Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio - Wisconsin v Oregon

Report: ESPN to pay roughly $80 mil annually for Rose Bowl


Late June brought news that the Rose Bowl had agreed to an extension with the Big Ten and Pac-12 to broadcast the game through 2026 — not so coincidentally, the same length as the four-team playoff approved by the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.

The terms of the extension weren’t released at the time, but thanks to a report from the Sports Business Journal, that’s changed somewhat. Industry sources told the publication ESPN plans to pay an average of $80 million a year (!!!!!!!!!) to the bowl game, representing a 167% increase from the $30 million it gets from media revenue currently.

That number could bring the total price tag for playoff media rights to $600 million; The Sporting News previously reported a playoff could generate around $500 million annually.

Where things get convoluted is the network bidding process for the yearly package of a championship game, two semifinals plus the four additional major bowls for college football’s top 12 (the playoff semifinals rotate among those six major bowls, which have yet to be named officially). ESPN has first negotiating rights with the first two parts of that package. Currently, ESPN pays $125 million annually for the BCS championship game.

But, if a deal can’t be made, the bidding process for a four-team playoff will be opened up to other major networks. That complicates things as playoff games could be shown on multiple networks. At that point, you’re talking about a revenue distribution cluster-you-know-what.

“It’s pretty simple if ESPN buys everything,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told the SBJ. “Only when they don’t does it start to get complicated with what happens to the semifinals.”

Keep in mind that with the Orange Bowl recently signing off on an extension with the ACC through the life of the four-team playoff, and the Big 12-SEC “Champions Bowl” handing over its media rights to the highest bidder, college football’s five major conferences will continue to have bowl tie-ins allowing all media revenue to be flushed right back into the leagues. In years that a major bowl acts a semifinal game, however, media revenue will be distributed among all 11 FBS conferences, though in what proportions remains unknown.

The SBJ reports that the “Champions Bowl” could generate yearly media revenue similar to the Rose Bowl, while the Orange Bowl is expected to net less, mostly because of a lack of permanent conference opponent. Notre Dame has confirmed talks with the ACC about a possible tie-in.

The easy part was deciding on a four-team playoff, but even a selection committee looks like remedial math compared to how major college football is going to divide the revenue from the new postseason format if the games are spread across multiple networks.

Win over Grambling approved, Cal officially becomes bowl eligible

Jared Goff
Associated Press
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Earlier today we had the report that Cal, they of the normally bowl-eligible six wins on the season, were not actually bowl eligible. The hang up was due to some NCAA red tape on how many scholarships Grambling, a 73-14 victim to the Bears on opening Saturday, had actually awarded this year.

Why the number of scholarships awarded by an opponent of a 6-5 team could determine what glorified exhibition said 6-5 could or could not play is a matter for another time, but the fact is it mattered.

But according to a report from Kevin Gemmell of, the Bears received approval to count the win toward their total, meaning Sonny Dykes and company will go bowling for the first time since 2011.

“We have conferred with both Grambling and the NCAA,” Cal spokesman Wes Mallette told ESPN. “As anticipated, Grambling has confirmed their football program has met the 90 percent financial aid requirement over the rolling two-year average. Therefore, Cal football’s win over Grambling counts toward bowl eligibility. Cal football is bowl eligible.”

The Bears have a chance to become bowl eligible the old fashioned way with a win over Arizona State Saturday in Berkeley.


Tulane reportedly set to fire head coach Curtis Johnson

Curtis Johnson
Associated Press
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The end of the college football regular season brings with it bowl bids, conference championship entries and rivalry games. Along the way, though, come end-of-season firings. So many end of-season firings.

According to a report from Dan Wolken of USA Today Wednesday night, the first one is already on the books. Or at least close to it.

Wolken reports Tulane is set to part ways with head coach Curtis Johnson following the Green Wave’s Friday finale against Tulsa “barring a last-minute change of direction.”

Johnson is 15-33 in nearly four complete seasons at Tulane, reaching a high point of a 7-6 mark wtih a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning two, three and three games in his other three campaigns.

If and when the move becomes official, Tulane will become the 15th FBS school to change head coaches this season, matching the total number of changes during the 2014-15 cycle.

Wolken reports Tulane will hire a new athletics director within the next week, and once that hiring is complete the school will then embark on hiring Johnson’s replacement.

Reports: Michigan DC D.J. Durkin a “strong candidate” for Maryland vacancy

D.J. Durkin
Associated Press

Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin has emerged a “strong candidate” for the Maryland job, according to reports from Yahoo‘s Pat Forde and Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman Wednesday.

“Durkin, 37, met recently with Maryland officials, sources said,” Forde wrote. “No job offer was made, but the interview went well, sources said.”

Added Feldman:

Durkin is in his first season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, helping the 9-2 Wolverines jump from 14th to third nationally in yards per play allowed (4.77 to 4.15) and 27th to sixth in scoring defense (22.4 to 14.9).

Prior to working on Jim Harbaugh‘s staff, Durkin served as Will Muschamp‘s defensive coordinator at Florida for two years, and as his special teams coordinator for two years before that. He previously worked at Stanford, Bowling Green (his alma mater) and Notre Dame.

Should he be offered and accept the job, Durkin would immediately become Big Ten East rivals with his mentor Harbaugh.

“This week is so important to our guys, my 100% focus is on this game and our players — that’s what this profession is all about. You’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of the job you have week in and week out. It’s a tough task, especially with this team we have this week,” Durkin told the Detroit Free Press when asked about the reports.

“My goal is to get the best game plan possible together for Ohio State and have our guys go play well. To answer rumors or speculation right now and put something to it, my total focus is 100% on Ohio State and nothing else.”

Illini to decide on fate of interim head coach Bill Cubit by Sunday

Bill Cubit
Associated Press

Illinois will decide whether or not to retain interim head coach Bill Cubit for the full-time job by Sunday, interim AD Paul Kowalczyk told WSKJ-FM Wednesday.

“We need to make that call and figure out which way we’re going for everyone’s sake,” Kowalczyk said, via the Chicago Tribune. “For me, it’s posthaste.”

Illinois closes its regular season Saturday against No. 16 Northwestern in Champaign. The Illini are 5-6 on the year and, for what it’s worth, Cubit desperately wants the job.

Also worth noting: the athletics department is operating under a total state of dysfunction in the wake of AD Mike Thomas‘s firing.

From 670 The Score in Chicago on Wednesday:

Sources tell 670 The Score that as overwhelmed university officials are dithering and providing little guidance, the group of trustees, boosters and alums left to run things can’t yet agree on much.  Some want to hire a search firm with a spotty recent track record, others want to form their own search committee, while another faction thinks they need to act faster by using their own contacts to target specific AD and coaching candidates right now and just get moving.

Any support for retaining Bill Cubit is getting strong push-back from those who don’t believe he wasn’t aware of Tim Beckman’s aberrant behavior, and from some who feel strongly about making a more dynamic hire.

For those keeping score at home: Illinois is dealing with a power vacuum of trustees, boosters and alums battling for control while an interim chancellor and interim athletics director work to reach a resolution on an interim football coach.

And the coaching carousel starts spinning in full four days from now.