BCS director loves his job, bowl system
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Sunday, December 06, 2009
12/06/09 at 4:08 AM
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Bill Hancock was the director of the NCAA Basketball Tournament for more than a decade, and people were always asking him if there was any other job he'd love as much.
"I always told them I'd love to be the director of a football championship," said Hancock.
That wish came true in mid-November when Hancock, a Hobart native and University of Oklahoma grad, was named executive director of the Bowl Championship Series.
"I can't believe some old boy from Hobart has been lucky enough to be the director of the basketball tournament and now the football championship," said Hancock. "I just can't believe I've been this lucky."
Some would dispute how lucky he is in his new job as the defender of the BCS system that seems to be the target of nearly every college football fan.
Hancock, who has to be one of the most likable people in college athletics, takes it all in stride.
"I understand why people get upset," said Hancock. "But I'm so happy that people are so passionate about this.
"I would hate to be the executive director of something that nobody cared about."
Hancock knows there are people out there who care far too much. Yet he knows that enthusiasm and passion is what makes college football such a terrific sport.
Hancock is the first full-time executive director of the BCS, a job previously rotated among major conference commissioners.
In his new role he'll be the main defender of a system that many believe is indefensible.
That won't be a difficult job for Hancock. He is a true believer.
"This is the greatest thing ever," said Hancock. "Every year we are guaranteed to have the No. 1 and No. 2 team in the nation meet for the national championship. It is like having a new toy at Christmas.
"What people need to remember is where we were 12 years ago when the BCS was born. It was chaos. The top teams were all going to different bowl games. This system brought some order to college football."
Hancock is a fan of the BCS, though he knows it's not perfect.
"I think there are two things that many people don't understand about the BCS," said Hancock. "The BCS is not an entity. It is an event. For instance, this year it identifies about six or seven teams that will be a part of the BCS bowl process. Then, those other slots (to fill the 10 BCS bowl slots) will be picked by the bowls.
"The BCS has a formula to pick those teams."
Hancock believes the formula, which has been tinkered with many times over the last 12 years, is an honest attempt to find the nation's two best teams.
The formula comes down to 174 human voters (Harris Poll and Coaches Poll) along with six computers. Each of those rankings is one-third of the BCS total.
"There are a lot of people that have other ideas," said Hancock. "We've heard most of them and will always be open to listening. For instance, we have some people that believe a selection committee, kind of like we had in college basketball, would be better. Some believe a committee of retired coaches would be better.
"Right now, the system we have is from the grassroots of the BCS. The conference commissioners believe our current system is the best. Someone always has a plan they believe is better. But right now, this is what the majority wants."
Hancock has grown to love the system. In 1975, he wrote a column in the Hobart Chief, his hometown newspaper owned by his family.
"I wrote how I was in favor of a playoff system for college football," said Hancock. "Of course, that year, a playoff system would have been a good thing for my team (OU).
"I now believe a playoff would not be better. I just don't know how you would structure it. The other day someone told me you would have to include all of the undefeated teams if you had a playoff. So, the week of Thanksgiving we still had six undefeated teams. So, at that point, do we plan on an eight-team playoff? What about the next year if there is just one undefeated team? Do we just need one game?"
All in all, Hancock believes in the BCS.
"I've seen what the bowl system has done for college football," said Hancock. "I understand when I see a kid get to see the ocean for the first time.
"There are so many wonderful things in the bowl system. I think bowls have created a lot of wonderful memories for a lot of players, coaches and fans over the years."