Check out this fascinating little bit of information Barnhart dishes out today at his blog:
Over the course of the week I found out that there is an interesting little nugget in the new BCS contract with ESPN, which will begin after the 2010 regular season.
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.
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. [Emphasis added.]
Yeah, I’d say that’s interesting. It could placate ESPN’s viewers by avoiding a weak matchup (USC vs. Illinois, anyone?) and as Barnhart notes,
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.
What I’d like to know is whether the BCS boys thought this up themselves or whether it was imposed on them by Disney. Because either ESPN/ABC is getting scary enough to threaten the Rose Bowl and pull it off, or the BCS suits are smarter than a lot of people give them credit for.