“Be careful what you wish for.”

Dennis Dodd has glommed onto what Jim Delany’s been after ever since Karl Benson got uppity with him.

Considering that TCU is now in the Big 12, no current non-BCS school has finished in that top four which figures to be the cutoff for the playoff beginning in 2014.

The growing realization is that access to the sport’s new postseason will be worse for the have-nots. Worse, meaning the six power conferences are now down to five, at most, thanks to Big East realignment. Worse for those suddenly finding themselves outside of what is increasingly being referred to as the Big Four: Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten. Teams from those leagues have won championships in 16 of the past 18 years.

Worse, meaning thanks to realignment two of those five schools — TCU and Utah — have moved up to power conferences.

Worse, in that it looks like for the first time since 1994, Notre Dame won’t have at least de facto automatic access to a major bowl. Four years before the BCS was born, the Irish got into the 1994 Fiesta Bowl at 6-4-1. No more it would seem. Unless something drastic happens, Notre Dame is going to have the same access to the playoff as … Army.

Good luck figuring this all out before the June 26 BCS presidential oversight committee meeting in Washington, D.C. That meeting could produce a playoff model — but don’t hold your breath.

“If they walk out of there and they only agree to a top-four playoff,” said one source familiar with the discussions. “The [overall] access point is going to be worse.”

In essence, there were will more, weaker non-BCS schools in future despite the assumed quality developed by the elimination of automatic qualifying conferences…

In the land of the no-longer AQ status, the teams with drawing power are kings.  Craig Thompson knew that, which is why he pushed so hard to have his Mountain West Conference attain AQ status.  Problem is, the facts on the ground have abandoned him and his quest.

And if Dodd is correct on the math – “Without signing a document, the split between the haves and have-nots has gone from 66-54 (current BCS/non-BCS structure) to 46-64 (Big Four/everyone else)” – we’re going to see a mad scramble among individual schools outside the Big Four to grab one of the (presumably) eighteen spots that will be available as the upper part of D-1 evolves towards some sort of superconference arrangement.  You can look at FSU as the canary in the coal mine as to that.

Somewhere, Jim Delany is trying to keep that smirk off his face.

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18 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

18 responses to ““Be careful what you wish for.”

  1. Spreerex

    I know he was using “worse” in context, but this still sticks in my craw:

    “Worse, in that it looks like for the first time since 1994, Notre Dame won’t have at least de facto automatic access to a major bowl. Four years before the BCS was born, the Irish got into the 1994 Fiesta Bowl at 6-4-1. No more it would seem. ”

    6-4-1 Notre Dame not getting into huge bowl games for no reason just seems “better” to me regardless of context.

    • Just reaffirms my point that while a playoff is about settling it on the field for many fans, it’s about settling it in the pocketbook for schools and conferences.

      • Macallanlover

        No reason those two viewpoints need be mutually exclusive. Fans can be happy and have a worthy champion that earned the title, and the money can flow to the schools/conferences. Four just isn’t going to satisfy anyone, just too exclusive.

        I know we will never satisfy 100% because of the wimps among us until we include every single team (can’t we all get along, kumbayah, blah, blah) but we could satisfy 95%+ by providing representation of all worthy contenders. Eight is the number, not four. Why take a half step and leave yourself open for the inevitable (legit) criticism? Moving to four may be an improvement but it leaves large geographies without a seat at the table. The timetable works for 8 teams, but no more…and there is no need for more when you can have all the major conference champs included, and a couple of wild cards who could be “Cinderellas”, or a one loss runner-up. This would make the regular season mean something, for a change. Top 8 is elite; and exclusive enough while being inclusive.

        • It’s not that they’re mutually exclusive. It’s that the schools and conferences don’t give a shit if they are.

          • Macallanlover

            I don’t disagree, just feel there is common ground here and wish someone would grab that ring.

        • The top 8 is not the same as having all major conference champs included… unless you are insinuating the big four are the major conferences, and the ACC is left out except for an at-large bid. The ACC champion last year – Clemson – finished the regular season at #15 in the BCS and #14 in both polls. Last year, the SEC had three teams in the top 8.

          • Macallanlover

            Didn’t mean “Top 8″ literally, meant the 6 major conference winners plus the next two highest rated teams, wherever they come from. This gives everyone a shot, and perhaps a couple who don’t, but no one has a right to complain and say they were excluded. Last year would have meant Bama and TCU, I think. But in some years that might mean Oregon and ND, or Navy. Eight teams out of 120 is damned exclusive, but leaves the door open to all.

        • Macallanlover

          BTW, that includes the whiny ND types, as well as other mid-majors. No reason to exclude those who have that great season just because of prior decisions on conference. I am pleased there are no “special” entitlements being given, but excluding any legit team having a breakout year is still wrong. Eight allows anyone with earned credentials, and would encourage those outside the power conferences to schedule tough games to prove their worthiness every year. (ND needs to play more than USC and Meechigan if they want to ensure they have everyone’s respect. Add a Texas, UGA, LSU, etc. every year, or risk being left out.) That is good for CFB.

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            And the competition for 8 would be sufficient to make scheduling Boise or a team like Boise sheer stupidity. Everyone assumes that an 8 team format opens scheduling up. No, it closes scheduling down.

            It wouldn’t enhance your TV money (locked in by conference contract). Worse, if you lose the game, you run the real risk of losing that second conference entry into the 8 team field. If ML’s division winner-only, 8 team format universe had been in existence last year, Georgia without Boise on their schedule is probably in an 8 team field.

            Plus, the reality of a 4 game post-season (conference championship, plus 3 rounds of playoffs) makes those season-openers disappear – or at least more Tennessee-NC State type games rather than Alabama-Michigan or Georgia-Boise.

            So, these types of games become a losing proposition for the major conference power all the way around – all risk, very little reward. No AD in their right mind is going to schedule stiff out of conference games when your only real shot at a playoff is winning your conference.

            • Macallanlover

              Can’t argue the schedule ducking about CFB, the ADs and coaches have turned into wimps, and the fans are letting them get away with it. Maybe if spots were lost every year or two to one of the “outsiders” it would move some ADs to improve scheduling. Or if the fans voted more with their pocketbooks by protesting a home schedule like UGA’s.

              I see your point, but with conference champs getting an automatic entry, who knows, maybe we will see better games if fans apply some pressure. But there are many here that support a whole season of patsies so it will take a long time before we see any relief from McGarity’s approach. The four 16 team super conference idea was our best bet to see better match-ups and a true NC. That idea isn’t dead, but it has lost some steam….I blame Texas. Everything was so close 2 years ago, had they gone to the Big?, the dominoes seemed ready to fall.

    • Sanford222View

      I remember that ND team. I gave 21 points to an Fightin’ Irish Asshat for that bowl game against my Colorado Buffaloes…and covered. Kordell Stewart, Rashan Salaam, and Michael Westbrook took them to the wood shed.

      • Sanford222View

        Actually, he must not have taken the bet because ND covered 21 points. It did end the running of his mouth prior to the game however. Can’t believe he didn’t take 21 points.

  2. Mayor of Dawgtown

    If the top 4 conferences do expand to 16 teams each for a total of 64, each conference having 2 subdivisions, then there likely will be a “playoff” with the first round being the conference championship games. The winners could then play each other in bowls with the top 2 playing in a national championship game. Like it or not, that is where things are headed. The “plus-one” game might occur as a stopgap measure but the above is definitely the end result if things keep progressing the way they are. That’s why Delaney is smirking. He’ll get exactly what he wants. Plus, ND will have to join a conference or else be left out–likely the Big 10 or Big 12.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      P.S. The above is pretty close to the 8 team playoff that Mac is talking about, sans wildcards.

  3. Always Someone Else's Fault

    The more teams you have in the post-season, the less the regular season matters. Casual Fan might be “happier,” but, purely from a selfish standpoint, I’m comfortable saying, “Screw Casual Fan.” Let CF have his NFL fantasy league and Redzone.

    Every fan base has an axe to grind – and it just makes them hungrier for next year. I don’t see Oklahoma State fans tearing up their 2012 season tickets because they think 2011 ended unfairly. As for the smaller schools, they can build their programs the way all the current powerhouses did – from the ground up, over decades. Cobbling together 12 schools and scheduling a conference championship game should not be an automatic ticket to anything.

    I remain hopeful that Slive, Scott and Delany end up in a stare-down over playoffs for the foreseeable future. Gridlock can be a good thing.

    • The more teams you have in the post-season, the less the regular season matters. Casual Fan might be “happier,” but, purely from a selfish standpoint, I’m comfortable saying, “Screw Casual Fan.” Let CF have his NFL fantasy league and Redzone. emphasis added is mine

      That’s where the disconnect is with me. I believe the same as you and it definitely is from a purely selfish standpoint. However, the standpoint that we take is the one that made college football so special in the first place. The problem is that Delaney, Slive, and Scott see Casual Fan as the big money maker in TV contracts. Who do you think they’re going to appease to get more money on the next round of TV negotiations?

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        Maybe. I’m convinced that the powers-that-be in both the conferences and the media partners understand that CBB expanded in pursuit of ever-wider viewership until it was no longer appointment-TV. The sport kept “growing” until every Tom, Dick, and Harry had a D1 program, and no one had a reason to tune in until March. Everything we’re seeing so far, including conference consolidation, seems to running directly opposite the CBB model. I am not saying they won’t miss their mark or won’t find a new way to screw this thing up, but I do remain hopeful that they get this right in the long run.

  4. DawgPhan

    what I dont understand is top 4 teams is pretty clear cut. BCS formula rates the teams and the top 4 make the playoff…why they insist on creating the rube goldberg playoff picking system is beyond me.