Hancock ready for football, defends BCSWritten by Chris Schmidbauer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When you first meet Bill Hancock, executive director of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), he might strike you as someone who might be teaching quantum physics rather than guiding college football’s multimillion dollar postseason program.
The soft-spoken avid outdoorsman is not the personality one might associate with the BCS, but Hancock has guided some preeminent sporting events. Hancock has spent 26 years on the United States Olympic Committee and was the director of the Final Four for 13 years.
“I have been really lucky for all of the opportunities I have been afforded over the years,” Hancock said. “I have been able to travel all over and be a part of so many things.”
Hancock took the top job with the BCS in November and he has wasted no time getting to work by singing the praises of the system.
“I really do think it is the best system available to college football,” he said. “I always tell people to look at the whole spectrum that is college football, and the BCS makes the regular season the best in any sports.”
The current hot button issue that faces Hancock is the growing support for a playoff setup for college football’s postseason. But he said there is little support for a playoff at this point in time, and a vast majority of college football’s brain trust actually prefers the current bowl system.
“As long as these coaches, commissioners and university presidents don’t want a playoff, there won’t be one,” he said. “The BCS is contracted for four years and each time we ask everyone involved what their opinion is. Right now, they like things the way they are.”
Hancock is also quick to point out a playoff doesn’t solve all of college football’s problems.
“You are always going to have the same problem creep in, which is there are never enough spots. If you take four teams, then the fifth team is upset. If you take eight, then the ninth team is upset. No amount is satisfactory.”
Detractors of the BCS have said that a playoff would be fairer to smaller schools and conferences such as the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University and other Mid-American Conference members. But Hancock does not see it that way.
“We have plenty of support from the smaller conferences, and the support is for the bowl system that is in place. The access to the major bowl games is so much better for these smaller conference schools than it was years ago.”
Hancock pointed to the recent success of schools, such as Boise State and Texas Christian University (TCU), who have “crashed” the BCS party the past few years.
“Their success has been great for college football. I think the BCS is the best thing to ever happen to Boise State football,” he said with a chuckle. “We have provided them a platform to show that they can compete at the highest level, and the same goes for TCU and Utah.
“The BCS has put some of these teams on the map. It is rare that you see teams like some of these smaller schools come out of nowhere and become as popular as they are. The BCS has sped up or enhanced the process.”
Hancock said there are things the series could improve, such as helping people understand the point system.
“It has been pretty evident to me that fans don’t understand the points system, and we are working to make sure they know everything we are doing and why we are doing them. When they tune in to college football games, we want fans to know what they are watching, and that is an important issue for the BCS.”
That is one of the reasons the BCS signed a new television deal this year to broadcast the BCS games on ESPN. The deal, worth $125 million annually, allows the BCS to promote the system year-round.
“We love all the platforms that ESPN can offer the BCS,” Hancock said. “They will be talking about the BCS all season and they have so many different promotional opportunities. We are very happy to be back with ESPN.”
Like most college football fans, Hancock can’t wait for the kick off of the 2010 season.
“We have the best system and the best fans, and I am so excited for football to kick off,” he said. “It should be an exciting year.”