COLLEGE FOOTBALL Rose Bowl officials miffed by BCS selection process
The "Rose Bowl East" will be played in Miami between Iowa and USC.
The Bowl Championship Series worked just fine this season, even if the Rose Bowl was a bit aggravated by the selection process.
A few minutes after the long-anticipated Fiesta Bowl pairing of No. 1 Miami (12-0) and No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) became official Sunday, the Orange Bowl came up with a matchup more suited for Pasadena than South Florida.
Iowa (11-1) and Southern California (10-2) will play in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2. The game was quickly dubbed Rose Bowl East because it matches the co-champions of the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences, a tradition usually reserved for the Rose Bowl.
While Rose Bowl officials tried to talk a good game, it seemed clear executive director Mitch Dorger was not pleased with the results that left the Rose with Pac-10 co-champ Washington State (10-2) against Big 12 champ Oklahoma (11-2) on Jan. 1.
"We learned a lot about the BCS this year and the way that it operates," Dorger said, sounding testy during a conference call. "We did not anticipate all the subtleties of the system.
"Everything this year was conducted in accordance with the rules. The Orange Bowl has arranged for themselves an outstanding matchup, we congratulate them for that."
Sugar Bowl matchup
Completing the BCS game matchups, it'll be SEC champion Georgia (12-1) vs. ACC champion Florida State (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
The Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., is Jan. 3.
Mike Tranghese, the BCS coordinator and Big East commissioner, said the Rose Bowl was "concerned" over what transpired.
"Clearly, the Rose Bowl people would prefer to have the Big Ten-Pac-10 matchup," Tranghese said. "They've expressed their concern about it. But everybody abided by the rules."
Here's how it happened. The Orange Bowl, with the first pick after the Fiesta Bowl pairing, chose Iowa. The Rose went next and selected Oklahoma to play Pac-10 winner Washington State. When it came time for the Orange and Sugar to make a second pick, both wanted USC. However, a BCS rule states that if two bowls want the same team, the bowl with the higher payoff has the option.
So the Orange went for the Trojans. The Rose could have taken USC, but decided a rematch with Washington State was not a game it wanted.
The higher payoff rule can be invoked by a bowl only once over the length of the BCS contract, which has three years remaining.
"Traditionally, we want to go to the Rose Bowl," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "But with the BCS, the traditions have been broken."
Keith Tribble, executive director of the Orange Bowl, said the decision was strictly business.
"I hope and I think they understand," Tribble said of the other bowls. "We're all trying to do what's best not only for the universities and student-athletes but the fans. Nothing that was done was done to be hurtful in any way. It was done in a sense of us trying to create what was good for the South Florida area, what was good for our economy, what was good for our bowl, and we had an opportunity to do it."
Notre Dame shut out
Notre Dame (10-2) was the biggest loser in the bowl sweepstakes, aced out of the at-large spots by Iowa and USC. The Irish, beaten 44-13 by Southern Cal on Nov. 30, will play North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl.
Each team playing in a BCS game receives about $13 million, which is split among conference members. Notre Dame, as an independent, would have kept all the money. The Gator payout is $1.6 million per team.
The Orange Bowl may be the most intriguing game outside the Fiesta Bowl. The Hawkeyes and Trojans feature Heisman-contending quarterbacks. Iowa's Brad Banks was the nation's top-rated passer with 2,369 yards and 25 touchdowns, while Carson Palmer threw for 3,639 yards and 32 TDs.
The Rose Bowl might not be thrilled, but Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was elated his team is headed to Pasadena for the first time.
"I think it's great, every once in a while you get a different conference in a different bowl," Stoops said. "It's just a little different. I think it's a rare, special opportunity that I know we've embraced."
In the final BCS standings used to determine the teams for a title game, Miami was first with 2.93 points, with Ohio State second at 3.97 points.
Georgia, which won its first SEC title in 20 years with a 30-3 victory over Arkansas on Saturday, was third at 8.37 points. Southern Cal finished with 10.51 points, and Iowa had 10.79 points.