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No news is the news at BCS meetings

April 26, 2007|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS — Convinced that the past college football season all worked out in the end, Bowl Championship Series commissioners emerged from meetings Wednesday in the Crescent City without making any crescent-wrench changes to the controversial system.

In a way, doing nothing was the twist.

The BCS system has been tweaked almost annually since its inception in 1998, often accompanied by siren calls for a playoff, yet officials are presently comfortable with the "double host" format that was introduced last season.

Discussions of a full-blown, NFL-style playoff in college football are all but dead, and even modest notions of adding one more game to BCS construct -- the so-called "plus-one" model -- are probably a year away from serious consideration.

"There has never been more interest in college football," Mike Slive, BCS coordinator and Southeastern Conference commissioner, said Wednesday. "It's fair to give the BCS some credit for contributing to the interest in college football."

Some would argue the BCS, a points system implemented to pair schools for a title in a sport that has resisted overtures for a playoff, only dodged a bullet in 2006. There was plenty of controversy in Ann Arbor when Florida narrowly edged Michigan for the No. 2 spot in the final standings, but that outcry largely subsided after Michigan got routed in the Rose Bowl by USC and Florida upset No. 1 Ohio State to win the national title.

There will be no changes to the BCS standings formula in 2007. The components will remain the Harris and USA Today coaches' polls and the same six computer operators, with each element awarded one-third weight.

The 11 BCS commissioners, along with independent Notre Dame, discussed but did not enact a rule that would allow more than two teams from one conference to play in a BCS game. Officials also nixed a proposal that would require championship-game participants to have won their conference titles.

Slive deemed the first year of "double host" or "piggyback," a success, with the Fiesta Bowl setting a high bar with its presentation of Boise State-Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and, a week later, the BCS championship game.

The issue becomes more complicated this year, in the post-Katrina era, with the Sugar Bowl hosting two games -- its own game and the BCS national title. But Slive left New Orleans saying, "There's a sense we're in good hands."

Paul Hoolahan, the Sugar Bowl's Chief Executive Officer, said he answered many tough logistical and security questions during a Tuesday meeting with BCS officials.

"If they weren't watching us, they wouldn't be doing their jobs," Hoolahan said of the BCS.

Because of damage to the Louisiana Superdome caused by Hurricane Katrina, the 2006 Sugar Bowl had to be moved to Atlanta. But the 2007 game, Notre Dame vs. Louisiana State, returned to the Superdome.

Hoolahan said he knows that his bowl, and his city, will be under scrutiny later this year when thousands of media and fans descend on New Orleans.

He also said challenge provides New Orleans "the ability to prove to the rest of the world that we're back.... our obligation is to make it a flawless event."

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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