As of last month, college football’s head honchos were considering adding a seventh access bowl to the playoff mix, which was later reported to include representatives from the “best of the rest” and either the Big 12 or Pac-12.
Now, it appears that idea was simply fun while it lasted. Brett McMurphy of ESPN reports that the seventh “access bowl” has a “less than 50 percent” chance of happening. From McMurphy:
However, this is becoming more unlikely because of a myriad of concerns and obstacles involved for a seventh access bowl. Among them: The bowl’s lesser worth compared to the other access bowls, the difficulty of selling tickets for an annual bowl featuring a non-power conference team and finding a bowl that wants to host the game that also meets the stadium capacity requirements for an access bowl and the national semifinals, sources said.
The report states that the seventh bowl would be worth about $25 million a year. Compare that to the Rose and Champions Bowl ($80 million) and the Orange Bowl ($60 million).
The six playoff sites that would also act as rotating semifinal sites for a college football playoff have not been officially established, but it’s believed that they would include the four current BCS bowls — Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar — plus the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. The Rose, Champions (site is still TBD, but it could be in either the Cotton or Sugar) and Orange Bowl all have their contractual tie-ins established or in the final stages of negotiations.
Whatever spaces are open among the three remaining high-revenue bowls will likely be filled with at-large opponents, the requirements for which are still TBD. So, if you’re what is currently considered a non-AQ conference, your chances of getting invited to a high-revenue bowl just took a serious hit unless one of the available at-large spots becomes guaranteed for smaller conferences. In other words, the new postseason isn’t fair for everyone (and that’s okay) – unless you’re part of the privileged group, in which case it’s extremely fair (and that’s not okay).
The four-team playoff idea is still one with which I agree, but the six “access bowls” that make up the rotating semifinal sites have become a cluster-you-know-what of the highest order all in the name of keeping some semblance of a tradition that got watered down when someone, clearly drunk, decided “Yeah, putting a bowl game in Boise freaking Idaho in the middle of December is a good idea.”