The BCS is ending with Monday’s championship game between Florida State and Auburn, but for BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock, it will only mean a shift of job titles to running the College Football Playoff. The Advocate’s Ted Lewis talked to Hancock on Thursday from Pasadena, Calif., site of Monday’s game:
Advocate: What are you going to miss most about the BCS?
Hancock: We’ll miss announcing two teams on Selection Sunday, but we’ll be announcing four teams from now on. It’s going to be more complicated, because in the past, it was matter of mathematical computations and then the bowls choosing. This is going to involve meetings over two or three days that will be thoughtful and deliberate with more debate that will wind up with a set of selective opinions. That’s a big difference. And if the playoff does as much for college football as the BCS did, then we’ll all be thrilled.
Advocate: You’ve had a couple of meetings of the selection committee. What have you learned about how the deliberations process might go?
Hancock: We’ve confirmed what we knew — that these are 13 very dedicated people who realize that they will have their work cut out for them. Their task will not be easy. But we saw that they will enjoy the task. You can feel in the room the energy and the passion and the dedication. It was remarkable. These are people who love college football, and they want to get it right above all else.
Advocate: The Sugar Bowl will be one of the first two national semifinals next season. How big do you think they’re going to be, and will they be treated like bowl games for the teams?
Hancock: Those semifinal games will be every bit as important as intent and important and attractive to fans as the BCS Championship has been. We have created something brand-new, and so obviously how we feel about it this year may be different. But all signs point to the fact that these games will be colossal, mega-games. We haven’t discussed yet too much with the coaches on how they view the semifinals relative to the bowl trips. But we expect the teams to arrive five or six days before as they do now, and we will present to them all of the same opportunities that they have in the BCS bowls now, that being team functions, hospitality and all of the things that go along with making a bowl special. That’s our intent. The championship game will be more like a conference championship game trip, although the teams will come in on Friday before the game on Monday.
Advocate: Obviously there was disappointment in New Orleans in not getting the 2016 championship game. Going forward, what does that show about what the competition for this event is going to be like?
Hancock: We learned that this will be a very competitive bidding process. There was this time and that will only be enhanced in the future. This is going to be every bit as competitive for cities as Final Four and Super Bowl bids. We’re going to turn this into a four-day celebration of college football. That hasn’t existed before, and we will create it with this new event. As for New Orleans, they submitted a very attractive bid. But what happened was that they batted .900 and the two were chosen (Arizona and Tampa), if you could bat 1.200, they batted 1.200.
Advocate: You are predicting great success for a four-team playoff. That’s going to create demand for expansion. How written in stone is keeping it at four teams throughout the life of the contract?
Hancock: It is in stone. Twelve years, four teams.