By Brian Murphy
While college football presidents and conference commissioners still have work to do on access and revenue distribution for the new postseason format, Big East Senior Associate Commissioner Nick Carparelli said he does not believe deserving conference champions will be cut out of the system.
"I don't believe any league is going to be squeezed out. There have been seven conferences represented in BCS games. Last year was the only year it wasn't and there probably should have been a seventh," Carparelli said.
Since the BCS expanded to five games for the 2007 postseason, at least seven conferences were represented each year until last year. In 2009, there were eight conferences represented in the five games with Boise State (WAC) and TCU (Mountain West) joining the six AQ conferences.
"Now we're seeing the system expand from 10 to 12. The purpose of that was for access for other deserving champions," Carparelli said. "The notion there is going to be less access is a false one."
In the BCS, the top-ranked conference champion from a non-AQ league was assured of a spot if ranked in the top 12. Carparelli said "at a minimum, we should expect that that line will remain."
"The national championship has evolved. The revenue has evolved. Full access for other conference champions will evolve," he said.
— On bowl tie-ins: Carparelli said the Big East is in discussions with bowl games. "I'm confident that wherever our champion ends up, it will be a very high-quality location against a high-quality opponent," he said.
He added that the league is considering not having a specific tie-in for its conference champion given the geography of the league in 2013 and beyond. "Honing in on one location for our champion might not make sense for anybody," he said.
— On Boise State's decision: He said the league talked with Boise State throughout its process of withdrawing from the Mountain West. "Clearly Boise State needs to resolve the issue of where their sports other than football will play. We believe they have options," Carparelli said.
Carparelli said the league has considered the possibility of creating a "Western Division" for all sports, but that "a lot of strategic planning needs to be done."
— On the league's upcoming television negotiations: "We're very confident of the value that this conference brings to the table. All of the consultants in TV, the professionals that we have talked to, have echoed those positive sentiments," he said.
Playoffs starting to look like BCS 2.0
College football's newly announced playoff system, which will begin with the 2014 regular season, is starting to look very familiar.
The ACC and Orange Bowl announced a new 12-year agreement Tuesday, locking the league's champion into the bowl game as long as it is not playing in the four-team playoff. If that is the case, then a second ACC team will play in the Orange Bowl.
It sounds an awful lot like the despised BCS, which the new system was supposed to replace. So far five leagues have announced contracts with bowl expected to be part of the six top-tier games.
A selection committee will chose the four teams to participate in the playoff.
Rose Bowl: In some years, perhaps one of every three, the Rose will be a semifinal playoff game. In other years, it will host the champions from the Big Ten and Pac-12 — unless one or both makes the playoffs. In that case, the second-best team from the league will play for the Roses, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Champions Bowl: The Big 12 and the Southeastern conferences have announced a deal that will pit their football regular-season champions against each other in a New Year's Day bowl game for five years beginning in 2014, positioning themselves for the expected switch to a four-team playoff. ... If one or both of the league champions are selected to play in the playoff, another team would be selected for the Big 12-SEC bowl showdown on Jan. 1, according to ESPN.com.
Orange Bowl: The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Orange Bowl announced a 12-year agreement that goes into effect in the 2014 seasons to tie the league and game together through 2025. The contract maintains the tie between the two entities that has been in place since 2006. Under the terms of the new deal, the ACC champion will play in the Orange Bowl if the school is not part of the playoff and the game is not hosting a national semifinal. ... In the years that the ACC champion is in a playoff and the Orange Bowl is not hosting, another representative from the conference will be selected, according to USA Today.
What it means is that the number of available spots in the top-tier bowl games will fluctuate depending on which bowls host semifinals and which conferences qualify teams for the playoff.
When the new configuration was announced, Idaho President Duane Nellis — a member of the 12-member BCS Presidential Oversight Committee that had to sign off on the changes — said the new format would allow more access for teams in other conferences.
"The other thing that to me is positive for schools that might be in the Mountain West or the WAC are the three additional bowls, in addition to the Champions Bowl, the Orange Bowl and the Rose Bowl. With the separate championship game, it will provide more access points," Nellis told the Idaho Statesman.
"Assuming rankings would have held, Boise State under this new format would have been in one of the bowl games this past year when they were closed out unfortunately. Based on the structure, according to this analysis, there are five (more) non-AQ schools in the last 12 years that would have made into in this new system assuming that things worked out with the selection process."
At this point, no defined access points have been announced for teams not in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 or SEC.
Boise State is scheduled to join the Big East – which was one of the BCS's six AQ conferences in the past — in 2013.
"The BCS Presidents made it very clear that there is still a lot of work to be done on the access issue. It's premature to assume that there won't be spots for other conf champions. The system was increased from 10 to 12 teams for that reason," Senior Associate Commissioner of the Big East Nick Carparelli tweeted Tuesday.
In the old BCS system, the top-ranked conference champion from a non-automatic-qualifying conference was guaranteed a spot in the BCS if it finished in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings.
This is from Stewart Mandel at SportsIllustrated.com on what the new system might have looked like had it been in place last year:
Let's assume, as a hypothetical, that the six wind up being: Rose, Sugar (Champions), Cotton, Orange, Fiesta and Chick-fil-A. And let's say, for this example, the Fiesta and Orange wind up hosting the first semifinals.
Here's what the lineup might have looked like using last season's field and the committee's anticipated criteria (strength of schedule, head-to-head, valuing conference champions, etc).
• Dec. 31, 1 p.m. Chick-fil-A: No. 11 Clemson (10-3) vs. No. 13 Baylor (9-3)
• Dec. 31, 4:30 p.m. Cotton: No. 9 South Carolina (10-2) vs. No. 10 Boise State (11-1)
• Dec. 31, 8 p.m. Fiesta: No. 2 Oklahoma State (11-1) vs. No. 3 Alabama (11-1)
• Jan. 1, 1 p.m. Sugar: No. 6 Arkansas (10-2) vs. No. 7 Kansas State (10-2)
• Jan. 1, 5 p.m. Rose: No. 5 Stanford (11-1) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (11-2)
• Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. Orange: No. 1 LSU (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oregon (10-2)
Obviously, it's impossible to say exactly how the committee's rankings would have differed from the BCS standings, but I elevated Oklahoma State (from No. 3 to No. 2), Oregon (No. 5 to 4), Wisconsin (No. 10 to No. 8) and Clemson (No. 15 to No. 11) for their conference championships and/or head-to-head wins over similarly ranked foes and downgraded Boise State (from No. 7 to No. 10) for poor strength of schedule. We also don't know if there would be an at-large selection order or a teams-per conference limit (the SEC placed four in this lineup).
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