Springdale (NWAOnline.com) - Don't count legendary former Arkansas coach and athletics director Frank Broyles as a proponent for playoffs in college football.
Broyles, who won the 1964 national championship with the Razorbacks, said he opposed the idea Wednesday after speaking to the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club.
"I hate playoffs because you eliminate all the bowls and would only have eight teams, and they only remember the champion," Broyles said. "Today when you talk about the Razorbacks you say they've been in 25 bowls. When you get 76 teams in bowl games, that's going to increase the fan base.
"If you had playoffs you'd have eight teams in the playoffs and the rest of them the attendance would go down the next year. There are going to be 76 teams with attendance going up because they're in bowls."
Instead, Broyles said he likes the Bowl Championship Series. He said the current model for college football is the only one that will keep all fans from across the country tuned in through January.
"I think it's the only formula we have that will keep everybody interested," Broyles said. "If you want to have only 12 teams then go to the playoffs. The rest of us will just be second place.
"Winning and getting to big bowl games adds to the student enrollment, adds to contributions, adds to state appropriations. It's a plus."
Arkansas (8-2) has a chance to play in a BCS bowl for the first time in the school's history if the cards fall right in the final weeks of the season.
Broyles, who turns 86-years-old next month, was his usual vibrant self during his approximately 25-minute speech to the club. He recalled his 50 years with the university, calling it the "Razorback miracle".
"It is a miracle when you look around the country and find any state university with less than 6 million people that has been competitive in all sports," Broyles said. "I don't think you'll find one. The Razorback passion makes our 2.5 million people worth about 8 million people."
Broyles credited his predecessor, John Barnhill, for making his job easier by laying the foundation for a statewide fan base.
"What he did was get all the radio stations to block out competition," Broyles said. "If you were in Hot Springs before John Barnhill came, they had three radio stations and one would carry the Razorbacks, one would carry LSU and one would carry Oklahoma. But John said we're going to give the broadcast to all the stations and if they sold one ad they'd make a profit. So in 1947 he gave the radio rights free for decades. We did that up until the '80s."
Broyles, who served as athletics director from 1973 to 2007, said Arkansas was the best at doing more with less during his tenure. He cited the money spent by the league's other 11 schools and the amount of conference championships won during the first 15 years following the league's expansion.
"After 15 years we were ninth in spending budget, spending just a little more than half of the top schools," Broyles said. "Florida had spent more than $69 million and had won 73 championships. We had spent $39 million and had won 62. Alabama won 10, Kentucky had won 12, Vanderbilt had won four and Mississippi had won five.
"This got so much attention among the boosters that they made us quit doing it. The conference doesn't send this information out any more after it did it for years because it got so much criticism from schools that were spending $69 million and winning 10 championships."
Asked about current conference expansion, Broyles said Arkansas moved up to the SEC when professional sports began to become more popular in Texas.
"You could see the attendance dropping and you could see the handwriting on the wall," Broyles said. "I was scared to death that Texas and Texas A&M were going to go somewhere else and leave us behind. I got with Texas and Texas A&M and said, ‘It'd be great if we could form an alliance and go to the SEC.' They told me to go first and they'd try to follow. We went first and they didn't follow.
"In 1990 I went over and acted like I was playing golf in Birmingham with my good friend Doug Dickey, the former coach and athletics director at Tennessee. He came over and we played golf but we met with officials from the Southeastern Conference. I had permission from our board of trustees and our president that if the SEC offered us membership, we would accept immediately without any questions."
Nearly 20 years into their time in the SEC, the Razorbacks have yet to create any fierce rivalries like the one it had with Texas in the Southwest Conference. Broyles was asked if anyone would replace the Longhorns as the Razorbacks' biggest rival.
"No," Broyles said. "The reason I say that is that today I can tell you the score of every Texas game from my 19 years as a coach. I can tell you how we won it or how the stole it from us with Texas officials. Texas was unique in that they had eight teams hating them. But when I talked to Razorbacks fans 20 years ago they didn't want to talk about Baylor games, they wanted to talk about when we played Texas. It's the same way today.
"When we beat Alabama or LSU or someone like that – they're rivals, but they ain't Texas. No one can replace Texas."
Broyles joins Bobby Petrino and Ken Hatfield as current or former Arkansas coaches to speak to the club this year. Danny Ford, who coached the Razorbacks from 1993-97, is scheduled to speak at the club's final meeting on Dec. 8.