Friday is a great day as we head into the weekend. Just when it seemed we'd quietly get into the afternoon with little going on, the SEC and Big 12 decided to drop a new bomb that will help shape the college football postseason, starting in 2014.
The Pac-12 and Big Ten have been bound together through the Rose Bowl during the BCS Meetings; now the Big 12 and SEC have tied themselves together too, through the creation of another Rose Bowl of sorts.
The Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 Conference announced today a five-year agreement for their football champions to meet in a post-season bowl game following the 2014 season.
The champions of the two conferences will be in the matchup unless one or both are selected to play in the new four-team model to determine the national championship. Should that occur, another deserving team from the conference(s) would be selected for the game.
And just like that, the "Southern Rose Bowl" is created. There are rumors about where this will be played. Dallas has their hat in the ring. The Sugar Bowl is going to fight to retain their ties to the SEC Champion. One thing that has not been mentioned is the Fiesta Bowl keeping it's tie to the Big 12 Champion, and thus, this new game.
Basically, the leagues are squeezing people out. The Fiesta Bowl for starters. This move makes sense for the Big 12. Why travel across New Mexico to Arizona when you can go a state away for a bowl game? Especially when that game is against a team that draws fans and eyeballs.
No more games against a wildcard of a ball club. Instead you get a reliable pull from a conference that has proven to sell well in bowl games. Whether the game is New Orleans or Dallas, both conferences can be certain that it is going to sell.
As my colleague Barrett Sallee mentions, on the field this does not likely change much. If anything, what they are giving us is a glorified Cotton Bowl. A look at 2011 shows us that LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State would be in the four-team playoff, leaving Arkansas and Kansas State to play in this new bowl game.
Sort of like they already did in the Cotton Bowl last year.
For the ACC and Big East, this is a big time reminder that "you're not one of us" in the grand scheme of things. If the ACC is looking for a steady partner they have to look to the Big East, something that has not proved beneficial with respect to selling out the Orange Bowl recently. The Big East is still without a bowl home for their champion and the league who saw their champion play the SEC Champ and the Big 12 Champ in the last decade now has that option off the table.
As for the Orange Bowl, this is a bit of a blessing in disguise. The game that has struggled of late to draw desirable match-ups just got an extra fish in the water. With the Big 12 and SEC matched up in the postseason, a la the Big Ten and Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl, that means the two opponents generally destined to play those respective champions are now up for grabs. More quality opponents is the opportunity to get the Orange Bowl back on the track to success.
Ultimately, there is no reason not to expect these two leagues to have one or both of their champions in the four team playoff. Since the BCS era started there has never been a year where both league champions have finished outside of the Top Four.
What we have now is a game that will sell. A game that will be a positive in terms of revenue for the site utilized and the conferences playing in the contest. Not a bad move by either league and a clear flexing of the collective muscle of both conferences.
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