Blog Entry

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm

There is growing support toward eliminating automatic qualifier status in the next evolution of college football’s postseason according to Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

The concept has been discussed informally among the game’s power brokers and would represent a fundamental shift in the way the sport’s postseason is administrated. Neinas supports the change because he said eliminating the so-called “AQ” status would slow or stop conference realignment.

“I think there is growing sentiment to eliminate the automatic qualification part of the BCS,” Neinas told this week. “You can see what’s happening. They [conferences] are gerrymandering all over the place under the intent to maintain an automatic qualification. History has shown you don’t need that if you are qualified.”

Removing AQ status would, in part, continue to benefit the power conferences who are currently bound by a two-team limit in the BCS. But it would also allow so-called non-AQs a more consistent, fair entry into the BCS. No changes would take effect until the 2014 season.

There are currently 10 slots among the five BCS bowls. One discussed configuration would allow the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings at the end of the season to play in BCS bowls no matter what conference affiliation. For example, if the Big Ten or SEC had three or more teams in the top 10, all those schools would get BCS bowls.

It’s not clear what the Rose Bowl’s stance is on the issue. It is known the Rose wants to keep its Pac-12-Big Ten game as often as possible. Eliminating AQ status may be the interim step between the BCS and a playoff. Various officials from four of the six BCS leagues have been in favor of at least a plus-one model at one time or another in the last three years.

The changes supported by Neinas wouldn’t occur until after the 2014 bowls when the current BCS deal expires with ESPN. Commissioners and ADs will discuss the changes as part of their next BCS meeting Monday in San Francisco.

“I imagine it will be one of many things they will be talking about," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "It’s really premature to speculate about what the group might do."

The game’s administrators will have to have a new model going forward when ESPN reaches its exclusive negotiating window in October.

It’s not clear how much support there among commissioners. It would seem that at least the ACC and Big East would be against change. The ACC champion has finished out of the top 10 three of the last four seasons. Both leagues failed to have a team in the top 10 team at the end of last season.

It’s also not clear how money would be divided. Currently, 85 percent of the BCS bowl take is divided among the six power conferences. Last year approximately $200 million was made off the BCS bowls. If one of the six major conferences is not guaranteed a BCS bowl that could change the distribution model and potentially be a deal breaker.

Those six power conference champions – SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten – are guaranteed a BCS bowl. The champions of the five non-AQ leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – are not. The best schools in those leagues must meet a set of benchmarks to get in.

Using the final 2010 standings as example going forward, the Big East (UConn, out of the BCS top 25) and ACC (Virginia Tech, No. 13) would not have had a BCS team because those conferences champions finished out of the top 10. The Big Ten would have had three teams – Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.

In that configuration schools like Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008), Boise State (2008, 2010), Iowa (2009), Georgia Tech (2009) and Michigan State (2010) would have made BCS bowls simply by finishing in the top 10.

To date the Big Ten has played in the most BCS bowls, 23. The SEC is second with 21.

Neinas said he senses support for the change among his peers. The scramble for automatic qualification has affected three of the six BCS leagues just in the last couple of months. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12, in part fearing instability in the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Big East is trying to reconstitute itself to be a BCS league going forward.

Commissioners will have to decide if the Big East even merits AQ status if the system remains the same. It currently has that status because of a waiver granted by BCS commissioners in 2008.

“You can make it on your merit without having to be in an automatic qualifying situation,” Neinas said. “That would solve some problems here with people just scrambling because they think they have to take in certain institutions. Let’s eliminate automatic qualification. If you merit it, you’re in …

“The point is, then you wouldn’t have this effort to cobble together a conference for the purpose of automatic qualification.”

Neinas also said he senses “strong sentiment” for conferences to remain with current membership until 2013. That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

The Big 12 is in a state flux with its television partners (ESPN, Fox) because it needs at least 10 members in 2012 for its payout not to be affected, Neinas said.

“We have to provide inventory to our TV partners and also we have some bowl partners,” he said. “Of course the major problem is scheduling.”

West Virginia has been sued by the Big East to fulfill its obligation to give 27 months notice before leaving the league. Big 12 sources are upset that Missouri intends to leave by July 1, 2012. Neinas remarked that it was “awful short notice” by the school.

Both Texas A&M and Missouri are still haggling with the Big 12 over exit fees owed to the conference. Those fees could range from $15 million-$30 million per school according to reports.

If both Missouri and West Virginia aren’t in the league in 2012, that would leave only nine members. With only nine members, each Big 12 team would have to find another non-conference game on short notice for 2012.

Asked if he expected Missouri to be in the league next year, Neinas said, “That would be nice, sure. Is that possible? I don’t know.”

He was then asked if there is any sentiment within the league for legal action against Missouri, Neinas said, “I don’t’ think I’ll comment on that.”


Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: November 12, 2011 7:32 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Just a few reflections.  First, no one can be stolen/poached if you want to be in a different conference and that conference wants you - go for it.  Second, however, when you sign an agreement you keep to an agreement and for that reason I hold no fault to TCU, Syracuse or Pittsburgh as each, at least in public, have followed the agreements as it impacted them.  This is about keeping your word and demonstrating what use to be called class.  Finally, college football is a business and Fox (B12), CBS (SEC), NBC (Notre Dame) and ESPN/ABC (all others) have to market their brand (conferences).  The BCS benefits the networks who broadcast the games.  Removing the AQ benefits the haves (Big 10 and SEC) and history (Notre Dame, Texas).  The money (television rights) and relationships (what many here call history/reputation/image) will drive this machine as they drive most other decisions ( the contradictions in the Big12 acting Commish interview makes sense once you factor those two realities into the comments). With that said the Big East needs a new commissioner who appreciates those realities and so do the non BCS football schools in the conference. Just saying. 

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 5:51 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

The problem is the that the Big East now will be much stronger than it was.  Not on the level of the PAC, SEC, B10N or B12 - but certainly better than what it was and at least as good as the ACC.  Probably better.
Please tell me where I can get some of what you've been smoking.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:39 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

I understand 100% I have the same passion. Im a little let down with WVU this year but hey it happens. Id love to see Boise play that game because even though they win against anyone they play they are still a underdog of sorts. Its crazy to lose 4 or 5 games in 5 years and still be considered the underdog. Id just like to see a solution that would be fair for everyone! Who wouldnt want to see a playoff? I cant imagine the heartbreak Boise fans must feel because I know if my Mountaineers were to go undefeated and didnt get to play for NC I would be heartbroken and wouldnt come out of my room for weeks lol. I remember being that heartbroken 2 other times. 1 in the early 80s when we lost to Notre Dame and Major Harris was playing. 2 When we lost to Pitt in a garbage fest of a game about 3 years ago. I feel for them and hope all the stars line up so they can play LSU for NC.

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: November 11, 2011 10:40 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Judge: "WVU, weren't you one of the strongest teams in the Big East?  Wouldn't the Big East have been more stable if you had stayed?  Isn't your departure part of the cause for the conference's instability?"

WVU: "Yes, Your Honor, but..."

Judge: "Get outta here"
Seriously?!?  WVU is leaving BECAUSE of the instability.  No way you can pin this on WVU's shoulders.

Here is my version of what will happen.

Judge:  "Marinatto you were raided by the ACC in 2003?"
Marinatto: "Yes"
Judge:  "Did you consider that the ACC could raid you again in the future?"
Marinatto: "Uhh, well, Tranghese said it would happen again, so, yeah I guess so."
Judge:  "Now the ACC has raided you again?"
Marinatto:  "Yes"
Judge:  "Were you prepared this time?"
Marinatto:  "Uhh..."
Judge:  "Did you put in place any measures to prevent this possiblity or have any contingency plans in case it did happen again?"
Marinatto:  "Uhh, could you repeat the question?"
Judge"  "Get outta here"

Miami and VT have been replaced by Cincy and Louisville as the best teams in the conference.  What's your point

You kinda just made my point for me.  With all due respect to Cincy and Louisville, we can argue the merits of this all day long, but the sad fact is you don't have the same brand recognition, tradition, or national respect as Miami and Vag Tech, but let's take the argument in a different direction.  To argue the point further, 5 years ago if you finished 2nd or 3rd in the Big East you could look forward to a trip to the Gator Bowl, now what do you have to look forward to?  The Pinstripe Bowl.  PAH-LEASE, there is absolutely no comparison there.  The Big East was not on solid ground before Pitt and Syracuse left as evidenced by the Gator Bowl abandoning it.  Now there is no doubt it IS a sinking ship.  Cincy and SF are the only schools who want to keep it together mostly because they don't have any other options.  Louisville has sour grapes because the Big 12 passed on them in favor of WVU.  Any one of the remaining schools would join the ACC in a heartbeat if they were asked, but there is only so much room in the ACC boat.  Maybe the Big East will be able to save itself, but WVU couldn't and shouldn't wait around to see IF (BIG BIG IF) that happens.   The stakes are way too high and the risks are far too great.  When you are on a sinking ship and there aren't enough life boats, you'd better make sure you are on one of them, not hang out and hope the ship stops sinking.  The Big East is not the same conference it was 5 years ago, and it's not because WVU is leaving, it has everything to do with the ineffectual leadership.  Case closed, to quote a song from Sublime "Try and test that, you're bound to get served."

One last point, in 2003 the Big East was lucky becasue there were regional schools with good football programs out there like Cincy, Louisville, and SF to fill the void.  That isn't the case this time around, which is why the BE has to hope Boise and the other western schools come on board, but what happens when the ACC decides to go to 16 and takes Rutgers and UConn?  What do you do then?  What if the SEC takes 2 ACC teams and then the ACC takes 4 BE schools?  The fact that you can't dismiss either of those as a strong possibilty is further proof that the Big East is all but finished.

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:27 am

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

You're a stand up guy for taking my heat.  I'm passionate(perhaps too much so) about football. Being from the Mt. West / WAC region, I just have no patience left for the prevailing elitism that exsists among fans in regions of AQ conferences.  Its the elitism(and greed) that is preventing a more fair (playoff) system in FBS.  The schools in power have no interest in changing a system that is currently slanted towards them (even though some AD's and Coaches give lip service the idea of a playoff; I don't believe them). 

However, in your response, I noticed two things. One, you seem like an ok fellow.  Two, you also seemed to realize the logic behind my (unkind) arguement.  Its not everyday that I see sports fans from the big conferences who root for the "HAVES", really care about the situation of the "HAVE NOTS".  You, however, seemed to listen.  I apologize for being snarky.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 8:22 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Furthermore I didnt say this would be the standard and it should be implemented tomarrow it was a suggestion. Jezz and I never said you could lose 3 or 4 conference games and stil play for NC. I was simply saying maybe Boise should start scheduling better teams and they would have a better shot id like to see them finally get to play for NC. To your other point "NO" even if OSU loses they still have to hope Bama loses or LSU. No matter which way you spin it they arent moving up very fast despite other teams losing. I was shocked to see Bama only slip to 3rd still in front of Boise. I had a little compassion and had a idea granted that was not very well thought out. It was a thought and didnt think id get bashed for saying something in the spur of the moment. I for one wouldnt mind seeing Boise in the NC game but I know it wont happen with the type of schedule they have. I know that more know that Bama dropped 1 spot after losing. Sorry I offended you and good luck to you but im just guessing if the BCS treats the Broncos anything like you talk to total strangers then they have NO chance in HELL!

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 8:10 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Your right...clearly everything you say is the perfect thing to do! Ive got an idea! Why dont you interview for the BE job? Your clearly the right man for the job and the good news is you cant screw it up any more than the have lol. Thanks for all you said and ill be sure before I ever make another comment on the matter all check with you to make sure you agree and proofread everything I write. Its just a thought I figured I was entitled to write something and didnt mean to step on your toes. Congrats on the new promotion to CBSSPORTS MESSEGE BOARD POLICE!

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 6:24 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Had Boise scheduled 3 more games with top 25 teams they would be right there waiting on OSU to lose so they could play for the NC.
Wait. Isn't BSU right there waiting for OSU to lose right now? Even without your insanely stupid, out of the air, number of 3 more top 25 team?  What formula did you use to come up with 3 more games?  So you're saying they have to play 4 ranked teams?  What about Stanford?  They won't play 4 ranked teams this year... so by your irrefutable (snarky) criteria, they are precluded from NC consideration?

These schools do it to themselves! This has happened to Boise over and over again but they still dont schedule better teams!
Where do I begin? You obviously understand nothing when it comes to difficulty Boise and teams like them face in getting out of conference games.  First of all, teams only have a limited number of out of conference games to schedule.  You have to take into account that for most teams, some of the OOC games are already scheduled, as they play annual regional rivals that are not in the same conference.  Then you have money involved, tv contracts, where you play the game, is there a return game, and many other things to consider.  Lastly, in Boise's case specifically, since they bust onto the scene after their Fiesta Bowl win against Oklahoma, they've won EVERY GAME vs automatic qualifying confernce teams.  What SEC, ACC, BIG 10, BIG 12, PAC 12, BIG EAST team wants to schedule a Mt. West team (which are usually considered money games because the AQ team pays anywhere between 500k to 1 million buck to kick the little guys butt) that has a proven recored of coming "between the hedges" on your own field, takinging your money, and ruining any hope you had for a national title run.  I guaruntee when Bama, Auburn, Oklahoma, OSU, get the phone call from the Boise AD, they just can't stop laughing at the idea they would ever waste one of their precious OOC cupcake games on a mid major powerhouse.  There's your education....

Auburn would be undefeated if they had Boise schedule.
Expect for the fact they were the LUCKIEST team in week one, winning Utah st. in the last seconds.  Also, Auburn plays Georgia regulary, and loses about as much as the win.   You know, Georgia? The team BSU spanked?  But while you have your jaded crystal ball out, why don't you see how well the Mountineers would do with Boise's schedule?

In all fairness a 2 or 3 loss SEC team should still get in before Boise.
This is where you elitist types have just lost your dang mind! You dig way too deep into stats, strength of schedule, conference affiliation, school tradition.  Look, the bottom line is that is isn't easy to win ANY division 1 football game.  All teams show up every week with the expection to win, and every Saturday, only half of the teams get their goal.  You play a game to win.  Not to play tough competition and lose.  Suppose Boise scheduled its out of conference games against, Bama, Arkansas, and Georgia won all three of those games, but then lost 3 games in the Mt. West conference? In your logic, they should be in the NC game! "BUT" you say? "But losing 3 games in the Mt. West is different than losing 3 in the SEC?" No it isn't! If 'LSU beats Bama, Arkansas, and Georgia, but lays an egg agianst Kentucky, you say give them a pass for losing to a team they should easily beat. But Boise if were to beat Bama, Georgia, and Arkansas then lay an egg against San Diego St. you're ready to point your finger and say "I told you so! Overrated!"  A WIN IS WIN AND A LOSS IS LOSS! A one loss SEC team still always has to explain why they can be called the best team in the nation, yet on that one Saturday, some team was better.  At least an undefeated Boise or Utah(of past) can say with confidence that outside of speculation NOBODY was a better team than them!

I think there is NO perfect solution to any of it but if it ever does go to a playoff you should be deemed ineligible if you dont have at least 3 games where you play a top 25 or evn top 40 school!
I agree, no perfect solution, but your "solution" is possibly even worse than what we have now.

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:31 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

What a self serving bunch of bull sh!t from a conference that just did its best to undermine the Big East by poaching TCU and WVU.  The Big 12 is despicable.
You mean after the Big East poached TCU from the Mountain West, which I guess makes them self serving and despicable.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:26 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

I feel like the only people teams like Houston and Boise have to blame are themselves! Had Boise scheduled 3 more games with top 25 teams they would be right there waiting on OSU to lose so they could play for the NC. Houston is the same way you dont have a leg to stand on we you start complaining about how your undefeated but still outside the top 10. These schools do it to themselves! This has happened to Boise over and over again but they still dont schedule better teams! It has to be more than Georgia 1 time a year. In all fairness a 2 or 3 loss SEC team should still get in before Boise. Auburn would be undefeated if they had Boise schedule. So would hald of the SEC teams. How many losses would Boise have if they played LSU schedule? I would say at least 4 without a doubt in my mind. I would agree with you guys about the playoff 100% but even with a 10 team playoff you would have the likes of Houston complaining if the season were to end now. Undefeated and feeling like the deserve to be in the playoffs. I think there is NO perfect solution to any of it but if it ever does go to a playoff you should be deemed ineligible if you dont have at least 3 games where you play a top 25 or evn top 40 school!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or