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December 5, 2010

Bill Hancock

Paul Hoolahan

John Junker

Eric Poms

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone, for joining us on our BCS Media Teleconference. On the call we will have Bill Hancock, who is the Executive Director of the BCS. And we also have the Executive Directors of the BCS Bowls: Eric Poms from the Orange Bowl, Paul Hoolahan from the Sugar Bowl, Scott McKibben of the Rose Bowl, and John Junker of the Fiesta Bowl, and they are hosting the national championship game this year.
We'll start with opening comments from Bill Hancock.
BILL HANCOCK: Thanks, everybody, for participating on the call. We've just finished another terrific season of college football. And the best is yet to come.
One of the great things about this game is the excitement that it brings to campus and campuses all across the country. And, once again, it came down to the last weekend.
It has been a remarkable season. Interestingly, the two teams in the championship game have never been there before, as you know. And they were ranked No. 11 and No. 22 in the Preseason AP Poll. What a season. Two teams from the non-AQ conferences were ranked No. 3 and No. 4 for much of the season. That's never happened before. Of course one of them, TCU, will play in the Rose Bowl, which has never happened.
It's just been a wonderful, wide open year of surprises, and I think fans can anticipate more of the same in the Bowl season.
To get into the process, I'd like to just review for you what transpired today in the teleconference among the 11 Conference Commissioners and the four Bowl staff.
Of course, Auburn and Oregon went to the championship game. Then the conference champions were slotted into their host Bowls. Virginia Tech to the Orange, Oklahoma to the Fiesta and Wisconsin to the Rose.
And then the Sugar chose a replacement because it lost a No. 1 team, Auburn. It selected Arkansas. And then the Rose chose a replacement because it lost a No. 2 team, which was, of course, Oregon, and it selected TCU. And then the Sugar and Orange and Fiesta filled their other own berths based on a previously established order that rotates from year to year.
The Sugar chose Ohio State. The Orange chose Stanford and the Fiesta chose Connecticut.
In closing, I'll just say college football is unique. I know you all love it as much as I do. We have a great regular season that provides a terrific Bowl experience that so many groups of student-athletes are going to enjoy over the next month.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take some questions now.

Q. This question is for Paul Hoolahan. You got a first-time BCS participant in Arkansas. Could you speak to the matchup you have and also ticket distribution, if you have any details there?
PAUL HOOLAHAN: Yes. Well, first of all, we're extremely excited about the opportunity to bring Arkansas back to our Bowl. They've had a tradition with us over the years. Of course, they hadn't been there in a number of years. But I know they're extremely excited to come, and we're certainly excited to have them.
As it stands, each school is, by contract, allowed 17,500 tickets. We know today that there is a demand from the school that exceeds that number considerably. Similarly, we are expecting the same situation to happen at the Ohio State University.
So consequently, we're looking at the available number of tickets which is rather negligible. I would estimate it to be somewhere in the range of three to 4,000 tickets available at this stage until we sell out. And what we would hope to do is to make available a split of what is available to each school.

Q. Eric, a lot has been made of Stanford's fan base and kind of a reputation for not traveling well. I just wondered how your Bowl reconciled that and overcame it, so to speak?
ERIC POMS: Obviously, Stanford's had a tremendous year, going 11-1. 11 wins. Ranked fourth in the country, highest ranked won/loss team.
Having Andrew Luck, their quarterback, one of the premier players in college football, and Jim Harbaugh, what he's done as the head coach. And all these factors go into your deliberations.
In the end, we had the ninth pick, as Bill mentioned. And seeing Stanford there and being available to the Discover Orange Bowl was compelling.
We have worked with Bob Bowlsby in years past. In 2003 we had Iowa come down here, and spent a lot of time with him on the phone and just have a great sense of the energy coming out of Stanford coming, the best record they've had in a long, long time.
So we feel that the fan base will be there for just a tremendous season. And it comes down to a national Bowl game here at the Discover Orange Bowl.

Q. John Junker, when you have two teams in the title game, one with 42 points and the other with 49 points, what kind of game are you expecting?
JOHN JUNKER: We're expecting a tremendously exciting game. Clearly those are two of the most accomplished offenses in the nation. And it will be an evening of fireworks in Glendale.

Q. Eric, you mentioned about the fan base at Stanford. On the flip side of that, you have got a pretty compelling story line with quarterbacks, with Tyrod Taylor of Virginia Tech and Andrew Luck for Stanford and a couple of highest powered offenses out there. How much does that come into the selection process, just looking at the actual game itself as opposed to fan base?
ERIC POMS: I think as mentioned earlier there's a myriad of factors that all of us look at. And to have Tyrod Taylor being the ACC Player of the Year, and to match him up with Andrew Luck, it was definitely something we looked at and were excited about.
The two coaches themselves, Frank Beamer, the job he's done with two losses at the start of the season and to roll out off 11 straight and have Jim Harbaugh, what a tremendous story in Stanford. From that standpoint, you had an opportunity to have West Coast Stanford playing against an East Coast team of Virginia Tech. It's a national stage. And we're truly excited about having that opportunity.

Q. Paul, as always everyone says you're excited to have a team in there. But after last year, with Florida not selling its allotment and then a couple of times in the past other teams not -- I can sense -- just tell me your true level of excitement and so forth that Arkansas will be coming here and wanting to be here along with Ohio State?
PAUL HOOLAHAN: I don't think there's any question that the teams that have come in the past came and wanted to be here. Some cases they weren't able to sell their entire allotment. But we've always had a sell-out. That hasn't been a problem. It's always important that we fill the stadium. And there's no question right now that both Ohio State and Arkansas are very excited to come to New Orleans. And the fans are lining up. And hopefully we'll be able to provide them enough tickets.
It appears right now that the demand will exceed what we have in our inventory. But I guess that's a good situation to have for the Bowl, not necessarily a good situation for the respective schools involved.

Q. This is five straight years you've not had your conference champion in there. How much of a challenge is that for a Bowl game that your conference anchor is in the championship game always?
PAUL HOOLAHAN: Well, that's hard to say. In our particular case, thank goodness we're associated with the Southeastern Conference. And when we've had to replace a loss of a conference champion to the national championship game, when it's played at a venue outside our own, we've been able to fall back on highly ranked SEC teams that were in the at-large pool, as we're doing in this case.
And as you can see, we've been very fortunate over the years to have people be extremely excited to come to our game and be in New Orleans and experience a lot of the excitement around our ball game.

Q. Paul, I was wondering what you made of Michigan State's efforts over the past week or so to try to get you to select them, and if you could walk us through the decision of Ohio State over the Spartans?
PAUL HOOLAHAN: First of all, let me congratulate Michigan State. What they did was nothing short of phenomenal. I've been associated with the business now 15 years.
I've seen a lot of different marketing approaches. Mark Hollis, Coach Dantonio, the entire Michigan State operation basically put together a marketing plan and a sales pitch that was really nothing short of outstanding. My hat's off to them.
They really made a very convincing appeal. We heard it. We brought it to the executive board of our organization. We really gave it, I think, very careful consideration. We think they were a very worthy and deserving team for any number of reasons. Their accomplishments speak volumes over what they were able to accomplish and the adversity that they were able to accomplish, overcome.
And I think it was a difficult decision, needless to say, because they did offer a very attractive alternative, but in the final analysis, when we looked at the higher ranked Ohio State, we did have some background and experience as you well know with Ohio State having been in our championship game and games prior to that.
So there was a little more familiarity, and of course that made the decision a little bit easier, but it was not definitely one that we in any way, shape or form overlooked a very attractive option in Michigan State.

Q. Is there a particularly unique or special aspect of the Michigan State presentation that you could share as an example of what made the presentation so phenomenal?
PAUL HOOLAHAN: They put together a video that you would have to see. It was really an extraordinary effort to think about the short period of time in which they were able to do that. But it was essentially as positive an appeal to, here, come look at me: This is Michigan State football. This is who we are. This is what we offer. This is what we guarantee if we come to your game. And I found it compelling. I thought it was, number one, it was sincere. And number two, I think the thing that caught my attention is it drew no comparisons.
Basically, it stood on its own merit and it said: These are the things that Michigan State has accomplished. These are the people that we've been able to accomplish it with; and, consequently, we think that we certainly deserve an opportunity to be considered in a BCS Bowl, and we would like to come to New Orleans and participate in the Sugar Bowl.
And it was that like anybody else, (we received) mounds of propaganda. But the phone conversations that I had, which were fairly numerous with the athletic director and the head coach were also, I think, very telling of what I would say a very sincere, genuine approach.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your participation.

End of FastScripts

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