Miles, Tressel Both Proponents Of BCS

You will not hear Jim Tressel or Les Miles going to bat for a full-scale college football playoff in Division I-A, but the two head coaches preparing for the next Bowl Championship Series National Championship game have a slightly different view of just how the final stage of the process should play out.

Neither head coach who will spend the next month preparing for the BCS National Championship game sees a need to do much to the current system for selecting the country's best major college football team.

"I think we have as good a system as you could possibly have for all of the different needs of what is going on in collegiate athletics," OSU coach Jim Tressel said Sunday night on a national teleconference after his team was selected to play LSU in the title game in New Orleans Jan. 7.

The needs he spoke of are primarily fiscal.

Most college athletics departments are funded by the exploits of their football team, a fact that was at least part of the motivation to expand the regular season to 12 games on a permanent basis earlier this decade and the adoption of a conference championship game for three of the six major conferences.

"Most of it is revenue driven to run comprehensive athletic programs, which is fine, and we're proud to be a part of that," Tressel said.

Few teams in the country have benefited more from the BCS' two-team format than his since Tressel took over the Buckeye program in 2001. He will lead a team into the title game for the third time in the past six years, and no coach has qualified for more title games than Tressel, who will join Florida State's Bobby Bowden and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops as a three-time participant.

Historically, LSU fans have reason to smile about the BCS as well. The 2003 Tigers coached by Nick Saban finished the regular season No. 2 in both the Associated Press and coaches' poll but earned a national championship by beating Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

Had such circumstances arisen before the implementation of the BCS, the Tigers likely would have been left with no claims to a national title because USC, which entered the postseason ranked No. 1 in both human polls but third in the BCS standings, defeated No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Both LSU and USC claim national titles from that season as a result.

Now despite two losses in the regular season, the Tigers and third-year head man Les Miles have a chance to play for another national crown.

"I think playing the number of nationally ranked teams that we played, (with) our overall strength of record, I'm not going to argue with the selection of the LSU Tigers," Miles said while taking part in the same teleconference as Tressel.

"I think in this particular instance I understand if I was at another school I might feel differently, but I think this is a very representative game of the best of college football."

He agreed with Tressel's statement that the BCS is good for college football overall.

"I think it's a piece that allows for rewarding a team in the bowl system and yet has the opportunity to provide a national championship," Miles said. "Those things are key."

Both coaches also agreed that winning one's conference should be a prerequisite to playing in the national championship game, but the two coaches were not entirely on the same page.

Miles would prefer to see the BCS extended from including two teams to four for the purpose of selecting a national champion.

"If there is a way to have a limited playoff, a limited back-end, four-team playoff in some way - taking into account not wanting to destroy the bowl system, not wanting to add weeks on to a college student-athlete's schedule - then I'd be for that," Miles said. "Until that comes about, until the powers that be can actually sit down and get that worked out, what we have right now is very workable."

Tressel, though, saw a problem with that.

"Students play a lot of games and a lot of them are going to have an opportunity to make run at short career at next level, and to go to a plus-one that would push it out further into January… all of a sudden it becomes a little bit distracted with the NFL tryouts and all-star games and combine preparation and all those kinds of things," Tressel said. "I'm not sure that's the fairest thing for the elite athletes that would be a part of a playoff system."


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