SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Sam Jankovich, the athletic director at the University of Miami, was on the telephone again yesterday morning in an unsuccessful attempt to rearrange the lineup of bowl game matchups on New Year's Day.
In another twist to an unpredictable college football season that could end in political chaos on New Year's Night, Jankovich was making one last search for acceptance of a plan he maintains would create credibility for a bowl system criticized by those who favor a playoff to establish a major college champion.
Two surprising defeats Saturday of teams already unofficially committed to major bowl games -- Notre Dame's loss to Penn State and Virginia's loss to Maryland -- provided more evidence of the fragile nature of the bowl selection process.
After Notre Dame's championship hopes apparently were shattered by Penn State's 24-21 victory Saturday afternoon, Jankovich briefly renewed his call for an agreement among two television networks (CBS and NBC), two bowl games (the Federal Express Orange and the Mobil Cotton) and two teams (Miami and Notre Dame) to create a scenario most likely to produce a championship confrontation.
Before the Orange Bowl made its unofficial commitment to Notre Dame last Sunday, 13 days before such agreements are supposed to be made official under current NCAA rules, Jankovich had offered an option that would be responsive to late-season results.
Jankovich's suggestion, based on the rankings of the Associated Press and United Press International polls that determine the champion, was to wait until the end of the regular season
"People would not agree," said Jankovich, whose school holds out hope for a championship despite having lost twice, "and now they have egg on their face."