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Conference Scheduling Alliances Are Great In Theory, Hard To Pull Off In Reality

handshake-good-backlitFirst things first… football and basketball are two completely different sports.

Basketball coaches usually wrap up their own non-conference schedules just months ahead of their next season.

In football — with much more money on the table — athletic directors handle the non-conference scheduling.  Typically any “big” games are lined up at least a year or two in advance.  Aside from neutral site money games (Atlanta, Arlington, Houston, etc), most all games between BCS-level foes are scheduled three, four, five or more years in advance.

For that reason, it’s much easier to pull off a two-conference “challenge” type event on the hardwood than it is on the gridiron.  There are only 12 football games per season (as opposed to 27-30 regular-season basketball games).  Each one of those 12 games has an enormous impact on an athletic department’s year-end revenue.  And with a playoff on the way, the top-tier games on a school’s schedule will have to locked down for strength of schedule purposes.

All that said, in recent months, with conference realignment talk filling cyberspace and the airwaves, talk of conference challenges and scheduling alliances has still generated more talk than ever among football fans… and between actual conferences.

The Big XII admitted that it had had talks with the ACC about such a scheduling partnership.  Then — just as we suggested on this site — it was learned that some talks between the Big XII and the SEC had occurred as well.

Just this week news broke that the Mountain West and Pac-12 are exploring a possible scheduling deal.  That’s the same Pac-12 that had initially reached such an agreement with the Big Ten.

And what do all of those alliances — Big XII/ACC, Big XII/SEC, MWC/Pac-12, Pac-12/Big Ten — have in common?

Not one of them has actually gone from theory to reality.  Not one.  But they sure look neat on paper, don’t they?

On this site, before John Swofford pulled a grant of rights agreement out of his hat, we suggested that the SEC could help save the ACC — if it wanted to — by agreeing to a scheduling alliance with that league.  The ACC was looking for extra cash — cash that ESPN is now stepping in to provide in an effort to halt further realignment — and a series of neutral site games against SEC squads all branded under a corporate sponsor’s logo would have been worth some nice cash for both the SEC and the ACC.

An ACC/SEC partnership would make sense in non-financial ways, too.  Already Florida/Florida State, Georgia/Georgia Tech and South Carolina/Clemson meet annually.  With Louisville set to join the ACC, the Kentucky/Louisville game would become the fourth built-in tilt between the leagues.  Vanderbilt and Wake Forest just wrapped up a series of games suggesting those two schools could form a fifth partnership.  If those five games remained/became annual events it would leave nine schools from each league — not counting part-time ACC member Notre Dame — to match up on a rotating basis.  The best matchups could be moved to NFL stadiums in Atlanta or Nashville or Charlotte or Washington or Pittsburgh.  ESPN would love it.  In-season “bowl” games.

Just as a random example, imagine the following as one season’s lineup of games:

 

  SEC School   ACC School   Annual/Rotation   Location
  Alabama   Miami   Rotation   Atlanta
  Arkansas   NC State   Rotation   Nashville
  Auburn   Pittsburgh   Rotation   On Campus
  Florida   Florida State   Annual   On Campus
  Georgia   Georgia Tech   Annual   On Campus
  Kentucky   Louisville   Annual   On Campus
  LSU   Syracuse   Rotation   East Rutherford
  Missouri   Virginia   Rotation   On Campus
  Miss. State   Boston Coll.   Rotation   On Campus
  Ole Miss   Duke   Rotation   On Campus
  S. Carolina   Clemson   Annual   On Campus
  Tennessee   N. Carolina   Rotation   Charlotte
  Texas A&M   Virginia Tech   Rotation   Houston
  Vanderbilt   Wake Forest   Annual   On Campus

 

Not every game would be a winner but even the worst games would beat matchups with FCS squads.  And again, the above is just an example.  (Please, look at the possibilities and don’t get hung up on who we matched with whom and where… this isn’t about the specifics).

In the above scenario there would be a battle between two corps of cadets.  A new border battle.  Extreme North versus extreme South.  A David Cutcliffe Bowl.  Plus some good games between traditionally strong programs.

Slap an AT&T logo on all of them, give them to ESPN (potentially for its SEC and ACC networks) and let everyone rake in the cash.

But that’s just one option for an SEC scheduling alliance.

We also suggested that with the ACC reaching out to the Big XII for a series of games, the SEC could damage Swofford’s league’s chances of survival — if it wanted to — by stealing their dates, so to speak.  Sources claim the Big XII and SEC had some discussions at some level about the possibility of an alliance.  The two leagues have already broken new ground with their co-ownership of the Sugar Bowl.  They’ve also just officially announced a basketball challenge.  If two leagues appear to be getting chummy at the moment, it’s the SEC and the Big XII (ironic considering the moves of Missouri and Texas A&M).

In theory — there’s that word again — the four existing SEC/ACC rivalries could be left intact with the 10 remaining SEC teams lining up games with the 10 squads from the Big XII.

Imagine this draw as a possible slate of games:

 

  SEC School   Big XII School   Annual/Rotation   Location
  Alabama   W. Virginia   Rotation   Pittsburgh
  Arkansas   Kansas State   Rotation   St. Louis
  Auburn   Texas Tech   Rotation   On Campus
  LSU   Oklahoma   Rotation   Arlington
  Missouri   Kansas   Annual   Kansas City
  Miss. State   TCU   Rotation   Houston
  Ole Miss   Baylor   Rotation   On Campus
  Tennessee   Okla. State   Rotation   Nashville
  Texas A&M   Texas   Annual   On Campus
  Vanderbilt   Iowa State   Rotation   On Campus

 

Under that plan you’d have Nick Saban coaching against his home state school.  Mike Gundy would face the team whose job he didn’t take.  There would a We-Hate-Tommy-Tuberville Bowl.  There would also be showdown between Bears and Black Bears.  (Sorry, Rebel fans.  It had to be done).

Throw a Dr. Pepper logo on that “SEC/Big XII Challenge” and split the games between ESPN and FOX depending on each game’s location.  Money, money, money for all.

Now, again, not all of those games would be home runs.  They would, however, be infinitely more interesting than the total strikeouts that are Florida versus Georgia Southern, Arkansas versus Samford, Tennessee versus Austin Peay, etc.

So if scheduling alliances look so good on paper, what’s the problem?

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The Bowl Nonsense Needs To Stop — It’s Time For A Bowl Draft

draftThis isn’t a particularly new idea.  We wrote of it last year as well.  But with a new playoff, a new rotation of the biggest bowls, and an almost entirely new lineup of bowl tie-ins coming your way in 2014, we felt it was once again time to push our idea for a “bowl draft.”

Now, first of all, it’s not going to happen.  Conferences like having built-in bowl slots (i.e., money) for their schools.  And bowls committees like being able to focus their marketing efforts toward predetermined partners.  So this theory just isn’t likely to become a reality.

That said, considering the following:

 

*  The new six-bowl playoff rotation — which will include four bowls and eight teams not in the actual playoff each year – is likely to cause confusion over who’s going where in a given season.

*  The SEC has had chats with the Belk, Gator, Meineke Car Care, Music City and Outback Bowls about creating a formula that would allow the league and the bowls to place SEC teams in those games.  Overall the SEC’s bowl prospects look quite messy at this point.

*  The ACC is reportedly leaning toward sending its second best team — if that squad is not in the playoff – to the Russell Athletic Bowl.  But John Swofford’s league has also talked with the Belk, Gator and Music City Bowls about sending its teams to those sites to face SEC squads.

*  The Big XII is looking at a new bowl lineup as well.  Currently Bob Bowlsby’s league is negotiating with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl — as is the Pac-12.

*  The Big Ten is pushing its revamped “national” bowl lineup which stretches from coast to coast.  That conference is also planning to get involved — in some way — with the selection process in order to prevent its teams from having to travel to the same locations too often.

 

Yuck.  Just give us some sanity, college football bigwigs.

On the same day that the football playoff and big bowl participants are announced by football’s new selection committee, kick off a bowl draft.  Dump conference tie-ins altogether.  Just line up the bowls from the highest-paying to the lowest-paying and let them select whoever the heck they want to bring into their communities.  The best-paying bowl picks first.  The game with the smallest payout gets the last selections.

At that point, it would be up to the bowls to create interesting matchups.  They could pick teams whose fans travel well to please their local business partners.  Or they could select squads based on national rankings or national name in order to grab high television ratings and please their corporate sponsors.  The bowls could go in any direction they liked.

Such a system would please most fans, too.  Instead of watching the same SEC squads knock heads with the same Big Ten and ACC teams in the same handful of bowls each year, Southeastern Conference fans could see their favorite schools shipped to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego to face a Pac-12 team or the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City to face a Big XII squad.  That would add some interest back into the bowl season.

Imagine a bowl drafting Texas and Texas A&M for a showdown.  All of a sudden the Witch Hazel Bowl in Lubbock wouldn’t look quite so dreary, eh?  (That’s not a real bowl, though you know it could be.)

The powers-that-be — as detailed above — are trying to pump some life into the postseason by creating bowl swaps and built-in rotations.  But rotations only lead to confusion and frustration.  “Let’s see, this is the 11th year of Jupiter’s 12-year cycle around the Sun and New Year’s Day falls on a Wednesday… so it’s the ACC that gets a slot in the Dutchmasters Cigar Bowl this year.”

With a draft there’s no such confusion.  Sure, there would still be bickering over why a bowl took Team X or Team Y.  And coaches and fans would still find multiple reasons to complain.  But at least the system would be easily understood.  “The Black Label Beer Bowl picked us.”  End of story.

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Big Ten Still Focused On The East, Commish Says

gfx - they said itGiven the opportunity yesterday to place a headstone above the grave of conference realignment, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany passed.  “Dead is a strong word” he said when asked about further conference expansion.

That shouldn’t scare anyone.  It’s a “forever” question and a lot can change in a day, a year, 10 years or 20 years.  To say expansion is stone-cold dead means it’s forever dead and that’s not going to be the case…. even though the ACC appears stable at the moment.  Also, Big East, er, American Athletic Conference schools don’t appear to be attractive enough for the Big Ten or others to come calling right now.  But Delany says his league still has its eyes open and when it moves, it will likely move east:

 

“I can’t speak for others, but we’ve been focused on making a home in a new region (with Rutgers and Maryland), making new members feel at home in this region.  Everything we’ll do competitively and in television and in bowls is to bring, as quickly as we can, a level of comfort.  The Eastern corridor is… the richest corridor in the world from the standpoint of financial institutions, political institutions, media institutions, and we’re new to it.  So if we can build relationships, make friend and be impactful and relevant over time, that’s the goal.

We’re not going to be changing the world, but we are looking forward to doing everything we can to build a presence in that place.”

 

Whether a conference can thrive as a two-region entity remains to be seen.  And while Delany is correct about the advantages to be found on the Atlantic Seaboard, those advantages haven’t helped the ACC or Big East very much.  The former has been picked clean of its best athletic programs and totally rebranded while the latter now ranks as the poorest league cash-wise among the five remaining major conferences.

Of course, ACC and Big East schools haven’t matched Big Ten schools in terms of size — where 50,000 students on a campus isn’t unheard of — and, therefore, in terms of alumni.  Delany pointed out yesterday that the Big Ten has 1.2 million alumni living between Northern Virginia and New York.  Not bad for a conference that’s not even located in the area.

Delany also said that his league is planning to open up a second conference office — probably in New York — to serve the East Coast.  All for Rutgers, Maryland, and maybe Penn State?

Expansion isn’t dead.  It’s resting.  And at some point — hopefully several years down the pike — it will awake and rise again.  When that happens, it’s clear in which direction the Big Ten will start looking.  If it sees that it can make it as a two-region league.

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UConn A.D. On Realignment: History Says There Will Be More Shifts Eventually

sad-guy-finalIf there were three successful athletic programs that came out of the most recent expansion/realignment quakes worse for the wear, they were all old Big East squads.  Cincinnati has traditionally been good in basketball and the Bearcats have recently played in a BCS bowl.  Connecticut has traditionally been great in basketball and the Huskies have recently played in a BCS bowl.  West Virginia has traditionally been good in basketball and the Mountaineers have recently played in a BCS bowl.

But none of that helped those schools on the realignment front.  Passed over by the ACC and SEC, West Virginia at least found money in the Big XII, if not nearby rivals or combatants with similar cultures.  Cincinnati and Connecticut were simply passed over, period.

Now having to smile and say nice things about the American Athletic Conference (the rebranded Big East), UConn athletic director Warde Manuel isn’t closing the door on future moves:

 

“Since the NCAA has been around, since formation of the NCAA, if you look at the history, there’s been realignment of conferences for different reasons.  I don’t proclaim to know if it will ever be done again.  History will tell me at some point there’s going to be shifts.”

 

Manuel is correct.  Eventually there will be more moves.  College athletic conferences have been in a state of evolution for decades (though the past five years have seemed like a jump straight from the primordial ooze to upright man).  The problem for UConn and Cincinnati, however, is that it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be making more moves anytime soon.

While it’s possible the Big Ten might look at UConn — that league picked Rutgers and Maryland over the Huskies in November — it’s doubtful Ohio State would want Cincinnati climbing aboard.  It’s also possible that the ACC could decide to expand, but with 15 members in all sports but football, why add anyone else?  (Unless, of course, ESPN says it would help sales of a new ACC Network.)

Perhaps the best hope for the UCs would be a decision by the Big XII to expand.  But that league’s leaders have said the television networks have told them they really wouldn’t benefit by adding teams like Connecticut and Cincinnati.

Bearcat fans have already begun to pepper this website (East Carolina-style) with emails saying, “Hey, what about a UC/SEC marriage?”  Such a move would push the SEC Network into Ohio, perhaps, but Cincinnati just doesn’t fit the traditional mold of an SEC school — flagship school, the only game in town athletically, big football stadium, etc.  Most importantly, it’s doubtful the addition of Cincinnati would pay for itself.

There will be more realignment at some point — perhaps when a new super-division or rich schools is created, perhaps in five or 10 years when another spate of TV deals come up for renegotiation.  But by that time, will UConn and Cincinnati have fallen so far behind cash-wise as to be even less attractive to potential suitors?

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ACC Schools Were Wise To Stick Together And Not Jump To Big XII

MASH signNothing against the Big XII, but those ACC schools long-rumored to be considering a jump to the league made the right decision in staying put instead.  Oh, there might’ve been more potential for riches climbing on board Bob Bowlsby’s ship, but the likelihood of an eventual “abandon ship” call was far greater.

Last week, Big XII leaders took up the issue of West Virginia’s travel complaints regarding its new home.  On the positive side, the Big XII pledged to help WVU in any way possible.  That includes nixing a rule that prevented the Mountaineers from staying on the road last year when faced with back-to-back long road trips.  The obvious problem — WVU has nothing but long travel trips in its new Midwestern home.  The school’s nearest Big XII rival is nearly 900 miles away.

The road trips were long in football, but basketball is where West Virginia really felt the pinch.  On the men’s side, Bob Huggins’ squad several times had to play a Saturday game on the road, fly back to campus on Sunday, practice and go to class on Monday, and then fly back out on Tuesday for a Wednesday game.  Now the league’s athletic directors appear open to allowing WVU to fly from one road game directly to another.  Or to having the Mountaineers play their road games on Saturday-Monday or Saturday-Tuesday turnarounds.  That’s all well and good, but what of all the talk of “student-athletes” not missing class time?

Look across the remaining big five conferences — Big XII, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12, SEC — and you’ll find that West Virginia is basically the only true fly-over member of a conference.  Leagues that have tried to create large collections of schools from all across the nation have been felled by the distances between the schools, not aided by the total number of television markets covered.  Ask folks in the old Big East.

The ACC has had Boston College as a distant relative since 2005, but that league has just added Pittsburgh and Syracuse to its roster of teams.  Even stretched from Massachusetts to Florida with a Western protrusion into Kentucky (with soon to join Louisville), the league’s states are still side by side by side by side.  With Maryland’s departure to the Big Ten, the only gap in the line is the short distance between Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Moving forward, every ACC school will have a rival or two within its area.  That goes for all the major conferences.  Except for Big XII and its new bride, West Virginia.  And as much as the Mountaineers were hoping/praying for Florida State or Clemson to join them, those schools would have just been closer distant relatives.  The folks at FSU and Clemson would also now be asking for travel breaks when it comes to visiting places like Kansas State and Texas Tech.

West Virginia was in a dying Big East and was passed over by the ACC and the SEC.  The school didn’t want to get caught without a chair when the music stopped so it jumped.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But eventually the distance between Morgantown and its neighbors will become an issue that cannot be overcome.

Successful conferences, no matter how large they become, still provide schools with a few driving-distance rivals.  The Big XII flying over states to reach so far east?  That doesn’t fit the profile.  There’s a reason the SEC never seriously considered adding schools that weren’t connected to the existing SEC footprint.  And that reason is why the ACC schools that eyeballed the Big XII were wise to stay put.

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Oops, Did We Upset Clemson’s S.I.D.?

angry-at-computer-cartoonGranted, we’re a little late on this story.  Hopefully you’ll cut us some slack for that since we were the cause of this story.

Back on Sunday, when the final NFL draft tallies were in, we posted a note on the site and on Twitter stating that the “SEC had 63 picks and ACC was second with 31.  Greatest gap ever.”

That nugget was retweeted by uber-reporter Tony Barnhart (Mr. College Football).  A follower of Barnhart’s Twitter feed — which focuses a great deal on the SEC and the ACC — happens to be associate Clemson athletic director and sports information director Tim Bourret.  He obviously he didn’t like what he read and tweeted a response:

 

“@MrCFB 5 years after Espn tv contract gives sec huge advantage.  The numbers and $ add up.”

 

The feeling outside the SEC is that ESPN’s television contract with the league — there’s also the CBS contract, of course — has provided the SEC with the cash necessary to create an advantage in terms of facilities, recruiting budgets, weight rooms, etc.

It has.

It should be pointed out, however, that the SEC had already begun its streak of seven consecutive BCS championships before its new TV deals even kicked in.  But the goal of those contracts was to keep the league’s programs at or near the top of the money tree and they have.  Today the SEC will announce its plans for the SEC Network, an even larger money-making partnership with the four-letter network.

What’s interesting is that Bourret took the time to tweet about the cash discrepancy between the SEC and ACC right after his league had just inked a new grant of rights agreement.  Either his comment can be taken as a sign that he believes the ACC will now start to catch up on the money front with its own TV package… or as a sign that there are still some ACC’ers who aren’t happy about the gap between their league and the SEC.

And this time we’re talking about the financial gap, not the NFL draft pick gap.  Which, as we noted on Sunday, was the “greatest gap ever.”

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Pac-12 Coaches Might Push For An Eight-Game Schedule

pac-12-logoFor those SEC fans who don’t want to the see their favorite football league adopt a nine-game conference slate, you might want to start pulling for the Pac-12 to change its scheduling format.

CBSSports.com’s Bruce Feldman tweeted word today that the Pac-12′s football coaches will discuss this week the possibility of moving to an eight-game schedule, away from the current nine-game model.  If the Pac-12 were to backtrack, that might alleviate some of the pressure on the Southeastern Conference to go from eight to nine games with its schedule.  A Pac-12 reversal would mean that the majority of major conferences (Pac-12, SEC, and ACC) would use an eight-game plan rather than a nine-game plan (Big Ten and Big XII).

In turn, that might take the strength-of-schedule bullet from the gun of any playoff selection committee member looking for any reason at all to prevent the SEC from getting two (or more) teams into the playoff in a given year.

That said, coaches seldom hold the final cards when it comes to big conference decisions such as scheduling formats.  If they did, you can be sure the SEC would still be playing six conference games and would feature no conference championship game.  But there are larger things at play than one guaranteed patsy win each season, which is what most coaches would prefer.  Dropping the number of conference matchups would give a league fewer A-list games as television inventory, thus costing the Pac-12, in this case, money in the long run.

And television money is what we believe will ultimately drive the SEC to change its own format from eight games to nine.

Still, if you’re an anti-nine-gamer, it can’t hurt to pull for the Pac-12 coaches on this one.

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WOW Headlines – 4/29/13

Rival QBs Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) and AJ McCarron (Alabama) are planning to vacation together this summer
The SEC led the nation’s conferences with 63 players selected during last week’s NFL draft
Last year, the SEC had 42 players selected in the NFL draft
The SEC East and West divisions produced more talent on their own than any other full conference
The Big Ten has adopted a nine-game conference schedule, joining the Pac-12 and Big XII
Only the SEC and ACC plan on keeping an eight-game conference schedule
Follow the SEC all year long on MrSEC.com and twitter.com/mrsec

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TV Markets, Geography Helped Doom Any Florida State/SEC Deal

state map floridaThe rumors have been around for years, so why have the SEC and Florida State never been able to strike a deal?  Buried in a long story in the Tallahassee Democrat today about the ACC’s grant of media rights are some insights from FSU president Eric Barron on the topic.

According to the paper, FSU officials never believed the SEC saw a financial advantage in adding the Seminoles. Why?  Because it didn’t add television markets or new recruiting territories.

 

“If you go look at all the realignments that have occurred, with maybe one exception, (they have) been to add a new state – a new territory. You look at what the SEC did; they go for Missouri and Texas. You look at the Big Ten; they hit Nebraska first, then Maryland and Rutgers in the New Jersey/New York market. So basically, they added contiguous real estate.”

 

Barron also told the paper he was skeptical of the numbers being bandied about in any SEC deal.

 

“Typically, when we hear about the SEC’s numbers, it’s every apple and orange (factored) into that pool. And typically, when you hear about ACC numbers, you’re hearing about what people are speculating about the TV contract, the details of which are not public information.”

 

The ACC came to an agreement Monday that extended the grant of media rights to the league office through 2027, effectively locking the league in place through that time period.

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New Playoff, New Era Give SEC A New “Mess” Of Bowl Possibilities

messy-bowlsThis week, the presidents of the FBS unveiled a good portion of the plan for the new College Football Playoff that will launch after the 2014 regular season.  Those changes — coupled with the end of all existing bowl contracts — provide the SEC with an opportunity to branch out and expand it’s bowl lineup into new areas.

Just don’t expect said branching to be easy on the ol’ noodle.

The SEC has made no secret about its desire to send a team to at least one bowl in Texas.  With the Cotton Bowl’s inclusion in the playoff rotation, the SEC has lost the one Texas bowl with which had been partnered.  In addition, the Chick-fil-A Bowl — which will once again become the Peach Bowl — is a part of the new playoff rotation as well.  For SEC fans, that means this year will be the final year that a league squad will be contracted to spend New Year’s Eve in Atlanta.

There will be other changes to the SEC lineup as well.  Gone is the old two-teams-per-season BCS rule that capped the number of squads from once conference.  With six bowls now part of college football’s New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day party, any number of highly-ranked SEC teams could be invited to take part in the two-bowl playoff or in the overall six-bowl plan in a given year.  The number of invitees will be determined by the yet-to-be-determined football selection committee and their yet-to-be-determined criteria.

In past seasons, the SEC has had 10 bowl tie-ins (including the BCS’ Sugar Bowl) with the opportunity to land an 11th squad in the BCS Championship Game.  When that happened, the last bowl or two in the SEC pecking order — depending on the number of bowl-eligible teams from within the league — would lose their “guaranteed” SEC partner.  Moving forward without a cap, an even greater number of lower-end bowl partners could lose out on SEC teams that are picked for the “big bowls.”

Under the new plan, the SEC champion will now be partnered with the Big XII champion in the new and improved Sugar Bowl.  That is when the SEC and/or Big XII champion are not in the playoffs and when the Sugar Bowl is not hosting a playing game.  So long as the Sugar isn’t a semifinal site, it will always host teams from the SEC and the Big XII, though it might not — and probably won’t be — the two leagues’ champions.

If the SEC champion is not part of the playoff and the Sugar Bowl is in the semifinal rotation — an unlikely scenario — then the SEC champion will be sent to either the Peach, Orange, Fiesta or Cotton bowls.  (The Sugar Bowl is partnered with the Rose Bowl throughout the 12-year rotation.)  With geography a component of the new system, expect an SEC champion not in the playoffs to be sent to Atlanta, Miami or Arlington when the Sugar Bowl is a semifinal site.

Speaking of the Orange Bowl, the SEC has already locked in a slot in that bowl, too.  As is the case with the SEC and Sugar Bowl, the ACC champion is contracted to play in Miami each year… so long as that champ is not in the playoffs and the Orange is not serving as a semifinal site.  In those years that the Orange is not part of the playoff, the bowl will be slotted either an SEC team, a Big Ten team, or Notre Dame.

Follow all that?  Of course not.  It’s ridiculous.

But for the SEC, just know that the new bowl lineup probably won’t look like the old bowl lineup:

 

Sugar Bowl (New Orleans):  SEC vs BCS at-large

Capital One Bowl (Orlando):  SEC vs Big Ten

Cotton Bowl (Arlington):  SEC vs Big XII

Outback Bowl (Tampa):  SEC vs Big Ten

Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta):  SEC vs ACC

Gator Bowl (Jacksonville):  SEC vs Big Ten

Music City Bowl (Nashville):  SEC vs ACC

Liberty Bowl (Memphis):  SEC vs C-USA

BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham):  SEC vs Big East

AdvoCare V100 Bowl (Shreveport):  SEC vs ACC

 

Before you start trying to figure out if the SEC will say goodbye to any of the above locations — aside from the already out-the-window Arlington and Atlanta, of course — keep in mind that it’s been reported that the SEC, Big XII, ACC and Big Ten have already discussed a scheduling rotation that would land schools from those leagues in the Music City (Nashville), Belk (Charlotte), and Alamo (San Antonio) bowls over a period of time (probably 12 years to match the new playoff contract).  The goal: Lock in and guarantee as many bowl bids as possible for each league, leaving the smaller conferences to duke it out for lesser bowl invites and chump change.

In all honesty, at MrSEC.com we’re for a system that sends SEC teams to new sites to face new, fresh, different opponents.  There are only so many times you can watch the SEC battle the Big Ten or ACC before those games all just run together in a “Didn’t they play last year, too?” mish-mash.

So what exactly is coming next for Mike Slive’s league?

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