BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 01: Head Coach Chris Petersen of the Boise State Broncos watches a play against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Bronco Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
The hip-hip-hoorays for a college football playoff have slowly melted into gasps of horror at the realization that the new playoff system is really the BCS with makeup and a PR handler. Stewart Mandel has taken to calling it BCS 2.0. Gone are the computers and formulas, but someone forgot to remove the invisible fence around the Big Money Conferences' precious bowl games. What's a conference like the Big East supposed to do?
Be patient. Be hopeful. Be, be aggressive? The Big Five conferences have been signing contracts left and right to secure a spot in one of the biggest bowls. Here is how things stand today. Keep in mind that there will be six mega bowls, including two that will rotate year-to-year as semifinals; none of the mega bowls have been set in stone just yet. These are guesses.
- Rose Bowl: MUST HAVE a Pac-12 team and a Big Ten team
- Champions Bowl (basically the Sugar Bowl, but pretentious): MUST HAVE an SEC team and a Big 12 team
- Orange Bowl: MUST HAVE an ACC team
- Fiesta Bowl: No rules
- Cotton Bowl: No rules
- Holiday Bowl: No rules
The Big East has no bowl tie-in, just as it didn't in the old BCS system. The difference is that in the old BCS the Big East champ was guaranteed a seat somewhere. That may still happen. Access is still being determined. Bribes are still being accepted.
At any rate, there could be as many as seven at-large spots in the mega bowls during a given year. Optimism!
And now, pessimism.
There is expected to be no cap on how many teams from a conference can be involved in mega bowls. The committee could place the entire SEC West for all we know.
What happens when the four-team playoff involves a single team from four of the Big Five conferences and the semifinal sites are bowl games without Big Five tie-ins? The number of at-large bowl openings shrinks from seven to three, that's what.
Also, don't forget about Notre Dame having a spot whenever the Irish decide to be good again. Someone's bound to guarantee them something.
In the end, the new BCplayoffS may afford more opportunity to teams from outside the Big Five conferences, and were any conference to secure an additional guarantee into the big games, the Big East would be next in line. These are all good things for the Broncos. Go undefeated in any given year, and Boise State should be guaranteed to play in a big bowl and possibly even a national semifinal.
Things aren't as bad as they seem. They are just ... different. We all anticipated BCS guarantees and loads of money with a move to the Big East, and we had hoped that a playoff would open a door to the national championship for everyone. We were wrong. Life as a Boise State fan will get better in coming years, but it won't be all crackers and caviar like we thought. More like chips and seven-layer dip, which isn't all bad.
What are your thoughts on the new playoff system being the new BCS? Where do you think the Broncos could land in the postseason of the future? Share your thoughts in the comments.