This is an article from the Nov. 30, 2009 issue
COLLEGE FOOTBALL POSTSEASON CZAR
The former director of the NCAA basketball tournament, 59, was named executive director of the BCS last week
Dan Patrick:Which season finishes better—college football or college basketball?
Bill Hancock: It's a tie.
DP:No. There's no tie. We'll go into overtime.
BH: College football wins in six overtimes.
DP:Why do you say that?
BH: Because so many teams celebrate at the end. So many teams have such great experiences with the bowl games. It's an awesome thing. We need to keep that.
DP:But we can keep the bowls. Why not have a Final Four where three of the bowls determine the national champion?
BH: You know, I hear you, Dan, but the fact is, the bowl experience would not be the same. Great example: We were in Miami getting ready for [the Orange Bowl], and a Virginia Tech player injured his ankle riding a Jet Ski. [Another time in Miami], an NFL team came in for a playoff game. They arrived on Saturday night, had their dinner, got up the next morning, played and went home. We've got college students at the beach for a week riding Jet Skis in our bowl system; on the other hand, you've got these NFL players there for 11 hours, playing the game and going home. Our experience is a lifetime experience, and it's much better.
DP:If you had a playoff over the Christmas holidays, you could preserve the smaller bowls and make some of the other bowls more meaningful. And you'd own the month of December. Why not do that?
BH: The problem with a playoff is who, what, when, where. Who plays, what's the format, when do you play it, and where do you play? It's so much fun, and I love these conversations....
DP:But, Bill, there's so much time between the end of the regular season and the bowls. I've talked to many big-name coaches who want a playoff. And 72% of my audience said they want one. How can you not factor that into the equation?
BH: When I talk to folks about a playoff, I ask, "How do we fit it in around the final [exams] schedule?" And I haven't come up with an answer. Hypothetical playoffs are great on paper, but in reality, when you drill down into the details, they're very difficult.
DP:When's the last time a vote was taken on a playoff?
BH: Two years ago the SEC and the ACC proposed a four-team playoff, which is what you're talking about. And then last November the commissioners talked about all options and decided to go forward with what we have, because their constituents on campus wanted it.
DP:Let's say Cincinnati goes undefeated. What do you say to the Bearcats when they don't get to play for the national championship?
BH: I was the director of the Final Four for 13 years, and I would say to Cincinnati the same thing I always said to coaches who were left out of the tournament or got a bad seed: "You guys had a great season, and you're to be congratulated for it."
DP:Yeah, but if you don't make it in a field of 65, you have yourself to blame. An undefeated team is not going to miss the tournament. If you have a team like Cincinnati or TCU go undefeated and not play for the title, that's a flawed system.
BH: The problem you have is, What kind of a playoff? If you have six undefeated teams and a four-team playoff, two teams are going to be very disappointed. I'm just not sure—no, I know—we wouldn't gain much by going to a playoff.
Last Thursday, Kobe Bryant passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to move into second on the Lakers' alltime scoring list (behind Jerry West), which prompted me to ask listeners, "Who is the greatest Laker of them all?" Here's how they voted:
Magic Johnson 48%
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 20%
Jerry West 17%
Kobe Bryant 12%
Shaquille O'Neal 2%
Elgin Baylor 1%
The Eire Apparent?
With Cincinnati one of six undefeated teams left in college football, coach Brian Kelly keeps being mentioned as a possible replacement at Notre Dame should the embattled Charlie Weis be fired. I asked him why he thought his name was coming up. "Profile," he said. "We won a lot of games—more with less. [And I'm] an East Coast Irish Catholic. But last I checked, that job wasn't open, anyway."
Line of the week
In the December issue of Allure, Victoria Beckham says she prefers sex to sleep, so I asked her husband, David Beckham, if she was quoted correctly: "Without a doubt. It definitely sounds like one of my wife's quotes. She's an honest person and [her comments] are all true."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Tyler Hansborough discusses the life of an NBA rookie.
2. Heisman dark horse Freddie Barnes of Bowling Green.
THE FINE PRINT: The Nets are four short of the NBA record for consecutive losses to open a season. Two more and Jay-Z will have to change his name to Jay-V.