SBD/September 27, 2012/Colleges

BCS Considers Adding Seventh Bowl To Revised System Involving Non-AQ Conferences

Concerns from Big East, non-AQ conferences led to talks of a seventh bowl
In the revised BCS system starting in ’14, it “appears increasingly likely that a seventh bowl will be added to the semifinal rotation,” and that bowl will “host the highest-ranked team from among the Big East and current non-AQ conferences,” according to Stewart Mandel of SI.com. The expected six-game series was "going to be split into two categories.” The Rose Bowl, Champions Bowl and Orange Bowl are “so-called ‘contract bowls,’ in which certain conferences have locked in guaranteed spots.” The other three bowls were “going to remain open.” But “concerns from the five conferences without a contracted bowl -- the Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt -- led to discussions last week about adding a seventh game to the mix.” Mandel wrote, “It sure seems like the commissioners are heading right back down the path that forced reform in the first place.” Two of the “biggest complaints about the current system” have been the inclusion of “undeserving teams like 2004 Pittsburgh (8-3) and 2010 Connecticut (8-4) and poor attendance at the bowls that got shoved to post-New Year's weeknights” (SI.com, 9/25). CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd cited sources as saying that the “as-yet unsold, unnamed bowl would be worth” approximately $20M in the TV market, $60M less “than the top tier Rose and (pending deal with the) Champions bowl.” But Dodd wrote the money is “less of a factor than the new bowl's creation itself, which will give access to the five current non-BCS conferences.” What the commissioners are considering is “essentially legitimizing the reconfigured Big East going forward with a bowl that sources say will be part of the national semifinal rotation as well.” For the first time since the BCS “drew an artificial line between college football's haves and have nots 14 years ago, the sport's second-class citizens would be guaranteed a spot in a major bowl” (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/25).

POSSIBLE OPPONENTS? The AP's Ralph Russo cited a source as saying that "either a Pac-12 or a Big 12 team likely will be the opponent for the top-rated champion" from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and MAC in a seventh BCS bowl game. The proposal "has the Pac-12 sending either its champion or a replacement team to the game in years when the Rose Bowl hosts a national semifinal" (AP, 9/26). USA TODAY's George Schroeder notes if the Pac-12 champion "is not among the four teams selected for the playoff, that team might land in the new bowl." The "same could happen" if the newly-created Champions Bowl was hosting a national semifinal and the Big 12 champ "was not among the four teams in the playoff." However, "even in those scenarios, it's not automatic." A source said that the Big 12 or Pac-12 champion "would have to finish 'way outside the top four.'" More likely "would be a non-champion from the Big 12 or Pac-12 in the new bowl, similar to an at-large team in the current BCS system" (USA TODAY, 9/27).
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