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).
Univ. of Nebraska AD Tom Osborne yesterday said that “his stay will end Jan. 1,” according to Rich Kaipust of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD. Osborne told NU Chancellor Harvey Perlman of his intentions in August, and Perlman said that he “already has interviewed candidates for the athletic director position and may interview more.” Osborne said that "possible concerns about his age were driven home back at the hiring press conference of NU basketball coach Tim Miles when Miles was asked what it would be like to work for a 75-year-old athletic director.” Osborne said, “At some point, whether you're able to function or not, the perception is that getting old can get in the way.” Osborne on Jan. 1 will “become athletic director emeritus.” He said his plan is to stay around for about six months to “help in any way I can with the transition.” He added that health “was not an issue in his decision.” Current NU projects “include the East Stadium expansion in football and the Pinnacle Bank Arena construction for basketball,” and both will be “completed in 2013.” Perlman had “coaxed” Osborne out of retirement when NU fired Steve Pederson in Oct. '07. Perlman and Osborne “together also negotiated Nebraska's move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten” (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 9/27). In Nebraska, Brian Christopherson writes if “looking for the monumental moment of Osborne’s time as athletic director, you probably need to start with his role in helping direct Nebraska to the Big Ten Conference in the turbulent summer of 2010” (LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, 9/27).
WHO'S GOT NEXT? In Nebraska, Brian Rosenthal reports Perlman is “using a search consultant, Jed Hughes of Korn/Ferry International” to find a new AD. Perlman said he expects to be able to attract “the very best” candidates. Hughes "helped hire" Michigan AD Dave Brandon and Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Perlman has invited “12 to 15 individuals to serve as his advisers in the search, and said Osborne will play an important advising role, as well.” Those regarded as “internal candidates” include Associate AD/Development Paul Meyers and Associate AD and Diversity & Leadership Initiatives Dir Jamie Williams (LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR, 9/27). CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd wrote “expect these names to come up” as candidates: Meyers, Nebraska Exec Associate AD Marc Boehm, Arizona AD Greg Byrne and Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/26). In Omaha, Lee Barfknecht provides a list of “established or rising ADs from major conferences who might get a look if interested” (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 9/27).
Virginia Tech Associate AD/External Affairs Tim East wrote in an e-mail that the Redskins informed the school that "only 38,000 tickets had been sold" to Saturday's game against the Univ. of Cincinnati at FedExField, according to Mark Giannotto of the WASHINGTON POST. However, Redskins CMO Mitch Gershman said the club expects "well over 50,000 distributed tickets" by Saturday. That figure "includes tickets given to Redskins premium seat and suite holders who receive them as part of their season ticket package." Despite VT's large DC-area alumni base, it "appears fans have been turned off by face-value ticket prices that are as high as $174.95 for a game between two unranked teams." VT Assistant AD/Ticketing Services Sandy Smith said, "We had a lot of people balk at the price. I think that may have hurt their sales, at least through us." The Redskins this week in "response to lagging sales ... began advertising tickets for $41.70, although that price was only available if someone were willing to buy four tickets" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26). In Virginia, David Teel noted VT's previous games at FedExField were against No. 1-ranked USC in '04 and No. 3 Boise State in '10. Those contests "attracted crowds of 91,665 and 86,587, respectively" (DAILYPRESS.com, 9/25).
MONEY TALKS: In Cincinnati, Bill Koch wrote, "Why did the Bearcats agree to move a marquee home game to another city? Simply put, they needed the money." UC Deputy AD Bob Arkeilpane, who oversees football scheduling, said that the school will "receive in excess" of $3.5M for the game. That money is being used to help pay for the recently dedicated $15M Sheakley Athletics Complex, "a practice facility for football that also serves as the home field for UC's women's lacrosse team." Arkeilpane said that when the "guarantee grew so high that it became a good way for the school 'to do something for our football program and for our women's lacrosse program' ... UC officials decided the offer was too lucrative to turn down." He said, "I don't think you'll see us do something like this again" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/26).