After TCU’s Rose Bowl celebration at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum Jan. 16, TCU Athletics Director Chris Del Conte is ready for the college football playoff debate to begin. The conversation began in his office, which was exalted with priceless Horned Frog dÃÂ©cor, purple memorabilia and even a “Del Conte Rangers’ jersey signed by Nolan Ryan. The debate continued as we strolled over to a dry-erase board in a side room connected to his office. Del Conte, armed with dry-erase marker and a cool tongue, decided it was time for us to agree to disagree on a college football playoff.
Here is an excerpt from our discussion:
Q: You said before the Rose Bowl celebration, now was the time to celebrate TCU’s accomplishments and embrace our perfect season and Rose Bowl victory. So was it perfect imperfection?
A: We all want the opportunity to compete for a national championship. That’s what we’re all in for, to win championships. That’s always going to be our quest I think this year was a phenomenal football season, it was great to finish both two years an undefeated regular season. It was fantastic. So you look at it, in the final analysis, do you think we should play in the national championship; I think we should always be given a shot, under the current rules that are out there, our opportunity was we were not high enough ranked in the BCS to finish one or two; in the end we finished number two, but we were third going in, but we had a chance to be Rose Bowl Champions. What happened from a standpoint of national exposure was second to none.
Q: Del Conte on a 16-team college football playoff format:
A: In a perfect situation, a perfect world, I don’t know what a good playoff situation is. There’s always going to be (the case of) “Well, that person got left out.’ You only pick one conference champion from each league and the SEC is going to say, “Oh wait a minute, you got one through six (in the SEC), that oughta get a shot.’
Q: On the NFL playoff system:
A: In the NFL with 32 teams…there is a closer talent pool. Think about the New York Jets, they went in and beat New England, which was a slam dunk, (the Patriots) were supposed to be in the Super Bowl. Parity is so much greater with 32 than with 120 (in FBS football).
Q: Do you enjoy the NCAA Basketball Tournament?
A: Oh sure. But basketball is a completely different animal. Every game is a playoff game (in college football). You run the table, and then you have an opportunity to go to a fantastic bowl game. I agree with the theory, what I’m saying is both systems the way they are laid out today are imperfect. The problem is you’re always going to have (those who disagree).
Q: On Title IX and scholarship limitations:
A: Scholarship limitations have put every team into a situation where you no longer have hoarding. Way back in the day, you could have 160 scholarships. Now having only 85, it’s allowed TCU to blossom. It’s allowed Boise State to blossom. Where now we are to a point we are competing equal-to-equal with student athletes. Texas can’t stock 50 players. So now, all of the sudden guess what, you have more parity in terms of recruiting, which gives us an opportunity to grow and go forward.
Q: Would you support a plus-one playoff system?
A: I’m in for a plus-one (playoff system). I firmly believe that you ought to pair your four best. The winners play for the national championship. I just don’t see how you could go past that. I could embrace a plus-one system. I could embrace a complete playoff; I don’t know how you could get everyone to embrace a complete playoff when you’re not eliminating excuses. Last year we were still in a BCS game. We’d still have had an opportunity for a plus-one.
Q: What happens when TCU loses a game? Will the fans and support be there?
A: You’re in a BCS league now, you still have something to play for. You lose a game; you still have an opportunity to play for a BCS bowl game, which is huge. I think that’s something worth playing for, but at the same time expectations are great. I think the difference between having a good season, and now having a great program are two different things. We’re creating a great environment on campus. (TCU football games) are the thing to do on Saturdays. You can deal with the emotions of absolute love, adulation and absolute disdain. What you cannot deal with is apathy. And there is no apathy to this program, because it’s elevated so high, because someone can be upset that it’s important we lost, they’re bummed that we lost. They’re fired up that we won. Those two things are great emotions, what is not is apathy; we’re beyond that. I think we’re beyond that by miles.
Check the Daily Skiff tomorrow for part two of Del Conte’sQ&A.