College football's best tackle BCS, other NCAA issues

Several top players discuss the need for a playoff system, other issues from around NCAA

12/27/2011 11:43 PM

12/28/2011 4:14 AM

The bowl season for Big 12 football teams hits high gear today, with No. 24 Texas (7-5) meeting California (7-5) in the Holiday Bowl.

It marks the first of five bowls involving Big 12 schools in the next four days and is one of 25 remaining postseason games in a schedule that concludes with the BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 9 in New Orleans between No. 1 LSU (13-0) and No. 2 Alabama (11-1).

With bowl season in full swing, the Star-Telegram allowed several of today's top players and college football insiders to take the helm as the sport's imaginary commissioner for a day in efforts to fix what ails college football in 2011.

The first item in need of repair on most agendas: the BCS bowl system that gave us a national title game rematch of a Southeastern Conference regular-season game from Nov. 5.

In that one, LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 in an overtime game that featured no touchdowns.

What needs to be done with the BCS, as configured?

"Blow it up," said David Pollack, ESPN college football analyst.

Replace it with a playoff system, said Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, whose team finished No. 3 in the final BCS standings and narrowly missed a title shot against LSU. Blackmon said he supports "an eight-team playoff ... so you could settle it on the field."

Others back the BCS.

"I like it the way it is now," said Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, who can set an NCAA record with 40 touchdowns in a season if he scores twice in the Rose Bowl.

In recent interviews, several of this year's notable players -- including Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner -- weighed in on a handful of topics in a round-table discussion about college football:

Does it bother you to see an all-SEC national title game that is a rematch of a regular-season game?

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (2011 Heisman winner): "It doesn't make me crazy. But I know it's driving a lot of people crazy because [it's a rematch] ... If I had a vote, I'd throw Oklahoma State in there just because you want to see two teams with varying styles from different conferences play each other."

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (Doak Walker finalist): "I believe that was the right decision to make. I believe they are the two best teams."

Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles (Biletnikoff Award finalist): "I feel like the championship team in the Big 12 should be there. But the politics took over ... Seeing LSU and Alabama play again, after the game they played, it wasn't appealing at all. I feel like Oklahoma State, the way they played against us, is capable of beating any team."

As the commissioner of college football, you can fix one aspect of today's game. What would it be?

David Pollack (ESPN college football analyst): "The BCS. Blow it up. I'm not a big fan of it, whatsoever."

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck (2011 Walter Camp Award winner): "I'm sure I would explore a way to compensate some athletes for their work. But I don't know [about a specific amount above the value of a scholarship]."

Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon (2011 Biletnikoff Award winner): "The playoff system. Instead of having teams getting picked [to play for a national title], you play for your position."

Should college athletes be paid for their efforts above the value of a full scholarship (or scholarship plus Pell Grant, for those who qualify)?

Broyles: "There's a lot of guys out there that ... can't get the Pell Grant but need the money. I think that's what hurts."

Ball: "I just wrote a 16-page paper about that. I believe there should be more incentives, just because of ... how time-consuming the game is and how much revenues we bring in for the universities."

Texas A&M kicker Randy Bullock ( 2011 Lou Groza winner): "That could be a good thing or a bad thing. Having that additional money could lead to problems."

If college football had a playoff system, how many teams should be included?

Bullock: "Maybe like a Final Four. Then, you could fit the other teams into some kind of bowl system."

Blackmon: "An eight-team playoff. Maybe even the Top 10."

Ball: "I believe what is going on right now is perfectly fine."

Should the coaches' poll continue to be used in setting the BCS standings?

Pollack: "If not them, then who? ... There's no way to get a perfect system. The coaches are probably the most knowledgeable. But at the end of the day, they're focused on their own team and they're just scoreboard watching."

Blackmon: "I have no idea. You could argue about this for a long time. It's been that way. You can't start complaining now, just because it's not working your way."

As a fourth-year junior with a decision to make about entering the 2012 NFL Draft, how much are you motivated by an NFL career?

Luck: "I'm really more interested in how I can help my team win football games. There will be a lot of time to worry about that stuff after the season's over."

Griffin: "I think every kid's goal is to play in the NFL ... My Plan A is taking care of my grades and getting my degree. Plan B is the NFL. But Plan B can overtake Plan A if they come knocking at your door. Because who are you to turn down the NFL?"

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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