One of the more controversial topics in college football—the clause that puts a non-BCS conference team in the Rose Bowl if one of the bowl's league champions goes to the National Championship Game—just got more controversial.
At Pac-10 Media Day, I had the chance to talk to David Davis, former President of the Tournament of Roses ('04-'05), who clarified that "clause."
First of all, that clause has been around "for awhile," and that it was only recently publicized. Moreover, every BCS Bowl "will eventually" have the same clause as the one currently used for the Rose Bowl.
It makes sense, if you think about it. Kevin Ash, Chief Administrative Officer for the Rose Bowl Game explained the clause this way:
Starting in the 2011 game, the Rose Bowl will receive a non-BCS team if the following criteria is met—First, the Rose Bowl would have to lose one of its anchor conference teams to the NCG, and a non-BCS team would have to be BCS eligible—if this occurs, then the highest ranked BCS team would play in our game, in the first year that this happens. Once the Rose Bowl has hosted a non-BCS team, we have fulfilled our commitment for the four year BCS cycle.
The other three BCS bowls do not have this clause in their agreement, because they do not have two anchor conferences—Due to the fact that each has one open team slot, in addition to the rotation team selection process, the other three teams have all hosted a non-BCS team in their game.
The clause can currently only be put into effect every four years in the Rose Bowl, which allows each future BCS Bowl to take its turn in possibly hosting a non-BCS Conference team such as Utah or Central Michigan. Read that again.
So in a few years, we may see another Utah vs. Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, but this time it will be mandated, not an arbitrary decision. Fans of other conferences should be pretty thrilled since the BCS is steadfast in denying non-BCS conference teams equal access to the BCS Bowls.
Still, some questions linger about what the procedure for selecting a non-BCS conference team is when certain scenarios come up.
What happens if both the Pac-10 and Big Ten champs go to the National Championship game?
Kevin Ash says, "It is our (Pasadena Tournament of Roses Administration) choice—there are no rules written on who we select." What does that mean? The Tournament can either replace both champions with two more league teams, replace only one league team, or, choose to go to two other conferences completely.
If there is more than one non-BCS conference team eligible the Rose Bowl, who gets picked?
"The highest ranked team gets an automatic selection to our game," according to Ash.
While Rose Bowl traditionalists may not like the selection procedures, they may be comforted in knowing that eventually, all BCS Bowls will have this clause—the only difference is that the other BCS Bowls won't lose their conference champ while the Rose Bowl will lose one.
And the "little guys' won't have an inferiority complex anymore.