I’m sure you’ve read the tweets, saw the posts, kept patiently waiting for more … well maybe not quite, but there has been an abundance of action going on in Boise State’s future home: the Big East. All noteworthy information that could very well turn those who felt downtrodden on the conference realignment into more optimistic Big East proponents.
Way back when in September, a seventh bowl game had been introduced to the BCS committee that would allow a team from the Big East/Conference USA/Mountain West/Sun Belt/MAC to compete against a Pac-12/Big 12 opponent that would not be hosting a semi-final game. For those still lost, the post-BCS plan after the 2013-14 season is for a four-team playoff system coupled with the still-current major bowls that had conference tie-ins (Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl).
The smaller guys wanted a piece of the pie. The major conferences and the television networks wanted to dish that piece out, but for the +$20 million dollars in deals for a potential bowl game that wouldn’t generate the ratings the other games would. As of Monday, that piece has finally been dealt … to a degree.
Titled as the Group of Five, those five respective conferences, now have an automatic bid in the top five bowl games. According to a recent Sports Illustrated article, the new postseason format will have its playoff games rotated through six bowl games, where two would be playoff games while the other four would be major bowls. Three of those bowl games are deemed “contract bowls” those bowls that had the conference tie-ins and the other three are “host bowls”.
To clear more of the confusion, the Group of Five would be eligible for the non-contract bowls, or the host bowls, that would rotate between the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The top team from those five conferences is guaranteed to be in one of those three, rather than waiting to be picked as an at-large bid such as in the old BCS format.
Why is this great news? Heightened national attention, better competition and most importantly, money. Sports Business Journal reported that ESPN has been negotiating the television rights for the first 12 years at a price of $7.2 billion. You can bet that if the Broncos make one of those bowls, a nice chunk of cash would be heading their way.
Next, the Big East has announced their new divisions for the 2014 season. Boise State alongside SMU, San Diego State, Houston, Memphis and Temple will occupy the West division. Cincinnati, Rutgers, Louisville, USF, UConn and UCF will hold down the East division. Sure the geographic locations are out of wack, but it sure beats the UNLVs and New Mexicos played on season’s end.
This season may not have turned out entirely ideal, or a step below, but there are greener pastures and brighter futures for Boise State to take on in its shift to the Big East West. Yeah, you’re going to have to get used to that too.