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BCS commissioners settle on six ‘access bowls’


Some details of a four-team playoff in college football are still to be determined, but the BCS commissioners and Presidential Oversight Committee did finalize some aspects of the ‘access bowls’ that will make up the semifinal sites of the new postseason.

Here are highlights on what was decided:

  • There will be six access bowls, not seven. There were brief talks that a seventh access bowl with spot for the highest ranked team without a contractual tie-in could be added to the mix, but that’s been tossed out.  Currently, the Rose Bowl (Big Ten, Pac-12), Sugar Bowl (Big 12, SEC) and Orange Bowl (ACC, Notre Dame, Big Ten, SEC) have conference tie-ins and will be part of the rotation.
  • However, conferences without a contractual tie-in — the Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt — will have access to one of the host bowls. That access will go to the highest-ranked champion of those conferences.
  • The other five at-large teams will be chosen by a selection committee based on final regular-season rankings. That includes Division 1 Independents (Army, BYU, Navy and Notre Dame). That will fill up all 12 slots in the six access bowls.
  • A higher portion of playoff revenues will go to the conferences participating in the playoff/access bowls. A lower distribution will to conferences that aren’t represented. Additionally, 10 percent of revenue will be reserved for academic performance and schools can be penalized for not hitting a certain APR mark.

Some areas still to be determined:

  • The three other “host” bowls. It’s believed the Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A will fill those spots to total six access bowls..
  • A media-rights deal, reported to be worth about $475 million a year over 12 years, per ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. ESPN will likely end up getting those rights.
  • Who will make up the selection committee.

There’s still a long way to go since specific numbers for revenue distribution and criteria for at-large spots haven’t been determined, but the big takeaway from today is that conferences lacking contractual tie-ins to access bowls aren’t being shut out entirely. That was a big concern for conferences like the Big East, which has BCS automatic qualifier status. Given recent BCS history combined with conference reshuffling, the Big East has to feel good about its chances of getting a bid to a host bowl more often than not.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.