Must be that new math I keep hearing about.

Stewart Mandel blogs about Pac-10 commish Tom Hansen’s threat to take his Rose Bowl ball home if the other kids don’t play nice.

Mandel thinks Hansen’s in a losing position…

So what’s my opinion all this? Well, the traditionalist in me empathizes with Hansen’s protectiveness toward the Rose Bowl and understands why it’s so important to him. But the modern realist in me says — “You’ve got to be kidding, Tom.” Do you really think your members would sign off on a deal that precludes them from playing for the national championship? Their fans would be livid and you’d be run out of town. I love the Rose Bowl, too, but I’m afraid that ship has already sailed.

… and that’s fine.

But there’s one thing in his post I don’t get. In saying that he sees two alternatives in how the Rose Bowl is accomodated, Mandel writes

Either the Rose Bowl factor will prove to be such a significant obstacle that the other BCS conferences will put off reconfiguration until the ABC contract expires. Or, more realistically, the parties will reach some sort of compromise that exempts the Rose Bowl from further dilution. In other words, if the Big Ten or Pac-10 champion is ranked No. 1 or 2, it would still be moved to whatever bowl is hosting the semifinal (which is really no different than today); [Emphasis added.] however, if those teams are No. 3 or 4 (or lower), they’d still play in the Rose Bowl, with the next-rated team moving up to take their spot.

But that’s not right, is it? At present, the Rose Bowl steps aside only for the BCS title game. Under Mandel’s hypothetical, that moves one rung down the ladder, to a lead-in game to the championship. Maybe I’m missing something, but that seems to be a much larger matter than Mandel is making it out to be.

Especially if you’re handing out the checks for the event as ABC and the Rose Bowl do.

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