the BCS czar for the next two seasons, said the six conference commissioners of the BCS couldn't come to a unanimous decision about including such a committee and thus decided against the somewhat radical change.
"We talked at great length about including a human element into the selection process," Tranghese said. "But if we were going to make a change, it would have had to have been a consensus. And it was pretty clear we didn't have that."
Last year, such a committee potentially could have overruled the BCS formula after it said 10-1 Nebraska was the No. 2 team in the nation and should play undefeated Miami for the national championship. Some argued that Pac-10 champion Oregon, which finished fourth in the BCS rankings but were second in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches and AP polls, would have given Miami a better game.
Though the idea of an oversight committee was thoroughly discussed, Tranghese said that BCS commissioners had little idea how to use it. Even the ones who were in favor of the group weren't sure what it would do.
Of added complication was who would have been on the committee, especially considering the number of teams and conferences that can financially benefit from a member institution participating in the BCS title game.
"We would have asked these people to decide who is in the championship game," Tranghese said. "We saw that the pressure on these people would have been enormous, overwhelming and out of control. And many people just thought the stakes were too high."
Another rumored change that didn't materialize was the inclusion of a conference champion clause, or "the Nebraska rule." The rule would have required all participants in the national championship game to have won their conference.
Nebraska failed to win the Big XII last season, but still ended up in the Rose Bowl. But the fact that only two of the six BCS conferences -- the Big XII and the SEC -- have conference championship games complicated the matter. As did the fact that even within conferences, few teams play similar schedules, further clouding the true conference championship picture.
If Northwestern, for example, won the Big Ten without playing Ohio State or Michigan, while Illinois played both teams, but lost to the Buckeyes, would that be a fair reason for keeping them out of the title game? Tranghese and the rest of the BCS committee weren't sure.
"One of the examples was that you could be 10-1, be No. 2 or No. 3 in the country, with your only loss in the conference and thus not win the conference championship," Tranghese said. "And then you wouldn't be allowed in the championship game. It didn't make sense."
Wayne Drehs is a staff writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.