Blog Entry

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm

There is growing support toward eliminating automatic qualifier status in the next evolution of college football’s postseason according to Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

The concept has been discussed informally among the game’s power brokers and would represent a fundamental shift in the way the sport’s postseason is administrated. Neinas supports the change because he said eliminating the so-called “AQ” status would slow or stop conference realignment.

“I think there is growing sentiment to eliminate the automatic qualification part of the BCS,” Neinas told this week. “You can see what’s happening. They [conferences] are gerrymandering all over the place under the intent to maintain an automatic qualification. History has shown you don’t need that if you are qualified.”

Removing AQ status would, in part, continue to benefit the power conferences who are currently bound by a two-team limit in the BCS. But it would also allow so-called non-AQs a more consistent, fair entry into the BCS. No changes would take effect until the 2014 season.

There are currently 10 slots among the five BCS bowls. One discussed configuration would allow the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings at the end of the season to play in BCS bowls no matter what conference affiliation. For example, if the Big Ten or SEC had three or more teams in the top 10, all those schools would get BCS bowls.

It’s not clear what the Rose Bowl’s stance is on the issue. It is known the Rose wants to keep its Pac-12-Big Ten game as often as possible. Eliminating AQ status may be the interim step between the BCS and a playoff. Various officials from four of the six BCS leagues have been in favor of at least a plus-one model at one time or another in the last three years.

The changes supported by Neinas wouldn’t occur until after the 2014 bowls when the current BCS deal expires with ESPN. Commissioners and ADs will discuss the changes as part of their next BCS meeting Monday in San Francisco.

“I imagine it will be one of many things they will be talking about," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "It’s really premature to speculate about what the group might do."

The game’s administrators will have to have a new model going forward when ESPN reaches its exclusive negotiating window in October.

It’s not clear how much support there among commissioners. It would seem that at least the ACC and Big East would be against change. The ACC champion has finished out of the top 10 three of the last four seasons. Both leagues failed to have a team in the top 10 team at the end of last season.

It’s also not clear how money would be divided. Currently, 85 percent of the BCS bowl take is divided among the six power conferences. Last year approximately $200 million was made off the BCS bowls. If one of the six major conferences is not guaranteed a BCS bowl that could change the distribution model and potentially be a deal breaker.

Those six power conference champions – SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten – are guaranteed a BCS bowl. The champions of the five non-AQ leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – are not. The best schools in those leagues must meet a set of benchmarks to get in.

Using the final 2010 standings as example going forward, the Big East (UConn, out of the BCS top 25) and ACC (Virginia Tech, No. 13) would not have had a BCS team because those conferences champions finished out of the top 10. The Big Ten would have had three teams – Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.

In that configuration schools like Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008), Boise State (2008, 2010), Iowa (2009), Georgia Tech (2009) and Michigan State (2010) would have made BCS bowls simply by finishing in the top 10.

To date the Big Ten has played in the most BCS bowls, 23. The SEC is second with 21.

Neinas said he senses support for the change among his peers. The scramble for automatic qualification has affected three of the six BCS leagues just in the last couple of months. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12, in part fearing instability in the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Big East is trying to reconstitute itself to be a BCS league going forward.

Commissioners will have to decide if the Big East even merits AQ status if the system remains the same. It currently has that status because of a waiver granted by BCS commissioners in 2008.

“You can make it on your merit without having to be in an automatic qualifying situation,” Neinas said. “That would solve some problems here with people just scrambling because they think they have to take in certain institutions. Let’s eliminate automatic qualification. If you merit it, you’re in …

“The point is, then you wouldn’t have this effort to cobble together a conference for the purpose of automatic qualification.”

Neinas also said he senses “strong sentiment” for conferences to remain with current membership until 2013. That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

The Big 12 is in a state flux with its television partners (ESPN, Fox) because it needs at least 10 members in 2012 for its payout not to be affected, Neinas said.

“We have to provide inventory to our TV partners and also we have some bowl partners,” he said. “Of course the major problem is scheduling.”

West Virginia has been sued by the Big East to fulfill its obligation to give 27 months notice before leaving the league. Big 12 sources are upset that Missouri intends to leave by July 1, 2012. Neinas remarked that it was “awful short notice” by the school.

Both Texas A&M and Missouri are still haggling with the Big 12 over exit fees owed to the conference. Those fees could range from $15 million-$30 million per school according to reports.

If both Missouri and West Virginia aren’t in the league in 2012, that would leave only nine members. With only nine members, each Big 12 team would have to find another non-conference game on short notice for 2012.

Asked if he expected Missouri to be in the league next year, Neinas said, “That would be nice, sure. Is that possible? I don’t know.”

He was then asked if there is any sentiment within the league for legal action against Missouri, Neinas said, “I don’t’ think I’ll comment on that.”


Since: Nov 9, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:56 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

@LSUTiger1978: not sure why a judge would say "Big East, you have in effect accepted the thress as leaving, and thus they can leave when they want", when the Big East bylaws say: "Big East accepts that Syracuse, Pitt, WVU are leaving in 27 mos"  The BE invites for other teams have no bearing on the obligations of Syracuse, Pitt, and WVU.  In fact, Syracuse and Pitt have already accepted this.

Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:47 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

I stated earlier that there was momentum building towards this.

On the surface, it allows the big conferences to say "Look, you can't possibly sue us now, we got rid of the whole AQ issue. Now everyone has the same chance." 

It will be very interesting to see how they handle the BCS payout.  For instance, if a CUSA team were to make it into a BCS bowl, would they get the same $$$ that a Pac-12 team would get?  Or if an ACC or Big East team gets shut out of a BCS bowl, how does that work?

I can just imagine Swofford saying "Hey wait a second...let's think about this a little more carefully."

Since: May 5, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:33 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

just my opinion but

Pitt, Syracuse and WVA have all stated their intent to leave their marriage to the "other" Big East schools

The Big East is saying "sorry but you can't leave for 27 months."

But the Big East is negotiating with other women, er teams, to replace the three leaving.

And they are not including the three leaving in the discussions.

so a judge will say, "Big East, you have in effect accepted the three as leaving and thus they can leave when they want"

Now, The Big 12 has already said they will be fine without Missou and aTm. 

They too have accepted the divorce.

Everybody just needs to say goodbye to those leaving


say hello to those coming

and let the schedulers begin making schedules...

Since: Nov 1, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:24 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Also, I think plus-1 is the way to go.  No one complains (much) if #5 doesn't get a shot at the title.

Since: Nov 1, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:20 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Why not just have a trap door?  Say if your conference fails to field a top 15 team, then you are trap-doored out of the BCS that year, and that slot goes to an at-large.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:12 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

It seems to me the timing of these comments are both suspect and telling.  First, most of the realignment took place with an eye towrds TV money, not AQ status.  The only conference realignment involving AQ status is the BE.  So Neinas' comments are all directly aimed at the BE and have nothing to do with realignment in the general sense.  (Not sure how you miss that obvious point, Dodd.)

The BE is currently holding WVU to its 27 month commitment.  It sure seems like the BE is in a strong position to win that litigation.  The Big 12 is not happy about it.  Missouri wants to leave prior July 2012.  The Big 12 is not happy about that either.  The Big 12 is obviously not happy about the prospect of only having 9 teams for the 2012 season.

Add all this up and it certainly appears like Neinas' comment to the BE is stop messing with our 2012 season or we will make sure you lose your AQ status and any chance of reforming your league, let alone ever sending a team to another BCS bowl. 

Since: Sep 25, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:59 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

At least some one is talking something other than Penn State on CBS today.  Once the fur settles on the B12 and Big East issues with WVU and Missouri  and Texas A+M  we will see where the ball stops rolling.  I sense that the Big 12, Big 10, ACC , SEC and Pac 12 become 5 16 team conferences in the next 4-6 years and the AQ status will allow the Universities not in the AQ conferences to get a shot to play.  THis is all about ESPN, money and TV rights.  No one expects Missouri to be a logical fit in the SEC anymore than West Virginia in the Big 12.  The NCAA slogan seems like it is going to be  "If you cant run with the Big Dogs, dont bother".

Since: Nov 9, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:59 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Wait... That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

Syracuse and Pitt are in the Big East right now... so does that mean that the cut off date for "remaining" in their "current" conference is some arbitrary date in the middle of September between the Syracuse/Pitt declaration and the A&M SEC declaration, never mind the fact that 'Cuse and Pitt won't officially join the ACC until AFTER these other teams join their new conferences? TCU is in the MWC "currently"? What does it all mean?

Oh... it most likely means that these Dodds and Neinas are morons and have no clue what they are talking about.

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:58 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Biggdaddy, I don't agree that it will NEVER happen.  It may not happen for a very long time, but it could, and should happen.  Division 1 college football is the only football that has no playoffs.  High School, Division 2, NFL, they all have playoffs.  Sooner or later the NCAA will come around.

I'm just spit ballin' here but let's think about basketball for a minute.  There is THE tournament and then there is the NIT for worthy teams that didn't make the final cut.  I think it would be interesting to see something similar in College football.  There could be the BCS bowl games, and there could be a playoff tournament involving worthy schools who were left out.  You never know, it could be the start of something big.

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:54 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Taking the top 10 won't work!!!  Particularly when many coaches, have assistants or others vote for them.  Also, can you imagine the politics of who voted for who and did you or did you not vote for a fellow conference member to make it into the top 10.  I think this is just Neinas rambling to ramble. 

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