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Report: Seventh playoff access bowl now likely a no-go

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer
Potential future Big East champions like Rutgers likely won't be guaranteed a spot in the playoff bowl rotation. (US Presswire)

The forthcoming college football playoff bowl rotation likely won't include a seventh game after all.

The AP reported in September -- and Larry Scott himself would later confirm -- that the sport's conference commissioners had discussed creating an additional 'access' bowl for the playoff rotation that would pair the highest-ranked team from the Big East or four "non-AQ" conferences against a team from the Big 12 or Pac-12. But CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported Sept. 25 that television interest in the game would be relatively minimal, with the game valued at only $20 million, just one-quarter of properties like the Rose Bowl and upcoming Champions Bowl.

As a result of that valuation, ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported Wednesday that the game is now unlikely back off the playoff negotating table.

"Three weeks ago it was probably 90-10 [the seventh game would be approved]," a source told McMurphy, "now I would put it at less than 50 percent." Another source said that the new game "is not on the level with the other contract bowls" in terms of financial interest.

The playoff rotation will instead stick with its original plan for six involved bowls--traditional BCS participants Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta, and two additional bowls universally expected to be the Cotton and Chick-Fil-A. The Rose, Champions (whether held at the Sugar or Cotton) and Orange Bowl will fill out their six slots according to their contracts with five power conferences (and Notre Dame), with the playoff's selection committee assigning their highest-rated at-large teams to the six slots available in the Cotton/Sugar, Fiesta, and Chicl-Fil-A.

Though the dissolution of the seventh bowl proposal will be a blow to the Big East and the non-AQ conferences, as long as the selection committee is indeed granted the power to assign the 'access' bowl bids itself, a look at the past BCS standings (or the current ones, where Rutgers, Louisville, and Boise State all have shots at cracking the top 10) suggest the highest-ranked team outside the five "power" conferences will still nab a "Big Six" bid more often than not.

But unlike with the seventh bowl, that big won't be guaranteed--meaning Wednesday's report won't go over well outside the SEC-Big Ten-Pac-12-Big 12-ACC inner circle.

 
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