BCS hurts SEC, Tuberville says

Auburn coach contends perilous conference will leave teams `on the outside looking in'

National notebook

October 20, 2006|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN REPORTER

It took only the first release of the Bowl Championship Series ratings this week for a prominent coach to voice displeasure.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville's once-beaten Tigers are sitting at No. 4, a notch above undefeated West Virginia, but he doesn't like his chances at a national title because of the ratings system.

"Every year, it's going to be like this," said Tuberville, whose team gave Florida its first loss last weekend. "Until we get a playoff, the SEC's going to be on the outside looking in."

But on the opposite side of the country at least one Pacific-10 Conference coach is confused about Tuberville's reaction, seeing Southeastern Conference boasts as backhanded slaps.

"I don't know what that's about," Southern California coach Pete Carroll said of Tuberville's claims. "I'm not campaigning for my conference or anyone's conference."

At look at recent USA Today conference ratings would seem to indicate that the BCS isn't far off. Since the BCS began in 1998, the SEC has averaged a No. 4 ranking among major conferences. The Big 12 has rated at the top.

"It's tough to play in any league because you know each other so well," said Jim Tressel of Ohio State, a Big Ten school. "I don't know if the Big Ten or the SEC beats up themselves any more than any other conference."

But it's easy to perceive SEC dominance, especially when Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and LSU are ranked in the top 15 and all beaten once, expect for LSU with two losses.

"It's not even close from top to bottom," Florida's Urban Meyer said. "I don't think there are many teams in college football that can make it through this league undefeated."

Tuberville is pushing the idea that his conference's toughness could make a one-loss season more worthy than an undefeated one, like the ones currently nursed by Ohio State, Michigan, USC, West Virginia, Louisville, Boise State and Rutgers.

He said this despite the computer polls that denied his undefeated 2004 Tigers team a chance at the national title.

"I would like to see people vote for the best teams," Tuberville said. "Not by records. Is this team better? It may have lost a game, but are they better than a team that's won all of them?"

"I think Tommy does a lot of talking, promoting their situation," Carroll said. "It's going to be like that. You have to separate and be the best team in your conference if you're going to beat everybody."

Gambling support

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach isn't so sure that betting on college football hurts the game.

When recently asked about online gambling, recent legislation enacted to limit it, and college football wagering, Leach offered an interesting comparison.

"I mean, in Georgia, they used to have chicken fighting in this little town on Sunday," Leach said, according to the Associated Press. "Did wagering hurt the integrity of chicken fighting? I don't know. You don't want any corrupting influence, somebody trying to impact the game for their own benefit. But providing that doesn't happen, I'm not sure it helps the game at all. If anything, it might generate some interest."

"Big House" battle

Amid the success of the Michigan football team, a conflict between commerce and tradition is taking place concerning Michigan Stadium.

Within "The Big House," the school would like to build "enclosed seating" - otherwise known as skyboxes or luxury suites - at a cost of $227 million.

Because of the 79-year-old structure's history, it's no surprise that the plan is running into resistance, in the form of John Pollack and Fielding H. Yost III, Wolverines fans with a Web site (savethebighouse.com) protesting the plan and offering a cheaper alternative.

But the main issue for some surrounds the look the structure might take - monstrous, Yost said - and the fact that Notre Dame was able to renovate its stadium without luxury seating.

"I would hate to think that Michigan values its tradition less than Notre Dame," Pollack told the Chicago Tribune. christian.ewell@baltsun.com

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