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Seventh access bowl now less likely, report says

Big 12 Media Day AP

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.”

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10 Responses to “Seventh access bowl now less likely, report says”
  1. fcmlefty1 says: Oct 24, 2012 12:11 PM

    What we’re most likely to see now is a provision that guarantees them a spot in an Access Bowl if they reach certain criteria, very similar to the “top 12/ top 16” provision that currently exists in the BCS for the non-AQ leagues. The big change, of course, is that the Big East will be in that group now too.

    The Big East also now needs to get to work on finding a upper-tier bowl for their champion, to be matched up against a quality opponent from the SEC, Big 10, PAC 12 or Big 12. They would get nowhere fast if the game involved a ACC team or another have-not league champion.

  2. weavergm says: Oct 24, 2012 12:23 PM

    So we may be back to the simple division of three contract bowls on New Years Day and three access bowls on New Years Eve, with one semifinal on each day rotating among them. After the semifinal and contract bowl participants are selected, there will be four spots remaining on New Years Eve. Without the seventh consolation bowl, I think the selection committee will have to select a top four “best of the rest” to fill out the access bowls with the best available teams regardless of conference. Otherwise the BCS cartel is vulnerable to antitrust litigation.

  3. dmvtransplant says: Oct 24, 2012 12:34 PM

    I’m getting bored of this crap, call me when you actually have the playoff figured out.

  4. normtide says: Oct 24, 2012 1:09 PM

    “the difficulty of selling tickets for an annual bowl featuring a non-power conference team”

    Just another reason I am for dropping some teams from the FBS division. To many teams to ever get an accurate playoff. Relegation could bring good teams up and drop teams that can’t compete on the field or in the stands.

  5. Deb says: Oct 24, 2012 1:23 PM

    Agree with normtide about paring back the FBS … and we’re not the only ones. Watched an interesting panel discussion among those involved in the sport a couple of years ago where they concluded that would become a financial necessity for schools that can’t compete in the stands, as normtide says.

    I just don’t understand the attraction the FBS holds for teams that will never be in genuine competition for a title. What’s the point? Why not create more divisions so more schools have the opportunity to be kings of their own hills? Limit the FBS to comparable programs that can compete with one another, so we can have a more competitive playoff.

  6. fcmlefty1 says: Oct 24, 2012 2:04 PM

    I agree with the thoughts of Norm and Deb. Seems to me that the Sun Belt and MAC aren’t that far ahead (if they are at all) of the top FCS teams like North Dakota State, Appalacian State, Sam Houston, etc. Going Forward, the Mountain West and Conf-USA will be in about the same boat. I’d be all for 3 divisions: I-85, I-74 and I-63, with the number derived from the number of scholarships. I-85 would be the 5 power conferences of course. I-74 would be the Mountain West, MAC, Sun Belt, Conf-USA and possibly some of the better schools/conferences from the current FCS, and I-63 would be the rest of the current FCS (and who knows, maybe some D-II schools would move up to that, but that trickle down effect is immaterial at this point).

    But it brings us right back to the same problem we’ve had since the playoff talk started: What do you do with the Big East? By any and all statistical measures, they are clearly behind the Power 5, but also very clearly ahead of the other FBS conferences I mentioned above.

  7. frug says: Oct 24, 2012 6:00 PM

    See this is why it was always a stupid idea to hold the playoffs within the bowl system. It has created the exact same problems that the BCS created when they tried to cram an NCG into the bowl system.

    Bowls and playoffs are square pegs and round holes. Should have held the semis on campus (or failing that) bid them out like the NCG. (Of course after they find that they can’t sell out neutral site semifinals games they may end up on campus anyways).

  8. dmcgrann says: Oct 24, 2012 10:29 PM

    I understand what folks are saying about trying to split Division 1 football into three divisions instead of the current two – but everyone saying that so far (at least here) appear to be SEC fans.

    A lot, if not most, of the top FCS teams have made a serious commitment to that level of football, especially taking into consideration expense. Same with DII schools. The “lower-level” FBS conference teams have done the same, though I’d say there are more than a few that are really stretching it.

    Fans of the FBS schools, especially the “big” conferences, tend to look at things from the standpoint of competition and prestige. The FCS and lower schools have to consider costs as well.

    My Division I FCS alma mater has to allocate 13% of the admissions of each incoming class to student-athletes in order to field their various teams (not all get athletic grants-in-aid). If Ohio State did that, they’d be admitting 1,300 student-athletes each year – they only have 1,100 now, over four years, in all sports. Point is, my school has a FCS national championship in football and has been to the Sweet Sixteen in men;’s basketball twice. We’re competitive – but we don’t have room for another 11 football grants-in-aid.

  9. fcmlefty1 says: Oct 25, 2012 11:43 AM

    @dmmcgrann – nice, well written post. In the case of your school: under what i roughly proposed above, your alma mater would just stay in I-63. They’d see no change to their current set up.

    The relief would be to the bottom of FBS. I can’t confirm it with 100% certainty, but my thought process is this: Those schools would be better off in their own division, both competitvely and financially, where they don’t have to offer 85 scholarships.

  10. dmcgrann says: Oct 25, 2012 8:42 PM

    fcmleft1, thanks. I tend to agree with you that the “bottom of FBS” (wherever you want to cut that off) would appear to be better off in your scenario – but you’ll never convince those schools, their presidents, or their alumni that that would be the case. Being able to claim that you play “big time football” is a recruiting tool not just for athletes, but for students in general, plus it adds to the overall prestige at some universities that honestly may not have too much to brag about otherwise.

    And, for those of “us” that made a conscious and considered decision to fund our football programs at the full 63 scholarship FCS level, well, we don’t want to play 85 scholarship FBS teams unless we get a payday, and we sure don’t want to be faced with playing 74 scholarship “mini-FBS” programs for lesser paydays, especially when some of those “74s” are likely to be schools that we used to play in conference on a home-and-home basis.

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