The BCS and member schools are in the process of renewing their contract as the current one expires after the 2010 season. The AJC is reporting a slight change to the Rose Bowl selection process:
In past contracts if the Rose Bowl lost one of its traditional partners, the Big Ten or Pac-10 champ, to the BCS championship game, it could simply fill with another Big Ten or Pac-10 team that qualified. That's how a 9-3 Illinois team got to Pasadena two years ago.
Short break here to beat a tired drum. Teams that had a realistic shot at that spot, all records and rankings as of the time bowl selections were being made:
|Team||AP Rank||Record||Best Win|
|Arizona St.||#12||10-2||vs NR Oregon St. (9-4)|
|Illinois||#13||9-3||@ #1 Ohio State (11-1)|
|Boston College||#14||9-3||@ #5 Virginia Tech (11-2|
|Clemson||#15||9-3||vs NR Wake Forest (8-4)|
And 'realistic' is a stretch here. They aren't going to pick Arizona St. to play another Pac-10 team in the Rose Bowl, obviously, and Clemson is DQ'd on account of losing to both BC and VT. So that really leaves just Illinois and BC, both with the same record. Illinois had a better 'best win' and is a Big Ten member; why does their inclusion is this game routinely get treated like some type of scam?
But in the new contract, I'm told, there is an interesting clause: The first time in the deal that the Rose loses one of its champions to the BCS title game, that opening will be automatically filled by a Coalition (non-BCS conference) team if one has qualified.
For example: Let's say Southern Cal wins the Pac-10 and qualifies for the BCS championship game in 2010. And let's say Utah or Boise State goes undefeated again the wins the Mountain West or WAC. That team, if it doesn't get into the big game, would automatically go to the Rose, where no Coalition team has played before.
So it would be just once, not perpetually, and is triggered only if the two conditions are met in the same year, which might not actually happen.
He goes on...
What's the significance of this, you ask? It is another way that the BCS is increasing access of the five Coalition conferences to all of the games in system. Should the BCS get sued and hauled back before Congress, it is another way it can counter the claim that the Coalition schools don't have enough access.
This doesn't make any sense.
What the Bloc has been bitching about, and having their congressmen bitch about, is not a lack of inclusion into the BCS games, but into the BCS Championship Game. This does nothing to address that.
All this does, really, is water down the Rose Bowl for the benefit of the other BCS games who, without the Coliseum's help, have been saddled with non-BCS schools since the Series expanded to five games in 2007.
Applied to Rose Bowl games since that happened:
2007: Rose Bowl matches USC vs. Boise State. Michigan is likely shipped to the Fiesta to play Oklahoma.
2008: Rose Bowl matches USC vs. Hawaii. Illinois is likely shipped to the Sugar to play Georgia.
2009: No change.
It has no impact on a Bloc team getting into the MNC, it has no impact on getting more than one Bloc team into a BCS game, and it has almost no impact on the other bowl teams selected with the potential exception being a Pac-10 or Big Ten team could get screwed for local reasons by a non-Rose Bowl selection committee.
So this isn't a concession on the behalf of the BCS, but a concession on behalf of the Rose Bowl. They were given a sweetheart deal to get them on board with the BCS idea in 1998, and it's only 12 years later than they are being forced, for one year anyway, to be a team player.