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SEC Could Have Teams In Playoff, Champions Bowl And Orange Bowl Under Reported Deal

Last night,’s Brett McMurphy posted a quick blurb regarding the ACC’s still-to-be-finalized deal with the Orange Bowl.  In it he mentioned that the bowl game — part of the six-bowl playoff rotation that’s coming in 2014 — will likely pair the ACC Champ “against either Notre Dame, an SEC or Big Ten team.”

As we’ve noted before, the new system will a) be more confusing than the old system, b) lock the small teams out of the big-boy bowls more often than the old system, and c) lead to more arguing and bickering than we’ve had under the BCS.  We’re not anti-playoff, mind you… we’re just anti-this playoff format because it’s as convoluted as can be imagined.

Here’s the skinny:


* In years when the ACC champion reaches the four-team playoff, another ACC squad will take its place in the Orange Bowl.

* Notre Dame — which will now be in the ACC except for football — can still be lined up as the ACC’s opponent assuming the Irish didn’t play the bowl’s ACC representative as one of their five Atlantic Coast Conference games that season.  (It’s possible the Orange Bowl could schedule a rematch, but doubtful.)

* If Notre Dame doesn’t grab that slot, the Orange Bowl could extend an invite to an SEC team (not in the playoffs and not in the “Champions” Bowl) or to a Big Ten team (not in the playoffs and not in the Rose Bowl).

* The Orange, Rose and “Champions” Bowls are already known to have locked down slots in the new playoff rotation.  However the Rose and “Champions” Bowls are not likely to get as many semifinal slots in the rotation as the other bowls involved because the Big Ten/Pac-12 and the SEC/Big XII prefer to do their own thing in most years.  According to’s Dennis Dodd, two sources have already confirmed to CBS that the leagues involved in the Orange, Rose and “Champions” games “will keep all the revenue in years those bowls don’t pass through the national semifinals.”  That means the smaller conferences who aren’t tied into those “contract bowls” will not receive a portion of the money made by those games.  This further separates the haves from the have-nots.  Instead of having a six-bowl pool of money to divvy up, there could be a four-bowl pool with the “Champions” and Rose keeping their cash in a given year.  (The revenue from the national championship game would actually push the overall cash tally higher, but that contest technically won’t be a bowl game.  Follow all that?)

* The site for the new “Champions” Bowl game is expected to be known in October.  Houston, New Orleans and Arlington, Texas have reportedly posted the biggest bids to host the game.

* BCS Commissioners are meeting right now to determine the other six bowls in the playoff rotation and — most importantly — how the cash that will be split among leagues is actually going to be split among leagues.  It would be surprising to see the MAC or C-USA, for example, get a large chunk of the revenue generated by the six-bowl (plus title game) system.

* A human selection committee will select and seed the 12 teams they feel best deserve slots in the playoffs and the remaining “big boy” bowl games.  Except — you knew there’d be an except, didn’t ya? — for the “Champions” Bowl and Rose Bowl which will automatically get teams from the SEC/Big XII and Big Ten/Pac-12 respectively when those leagues place teams in the four-team playoffs.

* The committee will also assign teams to certain bowls and semifinal bowl sites which will no doubt lead to complaints from bowls (“That school’s fans are not going to travel as well!”) and from fans (“If we reach the championship game our team will have farther to travel than either of its possible opponents!”), etc, etc.


So needlessly confusing.

For the SEC, however, it all just means more money.  Hypothetically speaking, Mike Slive’s league could in one season land two teams in the national semifinals, — we don’t think that’s likely as a selection committee will probably want to limit the SEC’s championship opportunities — one team in the “Champions” Bowl against a Big XII foe, and another in the Orange Bowl against an ACC squad or Notre Dame.

The rich get richer.

However, the SEC’s existing bowl partners likely won’t enjoy seeing another game jump them in the selection pecking order.  All of the SEC’s bowl contracts are up after 2013, so the league will cut new pacts with several games for the 2014 season.  You can expect another tie-in with a Texas-based bowl.  Also, it looks like some of the league’s bottom-rung bowl partners might be outta luck when it comes to maintaining a tie to college football’s most powerful league.  In the above scenario with four SEC teams making the 12-team “big bowl” rotation, some of the SEC’s lowest-tier bowl partners would lose out.

At, we’re still in favor of a bowl draft (which the major conferences would never go for) and we continue to maintain that the 12 teams selected for the biggest bowls would have best been chosen by a three-tier system — one computer ranking formula, one human poll with transparent voting, and one selection panel with transparent voting.

Instead, you get the mess above.  Oh, the arguments that will rage.



@MrSEC I refuse to read any playoff format that's not in Bracket Form.


The most interesting story surrounding the 2014 Bowl System Launch, and it is not being reported on by anyone, (most likely because the 4 parties involved have better operational security than the Department of Defense ever dreamed of)  The apparent behind the scenes collaboration between SEC, Big 12, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl.  The Cotton Bowl has an established history with the Big 12 and the Sugar Bowl has an established history with the SEC.  As both conferences must agree on where to host the "Champions Bowl", it seems a simple matter of Common Sense, that King Solomon's solution will be used, "Cut the baby in half and give half to each"  In other words the Cotton Bowl will host the "Champions Bowl" six years adn teh Sugar Bowl  will host teh "Champions Bowl" the other 6 years, and when they are not hosting the "Champions Bowl" they can host Nationla Semi Final Games.


This ensures each Bowl will have 6 "Champions Bowls" and 4 National Semi Finals.  The SEC/Big 12 keep that $80 Million media rights revenue all 12 years.


It is just completely beyond imagination that the "Champions Bowl" would be assigned to one permanent site and then give up $160 Million in revenue by hosting 2 National Semi Finals.  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.


 @GrayGrantham Here's an interesting question that I don't think I've heard yet...  Do the conferences make more money when the bowl is NOT a national semifinal?  The answer is probably 'yes'.  So, what about the bowl itself?  If everyone makes more when the semi is elsewhere, why host any of them??  Everyone wins.That said, I don't like the idea of splitting it, though.  It reduces the culture that you are building through that bowl.


I actually don't mind the complexity here other than the Notre Dame replacement in the Orange.  I'd rather just tell the committee to choose the best remaining at-large team for that spot - period.  Maybe the money is split between the ACC and the larger "BCS" at-large pot.  If Boise is the next best team, Boise/FSU becomes the game everyone wants to see anyway.  


I know I've said this before, but I really wish the Rose and "Champions" could buy their way into a semi-final if the top 4 includes a team from each of the appropriate conferences.  Imagine USC and Ohio State are both semifinalists and they play at the Rose.  Imagine it's a few years in and Texas and LSU are semifinalists and they could build on previous year's "Champions" bowls.  


I have liked the bowl draft also. There are some bowls that have no issues locking in conferences - like the chick-fil-a bowl. Of course now that the ACC stretches from Boston to Indiana to Miami and the SEC from Missouri to Texas to Florida, Atlanta might still be in the heart of both conferences, but is not the center of both conferences. I am sure that there is a way that the bowls could come up with a package that the conferences will be happy with and will lead to better match ups. The bowls pay into a system that divides up with X amount going to X conference. Then as the draft unfolds, the teams selected will will get X amount in addition to the payout to the conferences. This will give the conferences a base for those years that they don't have as many teams qualify for a bowl, and help up avoid another year of UGA/MSU - though those are good games to watch, the fan bases are growing tired of the match up.

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