Embroiled again in year-end controversy, the Bowl Championship Series is weighing new changes in its team selection process — including the option of an NCAA basketball tournament-type...

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Embroiled again in year-end controversy, the Bowl Championship Series is weighing new changes in its team selection process — including the option of an NCAA basketball tournament-type committee to set its No. 1-vs.-2 national-title game.

The major-conference commissioners who run the BCS have twice examined and rejected the committee concept in the past but will reconsider it in the coming months, Big 12 commissioner and BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg said yesterday.

Another option is tweaking the current selection process, principally the two major polls that carry two-thirds weight in the BCS standings. Weiberg said the BCS may insist the coaches and media polls not start until sometime in October and the coaches make their final regular-season ballots public.

Growing discomfort with the polls, the coaches’ in particular, is fueling the selection-committee sentiment. Both polls start before the season, placing underestimated teams at a disadvantage. Ranked low or not at all, they have further to climb. The coaches have drawn additional fire for keeping their ballots secret.

“I’m not sure creating a committee would necessarily do away with controversy,” Weiberg said. “But there might be other benefits (like) taking out some of the limitations of the current polling system. The polls then could be used more as advisory information.”

The Associated Press has declined previous suggestions to start its poll later. The coaches have voted twice in the past year against disclosing their ballots. Should one or both stick to those positions, Weiberg and other commissioners said the BCS could turn to a selection committee of undetermined size and makeup.

Weiberg said he would not view the committee approach as a first option. The Big East’s Mike Tranghese is a proponent, and the Atlantic Coast’s John Swofford said the concept has merit. The Pacific-10’s Tom Hansen said the BCS must re-examine all options.

The commissioners will meet during the NCAA’s annual convention next month in Dallas but wouldn’t make any final decisions until April.

Wannstedt no longer candidate for Pitt job

PITTSBURGH — Former Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears coach Dave Wannstedt decided not to seek the coaching job at Pitt, the school where he played and once was an assistant coach.

Wannstedt, who resigned as the Dolphins’ coach Nov. 9 after a 1-8 start, was believed to be the front-runner to succeed Walt Harris at Pitt. But Wannstedt called Pittsburgh athletic director Jeff Long and pulled his name out of consideration.

Pitt wants to hire a coach as soon as possible to replace Harris, and Wannstedt wasn’t prepared to make a decision so quickly. The key weeks of the recruiting season follow the holidays, and Pitt wants a coach in place by then.

Wannstedt said that despite reports he wants to take a year off from football, he has not decided against coaching next fall, but isn’t ready to accept a job right now.

Former UCLA QB signs with Beavers

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Former UCLA quarterback Matt Moore has signed a letter of intent to play for the Oregon State Beavers.

Moore started for the Bruins five times and appeared in 13 games between 2002 and 2003. He went to the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif., last fall but did not play football.

Moore will have two years of eligibility at Oregon State.


• Third-string USC tailback Hershel Dennis tore ligaments in his left knee at practice and will miss the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma. A USC spokesman said it was too early to predict Dennis’ status for next year. He will have surgery next month. Dennis was used sparingly behind sophomore tailbacks LenDale White and Reggie Bush.

• Former Nebraska coach Frank Solich was introduced as Ohio’s new coach, returning to the state where he grew up and promising to rebuild a program that has gone 11-35 over the past four seasons. Solich has been out of football since being fired at Nebraska a year ago after going 58-19 over six seasons.

Sylvester Croom is under contract with Mississippi State through 2008. Croom, the first black head football coach in Southeastern Conference history, agreed to a one-year extension.

Craig Ochs is one game away from the perfect ending to his collegiate career. Ochs, who transferred to Montana from Colorado in January 2003, leads the Grizzlies (12-2) against James Madison (12-2) in the Division I-AA championship game tonight in Chattanooga, Tenn. Ochs has passed for 3,436 yards this season with 30 touchdowns.

• William & Mary quarterback Lang Campbell won the Walter Payton Award as the top offensive player in Division I-AA. Campbell threw for 3,037 yards and 21 touchdowns, with just one interception, during the regular season. He also ran for 201 yards and seven TDs.

• The San Francisco Police Department decided to drop weapons charges against California receiver David Gray, arrested last week after a fight outside a nightclub. Bears coach Jeff Tedford said Gray has rejoined the team.