Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - May 3, 2012

Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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Some thoughts on BCS meetings, WIAA BEHIND THE DESK BARRY ALVAREZ • UW DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS I really enjoyed taking part in the BCS meetings last week in south Florida. You're in the inner circle, you're talking football and you're listen- ing to all the different things that have been proposed. Then you go through the issues. What are the pros and cons? Everyone has an idea on talk radio. It's always, "Why don't you do this?" Well, there may be 20 reasons why an argument is posi- tive. But in the same respect you can find just as many negatives. It's just not that simple. There were 11 commissioners from FBS conferences along with athletic directors from each league, plus Notre Dame. I was the only football guy; the only guy who had been on the sidelines. I had five or six commission- ers tell me that this was the first time that they've ever had a former football coach at the meetings — someone who answers through the eyes of a coach. What I found out about the whole process is that there's no simple answer. That's when you start realizing the complexity of what we're dealing with. It's going to be very interesting to see how it all plays out and who makes the final decision. Hearing both sides, I know the plusses and minuses; I know who's for it and who's against it. We had a presentation from our TV partner, ESPN, which has the BCS contract. When you talk about 12 » VARSITY MAY 3, 2012 the potential of what playoff games are worth, you're in a different ballpark. We also had a presentation from every bowl. I really can't say there was anything that really surprised me. There's obviously a power structure. Some commissioners wield more power than others. The Big Ten and the Rose Bowl has made it very clear that the rela- tionship is important. We don't want to give it up. But we'll see if there's any give-and- take on that. One thing to keep in mind: Col- lege football has never been more popular. The BCS worked. Our regular season is the most relevant in sport — every game counts. Whatever tweaks are made; we want to make sure we preserve the integrity of what we have. I'd like to see a selection com- mittee to seed four teams in a playoff format. I'd like to have some media on that committee. I'd like to see them meet weekly throughout the season. I'd like to see them make their rankings very transparent. What are the criteria? What is being weighed? Why are decisions being made? I don't want smoke and mirrors where everybody thinks there's no rhyme or reason. Basketball has done a good job of explaining the process as they've picked tournament teams. I'd like football to adopt a selec- tion committee along those lines. Football coaches want to know the rules before the games are played and the season is started. If you tell us what we have to do — so we can go about our business — there are no complaints. What's frustrating is not know- ing what goes into the computer rankings being used now. What goes into the program- ming? Last year, we were ranked in the Top 5 in the country, yet one of the computer rankings had us at No. 17. I don't understand that. I don't think anybody does. I don't like the computer rank- ings and I made that perfectly clear at the meetings. One final thought: I'm excited about and thrilled that we were able to come to an agreement so that the boys' state basketball tournament will stay in Madison through 2020. A lot of different groups stepped up and showed the WIAA how important that tournament is to all of us — and it was not only the athletic department. It was our administration, the business community, the city, the county and it was Deb Archer and her group at the Madison Conven- tion and Visitors Bureau. It's fun when you can get differ- ent entities to cooperate and work together, and you get something accomplished. When push came to shove, there was dialogue to make things hap- pen.

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