Blog Entry

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

Posted on: September 7, 2011 6:56 pm
If the Big 12 implodes next season by Texas A&M leaving for the SEC and more Big 12 teams leaving for other leagues, it would open up a BCSbowl spot for an at-large team but also would have an even greater impact on the bowl system.

"If the Big 12 isn't around next year, I can sum up the bowl system in one word: chaos," a college football industry source told

The Fiesta Bowl gets the Big 12 champion, if it doesn’t finish among the top two in the final BCS standings, as its "anchor" team. However without a Big 12 Conference, the Fiesta would be left to choose two at-large teams.

But it wouldn't be that simple. A major question would be when would the Fiesta Bowl get its first pick of at-large teams? The BCS by-laws are currently set up so that the five bowls – BCS, Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar – have a set rotation each year to fill their bowls. Without a Big 12 champion would the Fiesta Bowl get the first at-large pick overall or have to wait until the last pick?

Bowl sources said that could be a major issue since the BCS certainly couldn’t have predicted the Big 12 might not be around when the current BCS contract expires after the January 2014 games.

“We’re in close contact with our partners and are monitoring developments,” a Fiesta Bowl spokesperson said Wednesday. “We are not going to speculate on rumors related to the Big 12 Conference or anyone else for that matter.”

BCS executive director Bill Hancock also said Wednesday he does not discuss hypothetical situations.

Also, the BCS bowls can only take two teams from a conference, so that would increase the chances for non-AQ conference teams, such as Boise State, to secure an at-large BCS bowl bid.

A bigger – and more complex – issue that would impact one-fifth of the bowls would be what does the bowls with Big 12 tie-ins do for teams if there is no Big 12?

Besides the Fiesta, the Big 12 bowl lineup is Cotton, Alamo, Insight, Holiday, Texas and Pinstripe.

So the Cotton, instead of pairing the No. 2 team from the Big 12 against the No. 3 pick from the SEC, would have to wait until all of the other remaining bowls with existing contracts with the other 10 conferences choose their teams before it could fill that spot.

“What do you think will happen when [SEC commissioner] Mike Slive’s third-place team doesn’t have a quality opponent,” a source said.

The bowls all have specific contracts indicating a specific pick from a conference to play another specific pick from another conference.

But if that conference is the Big 12 and it doesn’t exist anymore, it would be nullify the bowl agreement and nullify the television contract, a source said.

“You’d be starting over," a source said. "It involves everyone. What are we going to do? Have a draft of teams? ESPN doesn’t want to broadcast Michigan vs. Fresno State, it wants to televise Michigan against a comparable BCS program.”

“If the Big 12 doesn't survive," said a college football industry source, “the bowl system will be a gigantic mess.”


Since: Mar 15, 2010
Posted on: September 26, 2011 10:28 am

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

Got some schools here I am surprised are not being talked about for the Big 12. Also some points.

1: Don't replace, Expand: Look at the proactive ACC going to 14 schools and follow that model. say Mizzou leaves and add 6 teams.

2: considering the picked over land scape, take the hot stock/merger/acquisition approach and build schools in smart markets that will also build the conference long term

3: Teams: I have 8 that would make financial sense and 2 that would keep the conference strong in regional tradition

4: Teams ranked in order:

1. San Diego State: This is a perefect example of a great school, location, market, stadium, facilities, recruiting ground and already a city with Holiday Bowl ties to the Big 12. A destination for any road game for good travel bases. Also this is a school with a base that would raise in passion if they played in a good conference. I still can't believe this school gets no headlines other thatn its region, excluding the Pac-12 that already has that market, the location only makes sense for the Big other BCS conference.

2. BYU: obvious-own network, tradition, Slat Lake and national market for alumns and religion

3. West Virginia: they want out, the market is unappealing, but the mark in that region is and especially with a relevant school looking to get out of the Big East this is a power school that should be in to maintain conference relevancy to counter Iowa St, KSU, and Baylor

4. Louisville: Northern KY and South Ohio market, relevant tradition especially in BasketBall good match with KU...a GREAT football stadium and facilities good market for recruiting..keep close to WV for regional tie in

5: University of South Florida: recruiting market and presence...not sexy now but like SDSU this is a school that could rise rapidly in a great conference and also a great addition to say an eastern conference with already relevant Louisville and WV..a penny stock that could pay off huge with the conference to back it

6. Cinncinati? well we start to dip a little regionally with already going after Louisville who also has that market, but you even solidify it more there and add to an Eastern conference of USF, WVU, and Louisville...Great BBall tradition, great market, good recruiting, good facilities, great passion in the region if in a great conference.

7. TCU! surprisingly low I know, but again how much do you gain when your entire conference footprint is already here..this is only a power add for a great football school to boost the stregth of the conference.

8. Memphis: not sexy unless Calipari is still coaching hoops, the potential market is intriguing, also a good add for the East plenty of potential to be relevant for the conference..great hoops tradition...they do Care about football in Memphis as well.

9. Central Florida: see USF, but less sexy

10. Houston: if we werent talking dollars this move makes perfect sense but since we are this adds no new revenue but only a school with potential to be really great in the right conference..already better or eaqual to ISU, Baylor, and KSU in relevance.

*11. UNLV: intriguing market and BBall school, but culturaly Vegas would never match with the Big 12 region

5:So waht do we have here?

1. Pre-Big 12 and BCS tie-ins, TTech, Baylor, ISU and KSU could just have easily been mid-majors and some would argue with the exception of KSU and TTech could still be...but their profiles have been rasied in the right conference to build them.

2. The football traditions would rapidly rise in this conference with all the tools at the disposal of the football tradiition rich Big 12 playing your conference championships in Jerry World would only help nationaly.

3. These schools need the big 12 1-5 just as much as the Big 12 needs them. This means? Texas and OU can still get thier way in the conference while these other schools reap the rewards of raising their own profile long term.

4. You may have a basketball conference to finally rival the ACC or at least be the second best

5 after a half decade or so, with the right leadership and vision this could be the highest paid TV conference due to its national market affiliations

Food for thought: think bigger than 12 and bigger than the Southern plains to save your conference long term

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: September 17, 2011 2:22 pm

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

The bowl system is already a mess... it's unfair, based on ratings and not rankings. How about a F*cking playoff system already! Christ! The entire nation has been begging for a playoff for years!!!

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: September 10, 2011 2:59 am

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

If the Big 12 doesn't survive," said a college football industry source, “the bowl system will be a gigantic mess.”
 Good. It's about time to blow up the NCAA's joke system. Only one bowl truly counts and the other 30+ are basically nice little rewards, aka a NIT type game with more money involved. It's time to end the charade and create a playoff which involves the SEC, Big 10, Pac-12, ACC, Big East and Big 12(if it's still around). Start it out as an 8 team playoff, then increase it to 16 as the format expands with TV rights and schedules being adjusted. Keep the minor bowls as an NIT type reward.

This can be done quite simply. You eliminate the idiotic "cupcake" games we see throughout the year, especially week #1. No playing FCS teams either. Play your conference schedule early on keeping out of league rivalry games in tact as much a possible. Have every league have a championship game and those teams gain automatic bids, then 2-3(depends on Big 12's status) selected by ranking(BCS-type formula). Start playing the playoff immediately after those games and have the title game in early January. You can use the major Bowls(Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose) as Semi-Final games. That way they're all equal in value in terms of importance. Have a Final 4 in a rotating city. Then the BCS title game could be played at yet another site. This would generate revenue in 6 cities. 4 for the major bowls and 2 for the semi-final and title games. Have the quarter final played at the home of the higher seed. Then they get another game they've earned through their regular season excellence. Seed them according to a BCS-type formula.

I don't want to hear about finals and potential academic conflicts. Let's be honest, with the exception of the military academies and a handful of FBS schools(eg Duke, Stanford, Notre Dame), few truly care about academics. Most schools are well under 50% in real graduation rates. Those schools recruit athletes, not student-athletes.

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 9, 2011 3:55 pm

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes


I was opposed to super-conferences for one of the reasons you just mentioned - scheduling problems.  So let me quickly outline the thing that changed my mind.  Maybe it would aleviate your concerns, maybe not, but here it is.

With two eight-team divisions, each team plays seven division games.  That leaves two options.  Option 1 is to play half of the non-division teams.  The benefit to this plan is that you get to play every team in the conference every-other year.  That's enough to preserve rivalries.  You also visit every location once every four years.  That's enough to preserve recruiting.  The down-side is that it takes four games to get through half of the other division.  Add that to the seven in your own division and you're already at eleven games.  That's too much.  The outsiders like Boise would never play a meaningful game non-conference game again, and you'd never see LSU vs. Oregon or Texas vs. Ohio State again.  You might even kill major rivalries like Florida State vs Florida (if FSU stays in the ACC), or Florida State vs Miami (if FSU goes to the SEC, but Miami stays in the ACC).

Option 2 is to play one quarter of the non-division teams.  The benefit is non-division rivalries and scheduling flexibility, because it only requires nine games.  The negative is that you only play non-division opponents once every four years, and at each location once every eight years.  So recruiting and conference rivalries disappear.  At that point, what's the point of having a rivalry?

By the way, some people are talking about twenty-team conferences or fourteen-team conferences, both of which are bad for the same reasons.  Fourteen teams requires six conference games and three non-division games one year and four the next, for nine and ten games.  Twenty teams requires you to give up the notion of playing anyone from the opposite division in the regular season.

But four four-team divisions solves all these problems.  You play three division games and two games from each of the other three divisions for a total of nine games.  That is the same number of games as the Pac-10, the Pac-12, and the new Big-12, and one more than everyone else.  To my knowlege, every conference has in the recent past, and currently has either eight or nine conference games.  Nine is manageble; eleven is not.

Of course, one team in eight adds a game because it plays a semi-final game before the conference championship.  So the two teams that play in the national championship play three division games, six non-division games, a semi-final, a conference championship, a bowl game, and a national championship game.  That's a total of thirteen games, which is a lot.  But the current system already requires fourteen games for the BCS champions.  So we could have this system and one non-conference game for every team without adding a single game to the schedule, or in other words, and more importantly, without encroaching a single extra week into the spring semester.

So should we really cut out every non-conference game but one?  No.  What we should do is cut every pre-set, school controlled, non-conference game but one.  Then, those teams that don't win their division, and as such aren't playing a semi-final, a conference championship, or the national championship game, will have room for three extra games.  Those would be scheduled to coincide with the semi-final and conference championship weeks (plus a pre-semi-final bye week for division winners).  This gets pretty nitty-gritty, but I've worked it out on excel (lots of time on my hands while I wait to start my new job on the 19th).

So in this system, two teams play fourteen games, and sixty-six teams play thirteen games, and fifty-six teams play twelve games.  And still, every team can control one non-conference game, and gets three non-conference games.  Plus, all 124 FBS teams have a way to automatically qualify for a BCS bowl, although only 64 could automatically qualify for the BCS championship game.

Oh, and this system completely eliminates polls and computers.  They can still do whatever they want to do, but it won't affect the game. 

Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: September 9, 2011 3:10 pm

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

John, If your Plan goes forward and yes we have a playoff then great. you may see the Big 12 go under, but I think if they go to Super conferences, fans will lose interest. as it is right now, we have top teams that do not play each other in reg season in the same conference!  what happens when Ohio St. does not play Michigan or Alabama does not play Auburn! right now only one conference is in trouble. IF The NCAA has to step in and police conferences for breaking rules than so be it How come I don't hear from the Big Ten, for what Ohio ST. did or the ACC for both No Carolina and Miami if the conferences do not punish schools for violations then the NCAA has to. All conference care about is how much money there going to get. I really don't know why the conference care on what BCS bowl they go to, I think they all pay the same  

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 9, 2011 2:40 pm

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes


Yes, I'm dreaming, but so are you.  Maybe my dream is much less simple and elegant, for sure, but not necessarily less likely.  I would argue that the likelihood for much of my plan is greater than the likelihood for your plan, and here's why.

First off, the conferences have power.  Your plan disregards that.  Could you address the issue?  Second, your plan empowers the NCAA.  Are we sure they actually want that power?  It seems to me that they are basically interested in one thing, ensuring that college athletes remain unpaid.  Any extra battles they choose limits their abillity to fight that one.

On the other hand, we are possibly on the precipice of an era of four super-conferences.  If that happens, then college football could go in a few different ways.  Most are very, very bad for fans.  The four-team division model is by far the best.  It changed me from an opponent of super-conferences to an advocate of them.  

And these discussions aren't useless.  They are helping to shape the discussion.  If you read carefully, you can see that these ideas being hashed out here are working their way up to the conference and university presidents.  Even the boosters seem to eventually hear these ideas.

Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: September 9, 2011 1:32 pm

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

John, do not take this personality, I know you put alot of thought into this,  and your presentation was outstanding, BUT you are living in make believe land  there is no playoff for college football,  after a 12 game season, and maybe a conference championship game, it sets you up for a bowl game,(not make believe)  and if your lucky a big bowl game with national championship ramifications. all I am suggesting, is they tweek the current system by dropping conference tie in's, so we get the best bowl match ups. right now a conferences are allowed 2 teams to get BCS bids, which I think is wrong, the top ten teams in the country should get the 5 BCS bids, even if it means rematches of games played earlier in the season.

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 9, 2011 12:54 pm

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes


When you say "college football" should control who goes to what games, what do you mean exactly?  Do you think the NCAA should be in control of assigning bowl games?  If so, has the NCAA ever expressed interest in that?  If not, has the idea of been presented to them?  If so, why was it rejected?  Those sorts of details are important, I think.

The biggest problem with a playoff system is that under most models, it lengthens the football season beyond one semester.  Another major problem is that under most models, it threatens the bowl system, or more precisely, it threatens the tradition and money involved in the bowl system.  A super-conference playoff that uses the bowls, and then has a "plus one" championship game addresses those two main problems.

But you're right, there is another problem, the problem of the undefeated season.  One of the best aspects of college football is the quest for the undefeated season.  In most years, one team and only one team ends up with an undefeated season.  The fact that is so when college football is a bunch of regional rivalries, monied interests, and traditions all cobled together chaotically is something of a minor miracle.  Sometimes, and indeed, frequently, we are left without a miracle and it doesn't happen.  But if you have to err on one side or the other, you err on the side of having zero undefeated teams rather than multiple such teams.  When an undefeated BYU played in the Cotton Bowl, or the recent string of undefeated Utah, Boise, and TCU teams who were shut out of the BCS title games, college football looked pretty unfair.  But to businesspeople, it looked like hundreds of millions of dollars left on the table.  Unfortunately, national championship games cannot be thrown together at the last minute "if there are any undefeated teams and there is some question who's #1," nor can they be cancelled last minute if the bowl season removes all doubts.  These are major, major events that require years of planning.

But controversial finishes isn't the only dark side in the quest for the undefeated season.  There is also the cupcake schedule.  Case in point, Florida.  In any two-year span, Florida will play eight non-conference games.  Seven of the eight will be played at home, and six of the eight will be played against teams with no real chance of winning.  Under a system based around the quest for the undefeated season, this is the formula for success, and it has worked repeatedly for Florida.

All of that said, I think there is too much emphasis in sports on playoff systems.  They reward teams who are playing well at the end of the season rather than the best team over the course of the season.  I wish MLB would eliminate the division series, go back to two divisions and only have LCSs and the WS.  But that said, in a season as short as college football, and with as many teams as college football has, a playoff is the only way to be sure that you don't end up with multiple undefeated teams.  As such, we should have one if it can be done right and it is very short.  What I am proposing is a two-round playoff of conference champions, for a total of three games instead of two games.  In order to win under my system, you have to win your division, and then win four games in a row.  Given that the three division games will be the last games of the regular season, many division winners will win two or three straight games before the conference semi-finals.  And teams strong enough to make it to the national championship game will likely have undefeated or near undefeated seasons.

So at the end of the day, I still have to support the idea of a playoff, an idea I vehemently disagreed with until about 10 days ago when I finally found/worked out a model that made sense.  I could change my mind again if I were presented with something compelling, but that hasn't happened yet.


Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: September 9, 2011 11:59 am

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes

John, I am sure your a nice guy, but your systems has flaws. you have to get rid of Conference tie in's for Bowl games! right now college football has bowl games, not a playoff system, college football should control who goes to what bowl, not the BIG 10 or the PAC 12! again with your system a 12 and 0 team can play a 8 and 4 team  the best bowl match ups are 1 vs 2 and 3 vs 4  and so on, it would have been nice to see Stanford Play Oklahoma or TCU  in the Rose Bowl or fiesta bowl last year I think that may have been 3 vs 4 not sure. I think after the bowl season, then if there are any undefeated teams and there is some question who's #1 then play another game. guys just a thought, just looking for the best bowl match ups, and with conference tie in's you don't get them.  

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 9, 2011 11:32 am

Bowl system will be "chaos" if Big 12 implodes


I like your plan because it gives access to 96 teams instead of 64, and because twelve-team conferences can reach a champion in nine games, accomplishes its goal without adding extra weeks to the season.  But I see some problems.  First, there is near unanimity right now in college sports that revenue should be equally shared among conference members.  Can you see the number of institutions expanding to 96 under this model?  Revenue aside, isn't your plan a little in the past?  I mean, there's the Pac-12, the Big-10, the SEC, ACC, Big East, and Big XII, so your plan would require two additional conferences.  If the Mountain West Conference included Utah, TCU, BYU, and Boise, then I could see them being the seventh, but Utah and TCU would not go back, even for AQ status, to a small revenue conference.  And what about the eighth conference?  Who do you propose?  

I guess I'm asking you to get down in the mud a little bit more and tell me how these eight conferences would work.   

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