We've talked about the smaller conferences selling off their access in favor of getting more money but there may be hope on the horizon. According to Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated the selection committee will not only be selecting the four teams in the playoff, they will also be picking the teams who play in the other four major bowl games.
The selection committee will pick the teams for all six bowls. Theoretically, it could be the Top 12 spread over 6 games. Huge improvement.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) June 28, 2012
That's right folks, instead of the bowls taking their pick of what's leftover at their own discretion, as was expected with the expiration of the automatic qualifying bid, the selection committee is going to be doling out bids at their discretion. That's not so good for conferences whose champion routinely finishes out of the Top 12-15 (we're looking at you ACC and Big East), but it could be a good thing for the artist formerly known as the non-BCS ranks.
Are the small schools better off with the selection committee picking big bowl teams?
The original thought was that bowl tie-ins would play the part of picking who plays in which game. When a site was not hosting a semifinal, they would default to their golden standard: conference tie-ins. Now, it seems the selection committee is going to muddy the water. This may well mean no more jumping of "deserving" teams a la the Sugar Bowl taking Michigan and Virginia Tech over Kansas State or Boise State or Baylor.
That means instead of battling the damning lack of popularity, national name and travel concerns; the little guy only has to battle their way into the Top 12 of the selection committee's rankings. That is something that teams can most certainly accomplish by running through their schedule and putting together an undefeated or one-loss record.
Still an uphill battle but a feat that is attainable for the small schools. With the selection committee picking the bowl participants the little guy still has a shot at success, not a great shot, but a shot. And, in the grand scheme of things, this is the lesser of two evils when compared to the bowls doing their own picking to get the "best" matchups.