Oklahoma president David Boren isn’t surprised by the outcry over the BCS rankings that propelled the Sooners into the Big 12 championship game, but he doesn’t think rash changes to the system are an appopriate solution.
“Every time at this time of year—we can go back the last several years— there have been similar disputes, and yet, the system has not been changed,” Boren, a former U.S. senator and governor, told The Associated Press.
“I think it’s always best to look at the system after the emotion of the season has died down, because what might be good for Oklahoma one year might be good for Texas the next year, and vice versa.”
Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech finished in a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South, with all posting 11-1 overall and 7-1 conference records. Head-to-head tiebreakers didn’t break the deadlock, as Texas beat Oklahoma 45-35, Texas Tech beat Texas 39-33 and Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 65-21.
To determine the division’s representative for Saturday’s title game in Kansas City, Mo., against North Division champion Missouri, the Big 12 had to use its fifth tiebreaker—the BCS rankings, in which Oklahoma was No. 2, Texas No. 3 and Texas Tech No. 7.
Texas coach Mack Brown has said the Longhorns’ head-to-head win over Oklahoma should have given his team the nod over the Sooners.
Brown apparently convinced a handful of voters in the USA Today and Harris polls who swapped Texas and Oklahoma on their ballots. But the computer rankings component of the BCS allowed the Sooners to narrowly edge the Longhorns.
Boren defended the Big 12 tiebreaker system, which Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has said could be reassessed in the offseason.
“First of all, I’d say we didn’t determine the rules,” Boren said. “The rules were determined before I became president of the university, before Bob Stoops became our coach, before the current commissioner of the Big 12 became the commissioner. The rules were all set up before, so you live by the rules.”
Boren said that while he has “mixed emotions” about the BCS system, he doesn’t necessarily support a playoff.
“I think we are an academic institution, and you have to weigh the disruption of the academic program and you also have to be fair to other sports,” he said. “Football dominates for so long, for so many weeks, it really also takes away from the emphasis on other sports.”
In addition, Boren said he would be concerned about diminishing the importance of the regular season.
“The polls and computers are always going to lead to disputed outcomes,” he said. “You can argue all these things from different points of view.”