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WOW Headlines – 3/21/13

Tennessee was upset 75-67 by Mercer last night in the first round of the NIT
The SEC is now just 1-2 in the NIT with only Alabama moving on as Kentucky and Tennessee fall
Alabama has hired former player and former Tennessee football coach Bill Battle as its new athletic director
Mal Moore stepped down as Alabama’s AD yesterday citing health issues
Missouri will open NCAA Tournament play on Thursday versus Colorado State
Ole Miss WR Philander Moore has been dismissed from the Rebel football team following an arrest for domestic assualt
Alabama has announced that it will open the 2015 football season in Arlington, TX against Wisconsin
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WOW Afternoon Headlines – 9/3/12

Florida names Jeff Driskel starting QB for Texas A&M game
ESPN’s “College GameDay” show will be live in College Station, TX
Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson: “If we execute, nobody in this league can touch us.  Period.”
Missouri hosts Georgia in its first SEC contest Saturday
Georgia’s Mark Richt isn’t saying who is and who isn’t suspended for Saturday’s game
South Carolina QB Connor Shaw “has trouble lifting his arm” and is questionable for Saturday’s game with East Carolina
Tennessee LB Herman Lathers’ is “probable” for Saturday against Georgia State despite a shoulder injury
Tennessee now has three “co-starters” listed at running back
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Forget Selection Committees And Conference Tie-Ins, It’s Time For A Bowl Draft

Regular readers of this site know that over the years we’ve occasionally mentioned the following tidbits:

 

1.  We’re no fans of conference tie-ins with bowls.  We understand the business of it — conferences are guaranteed slots and money, bowls are guaranteed dancing partners and visiting fans — but we don’t enjoy watching the same games year after year after year.  If you’re reading this site, you’re likely an SEC fan.  So “SEC versus Big Ten” in three Florida bowls every January 1st afternoon is probably just as old to you as it is to us.  Seriously, doesn’t it seem as though Georgia and Michigan State have played each other in about five straight bowls?

2.  We say open up the bowls just like the old days.  You remember… back when an SEC school might go to Atlanta one year, El Paso the next, and then on to Jacksonville the next.  There was always some new opportunity and the suspense of learning a team’s bowl fate was part of the late-season fun.  That said, the only negative with the old system involved under-the-table agreements made in early-November.  Inevitably, some team would sign on with a bowl, then lose its last two or three games to turn what looked to be a great matchup into a total yawner.

3.  The way around that problem would be to create a bowl draft, if you will.  No backdoor deals.  Just a live, on-air draft — think ESPN wouldn’t air that? — involving all of the bowls based on their combined payouts.

 

Right now would be a great time to put the MrSEC plan into action, too.  At the end of the 2014 season, college football will launch a new age.  Two bowls will act as national semifinals in a first-ever FBS playoff.  The four participants in the playoff will be selected by a committee.  That selection committee will also fill four more bowls with the next eight best teams in the country.  The semifinals will rotate through the same six bowls X amount of times over a 12-year period, depending on the game.  It’s believed three of those “big six” bowls will be played on New Year’s Eve and three more on New Year’s Day.

Those six bowls will likely include the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Cotton Bowl.  One of those will become the new SEC/Big XII “Champions” Bowl.  For argument’s sake, let’s say the Cotton becomes the “Champions” Bowl.  That leaves one more slot available in those six major games and we’ll tab the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta for the final spot.  From their kickoff games to the SEC Championship Game to their postseason bowl, the capital city of Georgia is pretty proactive when it comes to college football.  Now, the Outback Bowl in Tampa or the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Houston) could work their way into that sixth slot, too, but again — for the sake of argument — we’ll just pretend Atlanta gets the nod.

So six games are off the table: Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton (“Champions”), and Chick-fil-A.  There will be no BCS National Championship Game in the new format as the winners of the semifinals will meet in a title game that will be bid out to a different host city each year.  So that’s one less bowl than we have now.  We’re left with 28 additional bowls to be filled.

Just imagine this scenario: On the Sunday following the conference championship games in 2014, the selection committee and representatives from all 34 bowls are seated inside one massive theater (a la the NFL draft).  The committee members announce their picks for the four big bowls.  Then they announce the participants in the two semifinal bowls.

With 12 teams off the draft board, the remaining bowl committees start poring over their data.  They know which teams are ranked highest.  They know which schools travel best.  They know which schools bring in the biggest television ratings.  Armed with that info, the final 28 bowls begin picking their matchups… either for good TV numbers to satisfy their title sponsors or for tourism dollars to please their civic leaders.

It would be a combination of college basketball’s Selection Sunday and the NFL draft.  Millions would watch.

The selection order for the draft portion of the event would be determined by the combined payout of each game.  The more a bowl pays out to the schools it invites, the higher it’s slot in the draft would be.

Now let’s have a little fun just to see how this would all work.

We’ll use Jerry Palm’s 2012 preseason rankings as our guide.  We’ll act as though his ratings are dead-on and that his top 68 teams will all finish bowl eligible.  Then we’ll try to imagine how each bowl committee would pick its teams from there.  Further, let’s assume that the bowl tie-ins for the big games will look like this: Rose (Big Ten/Pac-12 champs), Cotton (SEC/Big XII champs), Orange (ACC champ/Notre Dame with 9 wins or more).  Other leagues like the Mountain West or Big East might line up spots for their champions, too, but for now we’ll just lock in those five leagues and Notre Dame as there has already been plenty of speculation that that’s exactly what will eventually happen.  That would leave the Sugar, Fiesta and Chick-fil-A wide open for selection committee assignments.

Here’s how we think a bowl lineup created by a selection panel and draft would look.  Just to be clear, we’re using Palm’s 2012 projections, 2012′s bowl lineup and combined payout numbers, 2014′s assumed playoff and “big bowl” plan, plus our own idea of a draft for the remaining 28 smaller bowls.  For kicks, we’ll give the first semifinals to the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls.  Also, in this scenario we’ll pretend Notre Dame does not win nine games and gain entry to the Orange Bowl.  Here goes…

 

  Bowl   Picking Position   City   Matchup
  Tostitos Fiesta Bowl   Semifinalists picked by panel   Glendale, AZ   2 Southern Cal vs 3 Alabama
  Allstate Sugar Bowl   Semifinalists picked by panel   New Orleans, LA   1 LSU vs 4 Oklahoma
  Discover Orange Bowl   ACC vs Panel Pick   Miami Gardens, FL   Florida State vs South Carolina
  AT&T Cotton (“Champions” Bowl)   SEC vs Big XII   Arlington, TX   Georgia vs West Virginia
  Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO   Big Ten vs Pac-12   Pasadena, CA   Michigan vs Oregon
  Chick-fil-A Bowl   Panel Pick vs Panel Pick   Atlanta, GA   Arkansas vs Clemson
  Outback Bowl   Draft 1 ($7.0m)   Tampa, FL   Wisconsin vs Texas
  Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl   Draft 2 ($6.65m)   Tempe, AZ   Ohio State vs Oklahoma State
  Valero Alamo Bowl   Draft 3 ($6.35m)   San Antonio, TX   Michigan State vs TCU
  TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl   Draft 4 ($5.45m)   Jacksonville, FL   Virginia Tech vs Nebraska
  Capital One Bowl   Draft 5 ($4.55m)   Orlando, FL   Kansas State vs Florida
  Russell Athletic Bowl   Draft 6 ($4.55m)   Orlando, FL   Auburn vs Notre Dame
  Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl   Draft 7 ($4.15m)   San Diego, CA   Boise State vs Stanford
  Hyundai Sun Bowl   Draft 8 ($4.0m)   El Paso, TX   Utah vs Baylor
  Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl   Draft 9 ($3.725m)   Nashville, TN   Missouri vs Louisville
  New Era Pinstripe Bowl   Draft 10 ($3.6m)   New York, NY   Iowa vs Rutgers
  Belk Bowl   Draft 11 ($3.4m)   Charlotte, NC   North Carolina vs Mississippi State
  Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas   Draft 12 ($3.4m)   Houston, TX   Texas A&M vs Houston
  AutoZone Liberty Bowl   Draft 13 ($2.875m)   Memphis, TN   Tennessee vs Georgia Tech
  AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl   Draft 14 ($2.3m)   Shreveport, LA   Southern Miss vs South Florida
  MAACO Bowl Las Vegas   Draft 15 ($2.2m)   Las Vegas, NV   Washington vs Illinois
  TicketCity Bowl   Draft 16 ($2.2m)   Dallas, TX   UCLA vs Penn State
  Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman   Draft 17 ($2.0m)   Washington, DC   Navy vs Virginia
  BBVA Compass Bowl   Draft 18 ($1.925m)   Birmingham, AL   Northwestern vs UCF
  Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl   Draft 19 ($1.675m)   San Francisco, CA   California vs BYU
  Little Caesars Pizza Bowl   Draft 20 ($1.5m)   Detroit, MI   Purdue vs Arizona
  GoDaddy.com Bowl   Draft 21 ($1.5m)   Mobile, AL   Arkansas State vs Cincinnati
  Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl   Draft 22 ($1.3m)   Honolulu, HI   Pittsburgh vs San Diego State
  Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl   Draft 23 ($1.2m)   Ft. Worth, TX   Louisiana Tech vs Nevada
  Beef ‘O’Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg   Draft 24 ($1.075m)   St. Petersburg, FL   FIU vs Western Michigan
  San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl   Draft 25 ($1.0m)   San Diego, CA   Fresno State vs Northern Illinois
  R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl   Draft 26 ($1.0m)   New Orleans, LA   Ohio vs Louisiana-Lafayette
  Gildan New Mexico Bowl   Draft 27 ($.912m)   Albuquerque, NM   Bowling Green vs Tulsa
  Famous Idaho Potato Bowl   Draft 28 ($.65m)   Boise, ID   Wyoming vs Toledo

 

One can argue over whether a certain bowl would pick Team A over Team B, but that’s not the point of this exercise.  The goal is to show that with an open, draft-like system, fans could visit more cities, teams could face more varied foes, and bowls could create more desirable matchups.

Will something like this ever come to pass?  Never say never.  After all, in two years we are getting a playoff and no one would have dreamed a year ago that that could or would turnaround so quickly.

With conferences now looking to control more of the cash by owning their own games, it’s likely that the old “you have to guarantee us you’ll sell 10,000 tickets” days are over.  The schools have more of the power in the new system.  So the bowls might not put up as much squawk over losing those automatic conference tie-ins as one might think.

And if a draft forced bowls to up the amount of money they pay out, schools and conferences might be willing to part with the guaranteed tie-ins, too.

Likely?  No.  But we certainly believe our plan would make for a more interesting postseason year-in and year-out.

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