It’s been nearly three months since the June approval of a four-team playoff that will be in place for the 2014 postseason.
While the who/what/where/how details have been few and far between, it was initially thought that the two semifinal games — the title game will be bid out — would come from a rotation of six current bowl games. As it turns out, the new system’s eyes may have not been big enough for the playoff’s immense financial stomach.
Following an ongoing set of meetings involving conference commissioners, BcS executive director Bill Hancock confirmed that the group is considering adding a seventh game to the previously-planned rotation, another bowl that would add to the “marquee” of the revamped FBS postseason. While Hancock technically spoke of access — presumably referring to the non-BcS conferences — to the new postseason table…
“They created a playoff and they had a working concept for access, but they knew that more conversations were needed. There was discussion about access and whether another game might be necessary. There was. … But how it comes out, we don’t know.”
… he’s practically referring to greater potential access to higher-revenue bowls for members of “The Big 5.5” conferences. And further devaluing the already overvalued 20-ish other much lesser bowls in the process, but that’s another story for another day.
That said, and regardless of whether it’s a six- or seven-bowl rotation, there’s the question of which bowls will or would actually be a part of the playoff equation.
There are two bowls already contractually locked in — the Rose and Orange bowls. The for-now-dubbed Champions Bowl, which in theory would pit the winners of the SEC and Big 12 against each other, will be locked in once the t’s and i’s are crossed and dotted, respectively. The host site nod for that new bowl, at least initially, is expected to go to Dallas Cowboys Stadium, although Houston is reportedly very serious in its bid to land the game as well.
The Fiesta Bowl, despite its excessive graft past, will be another piece of the rotation. That’s four. The Sugar Bowl? Another no-brainer, whether it’s part of a potential Champions Bowl rotation or not.
That makes five and leaves one or possibly two bowls left to be a part of the rotation.
The Cotton Bowl and Jerry Jones’ Ode to Excess Stadium is one significant double-dipping possibility, given the Dallas Cowboys owner’s propensity for throwing gobs of cash at the opportunity to host college football games. Could the Champions Bowl, at Jerry World, as well as the Cotton Bowl, at Jerry World, be two-sixth or two-seventh of the playoff rotational equation? As they say, money talks and bullsh…
It appears, then, there could be at least three bowls fighting for what right now would be a not-yet-created seventh spot in the rotation — the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Capital One Bowl and Outback Bowl. The smart money, right now, would be on the Atlanta game.
Regardless of how the bowl rotation plays out, there are other, even more overriding factors on several levels that will play a significantly more important role in determining the success or failure of the FBS power structure’s attempt to move on from the train wreck that was the BcS:
— As far as fans or anyone else who cares anything at all about the sport are concerned, the makeup of the committee that will determine the four teams — yes, it should at least be an eight-team field; it’s not, so get past it — should be far and away the most important discussion point as it pertains to the new postseason system. Hancock, who said he was in favor of a committee consisting of 15-20 individuals, was kind enough to offer a non-update update on that part of the equation:
“The working model has been that every conference would have a representative. And then that there would be enough people on the committee to accommodate recusals. The concept being that when your institution is discussed you would be recused.”
There are currently 11 FBS conferences for football, soon to be 10 once the WAC is officially put out of its misery. There will then be six major/BcS conferences, four non-BcS conferences as part of the working model; you do the math on how the voting will go with a committee that consists of every FBS conference having a representative, and how access to the six or seven marquee bowls will play out.
— As far as the conferences and individual schools are concerned, however, how the revenue is distributed and protecting the brand “historic” leagues have developed — lookin’ at you, Delany — in the new postseason format is at or near the top of the list of concerns.
“The first championship game is 28 months away. And so the highest priorities are going to have to go to the television contract and site selection.”
We included this just to emphasize the fact that, despite the “progress” when it comes to the postseason, it remains all about the money student-athletes can make for a university by simply playing a game.
Fairness, equity or inclusion, thy name is not part of the latest big-time college football postseason ruse.