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University of Louisville News & Perspectives

‘Big boys’ float trial balloon rumor, denying Seventh Access Bowl and Big East

Whoops. One more obstacle for Tom Jurich, of the University of Louisville, and Mike Areso, the new Big East Commissioner.

The powers that be in the new football playoff system are floating a trial balloon that a seventh-access bowl that would provide access to conferences outside of the so-called Big Five may not happen at all. They are telling their semi-official balloon floater Brett McMurphy:

The bowl’s lesser worth compared to the other access bowls, the difficulty of selling tickets for an annual bowl featuring a non-power conference team and finding a bowl that wants to host the game that also meets the stadium capacity requirements for an access bowl and the national semifinals.

In other words, the self-appointed “big boy” conferences want to totally shut the door on any opportunity for the Big East or any other conference to have access to the national championship. We presume it would also adversely affect UofL’s chances of strengthening the schedule with more traditional powers.

“I think everyone has realized the seventh bowl is not on the level with the other contract bowls,” a source said. “The question was, how much can we get for this game? It didn’t sound like it was a lot.”

It’s not. The Rose and Champions bowls will be worth $80 million a year. Sources also told ESPN that the Orange Bowl will be worth $60 million a year, compared to only about $25 million a year for the proposed seventh bowl.

“Three weeks ago it was probably 90-10 (that a seventh bowl game would happen), now I would put it at less than 50 percent,” another source said.

Those sources likely being Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds, and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who have been pulling most of the strings during the conference realignment and football playoffs positioning. These are individuals with the most to gain by shutting off access and setting the tone for negotiations for a seventh access bowl.

McMurphy didn’t bother contacting Mike Aresco, of the Big East, who is confident that a seventh-access bowl would be a huge success. The last time we looked $25 million was a big deal, but we’re confident that, with Aresco’s background, a seventh access bowl would be worth much more. It’s called marketing and promotion, folks, something with which ESPN should have plenty of experience and expertise. You go out and sell it.

Sorry gentlemen, hate to burst your balloon. This latest step in your quest for total control over college football may be the one that brings you down.

You may as well get down on your knees and beg for a class action lawsuit from all the fans whose teams would be denied. You are inviting federal legislators to do a major Congressional investigation.

You are admitting that the entire movement is profit driven and that you deserve to have your tax exempt status removed. You have already damaged the integrity of the sport, now you want to destroy any vestiges of fairness at all

Nice try. But the trial balloon is full of hot air and deserves to crash. Keep at it and the entire playoff system will come tumbling down as well.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

5 thoughts on “‘Big boys’ float trial balloon rumor, denying Seventh Access Bowl and Big East

  • October 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Some want it ALL. Interesting development. Might tip over their apple cart!

  • October 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    The even more cynical would point out that by talking about keeping the 7th bowl from happening, then waiting for the hue and cry about being locked out makes for an easy way to get the concessions you want to ensure that the small schools don’t ever get a real shot at the other 6 bowls in return for getting their 7th bowl.

    • October 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Interesting take, Chris. They can’t really think the rest of us are going to stand mute while they devalue everything we’ve invested in our programs.

      • October 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        Didn’t they do this about 4-5 years ago? Before they changed the BCS rules for non BCS teams?

        I seem to recall that they were in talks to require all teams in the top 8 to go to a bowl, with a maximum of 2 per conference unless they were all in the top 3 or 4. This would have potentially put multiple teams from the the MWC, conference USA and even the ACC or Big East ahead of the Big 12 or Big Ten when “at large” pics were in. I remember about a month before the current rules were in place a big stink went up because they talked about adding the Cotton bowl or Liberty Bowl as a 5th bowl site. I remember it vividly because it was pointed out that Louisville might end up having to go back there if they won future Big East tournaments.

        That trial balloon went no where – a short while later they came up with the current system of the highest non AQ team that was always limited to 1 team from a non AQ conference. Not long after that Nebraska went to the Big Ten thus starting the merry-go-round that (probably) hasn’t quite stopped.

  • October 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Anybody wonder what Senator McConnell has to say about this? I do.

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