Yesterday, the Associated Press (via the New York Times) released news that the Pac-12 and Big 12 were working to come to terms on another bowl-game agreement. As we've seen from the SEC and Big 12, and the ACC partnering with the Big Ten and SEC, conferences are starting to call the shots. This would be another instance, should it come to fruition.
The news is great for the two power conferences, but it is also a tremendous win for the Big East, small conferences and, in the end, the Fiesta Bowl.
The win for the Pac-12 and Big 12 is clear—like the Champions Bowl, Orange and Rose Bowl, the leagues are creating a major bowl to deliver revenue to their conference. As the information from the Associated Press details:
The proposal has the Pac-12 sending either its champion or a replacement team to the game in years when the Rose Bowl hosts a national semifinal. In years the Rose Bowl is a traditional Big Ten-Pac-12 matchup, the Big 12 would send one of its top teams to the game.
The deal with the Big 12 and Pac-12 would be similar to the one the Orange Bowl is working on with the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference. That deal, which has not been completed, would match a team from either of those conferences or Notre Dame against the Atlantic Coast Conference champ or a another ACC team.
That's big money for both of the leagues as they are looking to rotate participation. The details of the agreement will be interesting as they work out the financial terms for the annual payouts.
However, the big plus here comes for the other possible bowl participants and the Fiesta Bowl. The folks in Glendale, who had lost their Big 12 tie-in, are back on the major college football map with this game. They get something to market and the ability to continue to push toward being a factor, beyond when they host a semifinal or title game.
The five conferences involved—Big East, Sun Belt, MAC, Conference USA and Mountain West—now have access. For a time, there was essentially no destination for them beyond their currently existing bowl games, or the playoff, should they somehow find themselves in the Top Four. They were shut out of the Champions Bowl by the Big 12 and SEC. Shut out of the Rose Bowl by the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Shut out of the Orange Bowl by the ACC, the SEC and the Big Ten.
Well, if this deal comes to fruition, now those leagues have a home. Kudos to Mike Aresco, the new Big East commissioner, are in order, as the Associated Press reports:
The person with direct knowledge of the plan said new Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco spearheaded the push for the addition of a seventh game to be added to the system, and presented a plan for the highest-rated champion from the other five conferences to be assured a spot in the game.
With the Big East adding teams from west of the Mississippi, this bowl has a base to draw from for their league. By including the other, less than power-playing conferences, the group has helped eliminate the possibility of them all being shut out.
Thanks to the additions and the existing teams, such as Louisville and Cincinnati, the Big East is the favorite to head to this game. However, should the conference struggle, or a true contender rise up from the MAC, MWC, C-USA or Sun Belt, they too can be rewarded.
This is one of the rare occasions where all parties involved come out happy. For the two power conferences, they just added to their bottom line. If you're the Big East, they have elbowed their way into the party—and brought the rest of the guys who would have been left out with them.