NEW ORLEANS — Frank Beamer has been around the block a time or two.
Virginia Tech’s longtime head coach took over in Blacksburg, Va. in 1987, before any of his current players were even born.
That season there were 18 bowl games — this season there are 35.
That season Peach, Citrus, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar were king — this season Tostitos Fiesta, Allstate Sugar, Discover Orange, Rose presented by Vizio and Allstate BCS National Championship rule the roost.
That season each of the seven prime matchups was played on New Year’s Day — this season they stretch from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.
Beamer has witnessed the BCS takeover. On Monday, he shared his thoughts on the postseason system.
• On bowl structure: “I was behind this: four teams play, one plays four, three plays two, and the two winners play for the national championship. A few years back I thought it was gaining some momentum. And I really thought that was a good idea.
“The reason I thought it was the way to go is, when we played Auburn here in the Sugar Bowl, (they were) an undefeated team, and there were two other undefeated teams that year. And Auburn was good enough to play for the national championship. … Generally there’s about four teams that really deserve to play for the national championship. Some years there’s more. It always would be controversy about the fifth team, but not as much, I think, as the third team. I think that’s the best solution right now. And I understand that it’s coming back around a little bit. And hopefully, you know, I’d like to see us go in that direction.”
• On BCS bowls not being on New Year’s Day: “I believe it all should be played on January 1st. I know TV is there, but it’s just — it’s difficult. I think it’s difficult on fans everywhere. You know, after New Year’s, your kids are going back to school. Now (the Sugar Bowl) is the third, and it’s a three-day stay with hotels. It makes it a difficult situation to fill the stadiums.
“I believe a BCS game, the first thing is the stadium needs to be sold out. But I understand the other side of it, too, the way the TV works they spread them out. I understand that part firmly, too. But I do think it’s an issue. I think it’s something that probably needs to be thought out and talked about, is this what’s best for college football in general is to play so many games after (New Year’s Day.)”
Beamer also commented on the expectation that has emerged that head coaches in college football have immediate success. In his first six years at Virginia Tech, Beamer’s teams posted a dismal 24-40-2 record.
Beamer kept his job through the rough stretch. In stark contrast, former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was run from Ann Arbor after just three seasons and a 15-22 record.
• On whether coaches sustain long careers in this day and age of college football: “I don’t think after six years, when you’re 2-8-1, I don’t think many people would survive in today’s time. But fortunately I had administration that could see that we were doing things the right way. They understood that we were penalized, scholarships to start my time there at Virginia Tech, and I think that’s the toughest penalties you can get from the NCAA is loss of scholarships. And it not only hurts you recruiting now, but down the road three or four years, that’s where it shows up. But fortunately I had administration that saw that and hung with us long enough for us to get the wins. We went to the Independence Bowl in 1993 and have gone to a bowl ever since.
“But I think money’s gotten up there and people want results right now. I think the way information gets out, it may be right, it may be wrong. It doesn’t have to be accurate. But then people are talking about it. And I just think the way the whole situation is, I just don’t think coaches will last as long as we’ve been able to do it at Virginia Tech.”
• On what needs to change to help coaches build long careers, like his son Shane Beamer (currently a running backs coach at Virginia Tech): “Well, I think we are where we are. And, you know, Shane certainly understands the coaching profession. And he certainly understands that it’s not only year to year, it’s week to week. Things change quickly in a week’s time. And that’s just the way the profession is. And I don’t think … administrators are the only people that can change it, and I think they always certainly feel pressure from people outside. So I don’t think it’s going to change. I think it is what it is. And I don’t see the money going the other way. I don’t see media going the other way. I think it’s a profession. Did you win last Saturday or did you not. And it’s kind of that way, really.”