Interview: BCS Bowl Directors

• Bill Hancock -- BCS Executive Director
• Eric Poms -- Discover Orange Bowl
• Robert Shelton -- Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
• Paul Hoolahan -- Allstate Sugar Bowl
• Kevin Ash -- Rose Bowl presented by Vizio

JOHN PAQUETTE: Thanks, everyone, and welcome to our media teleconference with BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock and the BCS bowl directors. After some opening remarks from Bill and the announcement of the BCS bowl pairings, we'll take some questions from the media.

BILL HANCOCK: Good evening, everyone. Wow, what a final season for the BCS. This regular season will go down as one of the most exciting ever. Yeah, we are on the verge of a new playoff era, but we hope everyone will remember this special season for a long time.

From the beginning, it's been the job of the BCS to match Nos. 1 and 2 in a bowl game, and once again, I'm proud to say that the BCS got it right, as we hook up on this teleconference for the 16th and final time to make this announcement. I do want to point out that before the creation of the BCS, No. 1 and 2 met in bowl games just eight times in 56 years. I know y'all have heard me say that many times, but it's important: 16 of 16 under BCS, and 13 of 16 years according to the AP Poll.

Got to say that again: Eight times in 56 before the BCS, and now 16 of 16, or 13 of 16 according to AP during the BCS. It's a remarkable seismic change in this sport, and 1 and 2 have met, according to the AP, the last 10 years in a row. That was really unthinkable before the BCS, so I do believe it's important to point out that we have gotten it right and we have taken college football to greater heights.

Let's go on to this year. We have seven automatic qualifiers, three at‑large teams. We have two teams with the most BCS appearances, that being Ohio State and Oklahoma, are back in the field this year, and we have three teams making their first BCS appearance, Baylor, Central Florida and Michigan State.

Congratulations to all three of those, and also, of course, to Florida State and Auburn, who will meet for the championship. Those are two excellent, exciting and well‑coached teams, as you all very well know, and I'm like you, I'm really looking forward to that great game on January 6.

Before I take your questions, I want to quickly introduce the directors of the four BCS bowls for them to announce their selections for the teams that will play in their games, and we'll start with Robert Shelton from the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

ROBERT SHELTON: Thank you, Bill. I appreciate this opportunity to speak to everyone. On behalf of my board, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is extremely pleased to have a pairing of the University of Central Florida Knights and the Baylor Bears.

BILL HANCOCK: We'll go to Eric Poms from the Discover Orange Bowl.

ERIC POMS: Thank you, Bill, and pleased to announce the 80th Discover Orange Bowl will feature No. 7, Ohio State, with a 12‑1 record, versus No. 12 Clemson, with a 10‑2 record.

BILL HANCOCK: Thank you, Eric. Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, Kevin Ash.

KEVIN ASH: Thank you, Bill, appreciate it. The Tournament of Roses, I'm really excited to announce that in our championship game we have Florida State University and Auburn University, and in the Rose Bowl Game we have Stanford and Michigan State, 1‑2, 4‑5.

BILL HANCOCK: Thank you, Kevin. Allstate Sugar Bowl, Paul Hoolahan.

PAUL HOOLAHAN: Bill, the Allstate Sugar Bowl is very proud to announce the pairing of the University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma, two perennial powerhouses I believe have only met four times in the past, so it should be a very interesting match‑up. BILL HANCOCK: Thank you, everyone, for those announcements, and now we'll take questions from the media.

Q. Bill, you sort of answered the question I was going to sort of give you the floor to give us one last sort of goodbye to the BCS and why you think this has been great. Again, you sort of answered some of those things in your opening statement, but I guess if you could maybe get a little more into some of the details of why this was such a huge step in the evolution of college football and its postseason.

BILL HANCOCK: You know, there was some nostalgia around here today as we went through the teleconferences for the last time, compiled the standings for the last time. I heard from the computer operators for the last time. And I think the overriding thought, at least mine, was this is my ninth selection Sunday in the BCS, by the way, after having been through 16 of them in the NCAA Tournament, and they're all exciting. And the overriding thought is for all those athletes who are getting to participate in these five games, we are creating memorable experiences for those folks.

And I think looking at the BCS overall, I think the thing to remember, obviously, is that it finally gave us a chance for No. 1 and 2 to meet in a bowl game, as I mentioned before. But I think the unintended consequence of what the BCS did for the regular season is what I will take the most pride in. I don't think any of the founders realized how important the BCS would be and how much juice it would add to the regular season.

We're all really proud of that. We're excited about the playoff to come, but today is the day for being proud of the BCS and for saluting these 10 teams.

Q. For Paul, ESPN described picking Oklahoma over say Oregon as a business decision, and while the other one might have been more popular, what was the mindset on your part about going for Oklahoma, and also, Eric, could you explain about taking Clemson over higher ranked teams?

PAUL HOOLAHAN: Well, business always enters into the discussion as you sit and analyze your possibilities as our board did this past Thursday night, but obviously there are a lot of other variables that come into play, and certainly as you look at all of those and you weight all of those variables and you try to do an effective evaluation, you want to look at the end and see how all of it comes out, I think when you take a look at the way Oklahoma performed, and their last games particularly on the road and this particular game this weekend against No. 6 Oklahoma State, it's hard not to be impressed with the way they've been performing of late.

I think it was a very difficult decision needless to say. There were other highly capable and attractive teams out there in the pool that we looked at, and when it came down to it, we just felt convinced that this was going to be the best decision for us at this particular time.

ERIC POMS: Much the same from our standpoint. Obviously there's a long‑standing relationship with the ACC that goes back to the beginning of the BCS, and the last eight years has been exclusive with the ACC. The first eight years was with the Big East Conference, as well. As we look to the future we have a 12‑year arrangement coming up that involves the ACC versus the SEC/Big Ten or Notre Dame opponent. With that being said, we did the same thing that Paul described and we looked at every aspect that was involved. Obviously with the upsets over the last couple weeks, the variables kept changing. But in the end, it was in the best interest of the Orange Bowl moving forward was to have the best possible game for today and set up our course for the future.

Q. Bill, compared to several past BCS seasons, the national title match ended up coming together fairly cleanly based on what happened yesterday, and I was wondering is there relief, excitement that you get kind of a controversy free match‑up and certainly not a situation where four teams would have a claim to those two spots knowing there's a playoff next year?

BILL HANCOCK: We've gotten it right way more times than we've created controversy. I find it interesting that people prefer to focus on the times when there was debate, and we know there have been. But we've gotten it right far more times, and we got it right this year. We have the match‑up that everyone wants to see.

I've been saying all fall, everybody, hang on, chill out, it's going to be fine, it's going to work out, and I wasn't concerned going in, you know, going into the weekend. I just felt like we'd have the best two teams by the time we got to Sunday evening, and we do. I was very confident about that.

You know, we have an event that people want to participate in, and so of course the people that are very close and just don't quite make it are going to be disappointed. We get that. But we got it right.

Q. At any point in the next few weeks or maybe after the season, will the selection committee members take a look at how the final BCS ‑‑ just how the final season played out and how they might have looked at choosing those teams if there were four teams?

BILL HANCOCK: We don't know whether they will look at this specific set of teams or not, but they will be looking at lots of scenarios about how things might play out. But tonight is for celebrating Auburn and Florida State and the other eight teams that are in these games.

Q. My question is for Bill Hancock. With this being the final BCS National Championship game, what will it mean for the legacy of the BCS for this to be a good, close, tight ballgame?

BILL HANCOCK: We all want to see a good, close, tight ballgame. We know we have an exciting match‑up, terrific offenses, great speed, great talent, great coaching, and we all anticipate a great game.