One of the more intriguing side stories about the BCS Committee this year has been the public presence of the new director, Bill Hancock. The BCS has obviously realized that they need some P.R. work, so they brought in a full-time director who appears bent on being the public advocate for the system. He's even done a Q&A with Michael Rueckert of MWCConnection.com to try to rally support for the system. And let's face it, the BCS needs this kind of advocacy. With people like Doc Saturday unabashedly teeing off on the system for years, it does begin to wear down their credibility over time (and I'm being polite here). But the one thing they can do to maintain credibility is so simple, yet seemingly so impossible:
Make bowl matchups that people want to see.
Moving past the NC game (only 2 teams can fit 2 slots; 3 undefeateds were getting omitted either way), it would have been a very simple matter to ask which games fans would have been excited to see. The one game that had a resounding disapproval was TCU-Boise. We saw that last year in the Poinsettia, for one. For two, Boise State is almost certainly going to be getting a MWC invite this summer, and they already feel like conference opponents at this stage. It's like they scheduled Penn State / Iowa for a BCS game.
But beyond the pending conference realignment, neither fan base has any interest in playing the other team. Read their opinions; they're out there. MWCConnection has had TCU fans commenting for a while. OBNUG captures the Boise heartbeat like few blogs ever manage to do. And both agree:
And neither do the rest of us. It's the Relegation Bowl - and not in the European Soccer sense. Andy Staples had the best line of the night:
Welcome to Glendale, home of the Separate but Equal Bowl. Great work, @insidethebcs.
Bingo. This is a lose-lose game for everybody, and the BCS knew it. No matter how they do, TCU cannot create a rhetorical argument that they deserved a shot at the national title. Even a blowout against Boise would be termed as against 'a small team'. Really, the same goes for Boise: none of the big teams dare schedule them any more, and now the BCS won't do it either. (Answer this: if Boise's SOS is a problem, how can they fix it if nobody is willing to play them anymore? It takes two teams, and the big kids are too scared.) Already eliminated from title contention, two undefeated teams are now denied the consolation prize - the chance to prove themselves against the 'big boys'.
And it was so obvious to everybody else.
The question is: how much more success do Boise and the MWC have to bring to the table? Boise State has steamrolled teams for so long that it's a wonder they're not bored. The MWC consistently has three teams in the top 25, with Air Force constantly on the wings. Between these schools, they've won more games against major teams than they've lost. There is no longer a rational argument for exclusion, yet the BCS has managed to find the one solution to the bowl problem that was guaranteed to anger the midmajors - deny their opportunity to compete with the majors.
I wish Bill Hancock the best of luck handling P.R. after this mess. He's going to need all the luck he can get.