Over the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt read about the myriad angles and possible outcomes of a four-team playoff coupled with the news that the Big 12 and SEC were forming a five-year agreement temporarily labeled as the “Champions Bowl.”
The big picture is that major college football’s postseason is changing. Inevitably, and for better or worse, changing with it will be the bowl system as we know it. Major conferences are wising up and taking control of their postseason, rather than outsourcing it to a third-party.
The Holiday Bowl, which has in recent years paired selections from the Big 12 and Pac-12, understands that. Speaking to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Holiday Bowl Executive Director Bruce Binkowski said the San Diego-based game will do what’s necessary to keep the matchup as attractive as possible once 2014 — said to be the first year of the new playoff format — rolls around.
“We’re going to be aggressive,” Binkowski said. “I don’t know what that means, but we’re going to be aggressive.”
The Holiday Bowl, like many other bowl games, won’t know for at least a year or so how the postseason is going to shake out. “The whole bowl system might be rearranged by next year,” writes the Union-Tribune,”with many games fighting for their livelihoods beyond 2013.”
Selection order will be at a premium. The Holiday Bowl used to have the second or third pick from what was then the Pac-10 Conference, and the third or fourth pick from the Big 12. However, since 2010, the bowl has selected either third or fourth from the Pac-12 and fifth or sixth from the Big 12. Raising ticket average prices by nearly 70 percent (from $60 to $100) could give the Holiday Bowl a better position in the selection process.
But this is where the “Champions Bowl” and four-team playoff become factors. What happens with, say, the Sugar or Fiesta Bowls? Do they become part of the playoff* or Big 12-SEC agreement? If not, does that limit the Holiday Bowl’s selection ceiling?
(*it would appear semifinal games will be incorporated into the bowl system)
You can see why there’s cause for concern among even respectable bowls. It’s a power conference’s world now and the bowls will soon be living in it. It used to be the other way around.