A new political action committee plans to run ads this week touting a college football playoff system in the markets of two undefeated teams who were bypassed for the national championship.
The ads also will run in Salt Lake City, where fans are still angry that undefeated Utah didn't get to play in last season's title game despite going undefeated. The PAC plans to run the ads ahead of Thursday's national championship game between Texas and Alabama.
The commercial shows highlights from TCU and Boise State, along with their unblemished records. It then plays a clip from the Dan Patrick Show, in which Bill Hancock, the executive director of the Bowl Championship Series, responds to a question about what he would tell an undefeated team that doesn't get a chance to play for the title: "You guys had a great season," adding, "not everybody can play" for the title game.
The commercial answers that with the words: "They can, it's called a playoff." A copy of the ad, which also will run on the Web in a longer form, was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday ahead of its official release. Matt Sanderson, one of the founders of Playoff PAC, said the size of the TV ad buy will depend on the response the group gets in the next few days, but that the group will definitely run TV ads.
"It matters when they exclude teams like this from the national championship not just because it denies fans bragging rights, but because there are significant institutional benefits that come with that," Sanderson said, such as funding and boosts in admission.
In an e-mail to the AP, Hancock argued that colleges and universities support the BCS system because it's the best way to match the top two teams in a bowl.
A playoff system, he said, "would mean a great loss to the game we love by diminishing the regular season, ending the bowl games as we know them, and burdening students and fans with extra weeks of travel to faraway places." He said the schools and conferences will take up the matter again when it's time to plan for 2014 and beyond, and that they'll be open to all suggestions.
"At the moment these great universities are celebrating and being celebrated, some want to use it to drive a political agenda, and that's too bad," Hancock said in an e-mail. "Because of the BCS, TCU and Boise State have a national stage and a primetime TV slot to showcase their success, and they deserve to enjoy the spotlight."
The current college 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 play in the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose bowls.
Under the BCS, the champions of those six big conference have automatic bids, while other conferences don't. Those six conferences also receive far more money than the other conferences.
Last month, a House subcommittee approved legislation that would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision game as a national championship unless it results from a playoff. But the bill faces a tough road ahead in Congress.
The PAC was founded with an eye toward helping such efforts, aimed at electing allies in Congress to put further pressure on the BCS to change.