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Weaver, Beamer endorse the bowl system

Representatives from the Chick-fil-A Bowl were in Blacksburg on Thursday to discuss the Dec. 31 matchup between Virginia Tech and Tennessee. They were joined by Hokies Athletic Director Jim Weaver and Coach Frank Beamer, in addition to an oversize Chick-fil-A cow mascot that posed for pictures afterward with those in attendance.

While there was plenty of talk about Chick-fil-A, its bowl game and this year's Hokies-Volunteers meeting, the men on the dais also endorsed the Bowl Championship Series and a bowl system that is facing increasing scrutiny after a House subcommittee on Wednesday approved legislation aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system to determine a national champion.

"I think the people in Washington have a heck of a lot more important things to do for this country in this stage than worry about the BCS," Weaver said when a reporter asked about the topic. "And the more they talk about he BCS in Washington, the better it is. The BCS is talked about just about 365 days a year. It has one primary mission, and that’s to put number one and number two together. I think a lot of of the people in Washington do not understand the primary mission of the BCS, and I wish they would."

The bowl system features a championship game between the two top teams in the BCS standings, based on two polls and six computer rankings. Eight other schools compete in the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose bowls.

The BCS has been assailed by criticism for being unfair because only six conference champions get automatic bids, and it fails to provide a title shot for more than two teams.

No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas will play for the BCS championship on Jan. 7 after finishing with undefeated seasons. Several other teams also finished undefeated but will not get a chance to play for the title, including Texas Christian, Cincinnati and Boise State.

Weaver said he supported the so-called plus-one model in which four teams would play in a playoff or sorts, with the winners meeting in a national title game. Weaver said he favored seeding those top four teams and letting them play to a conclusion, but he did not express support for a larger playoff format.

"The problem with trying to get a real playoff in place is you can’t get fans from Point A to Point B and back to Point A, and then the next week all over the country to follow their teams," Weaver said. "It's just virtually impossible to do. Plus, to have the playoff the way people are talking about, it’s going to impact institutions differently with their academic schedule."

In the past, Beamer has supported the bowl system, a sentiment he reiterated on Thursday. He has said he favors a plus-one system, citing the 2004 season as the time he formed the opinion that the national title picture needed to be broadened. That year, the Hokies lost in the Sugar Bowl to an undefeated Auburn team that was left out of the championship. Southern California and Oklahoma, both of which were undefeated, played that season in the national championship, which the Trojans won convincingly in the Orange Bowl.

"College football does not want to go away from the bowls," Beamer said. "To go and be able to stay a week in a place and see the surroundings and experience that -- college football never wants to do away with bowls in my opinion."

Tickets going fast

Virginia Tech and Tennessee were each allotted 17,000 tickets for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Volunteers have already sold all of their tickets, but as of Wednesday, the Hokies had sold 13,377. Weaver said tickets sold at a rate of 500 to 600 per day, and that he anticipated all would be gone before the game. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has been a sellout 12 years in a row.

By Mark Viera  |  December 10, 2009; 2:55 PM ET
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Next: Weaver accepts Toner Award


As a wahoo, I have always strongly envied the VT football program and its' leadership. After reading these comments, that feeling has dimmed.

The so-called FBS can have a playoff system and still have bowl games. The FBS can create a 16 team playoff system (like the FCS) using eight current major bowl sites that can mutually agree to rotate the championship site from year to year.

Those teams that don't make the playoff cut can still have a bowl experience based on the current oversized collection of bowl games.

Somehow, the FCS playoff system manages to avoid compromising the "academic schedules" for their players. I would also wager that more of the FCS players are true student athletes.

Granted, the sheer number of fans for FBS playoff games would be greater than in the case of the smaller FCS playoff sites, making the logistics of moving the fan base of winning teams to different playoff sites. But that smacks more of a money concern than anything else, if a significant number of fans decided that the road tripping is too expensive and/or too inconvenient.

Too bad.

Posted by: MillPond2 | December 10, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Correction: I meant to state that " Granted, the sheer number of fans for FBS playoff games would be greater than in the case of the smaller FCS playoff sites, making the logistics of moving the fan base of winning teams to different playoff sites more challenging."

Posted by: MillPond2 | December 10, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

i love how the "academic scheduling" is such a concern -what a line of b.s. football players miss the least amount of school -they only play once a week! every time i hear that concern for academics i laugh. nobody seems to care about basketball players missing tons of class during march madness.

all other athletic teams play a few games a week and are forced to travel and miss classes. i'm sure if you looked at the #s, those other athletes have higher grad rates than the football team.

Posted by: wim44 | December 11, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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