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.