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: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:47 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Well put.  The problem with this is simply the human factor in the rankings, Also any rankings prior to week 6 need to disappear completely and the pre-season ranking is the dumbest idea ever.  All that is based on is percieved recruits, stats and returning players, versus actual play on the field.  Florida State was a prime example of that this season.  Eliminate the human factors Simply look at win-loss records and the win-loss records of your opponents and let the rankings and numbers play out from there.

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:14 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

I don't care much for AQ status. Its clearly unfair, and under the perfect storm, will cause some legal trouble for the BCS. But just doing away with it only fixes the symptom, not the disease.  The disease(s) hurting football are elitists, that feel their school's history or conference afiliation entitles them to certain bowls and payouts (reguardless of how bad their team may actualy be in a given year) and greed by networks, (ESPN) Athletic Directors, Conference Commissioners, and universties.

What gets lost in the elitism and greed is the one true goal of post-season sports, to find a champion.  The only clear way to determine such, (and its done in nearly every sport locally, in recreation centers, other collegite sports, proffesional sports, international/olympic sports) is a PLAYOFF. 

The funny part is, logically, a playoff, done well, stands to create WAY more money than the current system (imagine ND filling 3 post-season staduims rather than just one). So really the only thing in the way of a playoff, is elitism.  There are those who LOVE the current system because they've gauranteed themselves an annual piece of the $ pie(Think: Iowa st, Washington St., or other AQ conference dwellers).  This of course at the expense of teams that have to overcome unreal obsticales to get ANNUAL money. (I believe BSU has 2 losses in the past 4-5 seasons -thats an unreal expectaion).

But elimnating AQ, and going to a top 10 senario, just narrows the elitism.  We'll end up with big 10, sec, big 12, and pac 12 teams sharing the BCS money nearly every year.  It elimnates the Big East and ACC, given their recent history, from the annual $$$ pie.  and when your outside the $$$, it really takes a miracle (or series of them) for your team to break through (think: hook'n ladder, and statue of liberty Fiesta Bowl win) and build your program.


Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:12 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

In theory this looks good but in practice it will be a sham and worse than the current AQ system.  Case and Point if this system were in place now and the season ended now here is how it would pan out

The SEC would have 3
The Big 12 would have 2
The PAC12 would have 2
The ACC would have 2
The Mountain West would have 1

The problem is that with the vested interest of the human polls this would get ugly very quickly with the requirement to be in the top 10.  Unless they completely eliminate the human factor (no preference automatically given to conference labels).  We have already had a glaring example of that this year with an unranked Auburn team jumping from unranked in week 5 to number 15 in week 6 because of a 3 point victory over South Carolina.  Even some Auburn fans were scratching their heads on that one.  Even though I'm not sold that the computers are the best way to go either at least they would prevent crap like that from happening.  I can see it happening now with the likes of Indiana, Duke, Ole Miss, etc.  all having their coaches give a votes to winning teams in their conferences because they know good and well the more teams they have in there the more cash flow their school recieves simply because they are in the same conference.  As it sits right now only 5 of the 11 leagues would get in under the new system this season.  I can't imagine the Big 10 or the Big East saying "sure we don't want or need a BCS Bowl this season" to say nothing of a C-USA team that is sitting just outside of the top 10 that could go undefeated and still be left out in the cold.

Since: Oct 31, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 1:32 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

What a self serving bunch of bull sh!t from a conference that just did its best to undermine the Big East by poaching TCU and WVU.  The Big 12 is despicable.  How convenient of Commissioner Neinas to suggest this shortly after cutting the Big East's nuts off.  Message to Boise State and BYU, don't worry about your coference affiliation, it won't matter any more (accept for our 10 teams that have a sweetheart deal with ESPN.)  Thats it Chuck, marginalize every other conference to maximize TV revenue potential for the Big 12.  Perhaps this Christian message is appropriate -- Do onto to others as you'd have done to you.

Well here is what the Big East has up it's sleeve and your meddling won't derail it.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 1:01 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Does anyone actually think that his suggestion will chenge anything that much or help the smaller conferences.  Although more teams from smaller conferences may be eligible, for the most part they won't be selected in the top 10 anyway and when a conference can potentaially have 3 or more eligible teams, there may even be fewer slots available.

The power conferences will always garner the big bucks so there will always be motivation for teams in smaller conferences to jump to bigger conferences. 

Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 12:48 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

The hell with tweaking the BCS, let's have a playoff already!!!

Since: Nov 10, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 12:23 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

I personally think if he senses big changes out there, then he better make a move.  Right now the Big East is making a hard push to lock up BYU and Boise State.  The Big 12 can't afford to sit back and let the Big East take them, especially BYU.  BYU travels better than most of the teams in college football and yes that includes your powers.  Infact they played a Boston College team a few years back at Boston College and BYU had more fans than the home team.  The Big 12 needs to stop playing around and make a move and get BYU and Boise Locked up.  BYU has been a top 20 team in football and there basketball has been good as well.  I hope they don't sit back and find themselves on the outside looking in.  I think BYU is the jewel to expansion talks.  They are a money making machine, and if you don't see that you are blind.  They have huge following, and I am talking world following that is growing.  Who cares if they don't play on sunday.  That is why we got the NFL and the NBA "I think".  Big12 stop sitting on your hands and get after it before you lose out.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:34 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

How many Bowls would drop out if this were implemented.  So the Rose Bowl can't automatically take B10-PAC12 champs if not in Championship game?  Orange Bowl can't take ACC champ if they aren't ranked high enough?  It's about the money and some of these Bowls don't want to be stuck with teams that wouldn't fill their stadiums.

Change the BCS to a selection process for just one game, the natinal championship based on how it done now and let the bowls pick whoever they want from there.  Or go to a play-off (which likely whould have AQs)

Since: Oct 6, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:33 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

First sensible thing I've heard about conference realignment...yes, get rid of AQ status. Down with entitlement! Up with America!

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 10:03 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

"....a new model when ESPN reaches it's exclusive negotiating window....."  The window needs to be slammed shut on ESPN.  They are closing in on a monopoly for TV rights to EVERY Bowl game.  Why is the NCAA NOT doing something about this? (Yes, that is a rhetorical question.) 

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