SEC, Big 12 Cement Post-Season Pact

Mike Slive and the Southeastern Conference continue to put the squeeze on college football, and this time the SEC has an ally in the Big 12. In some respects it is more show than substance, because the new deal is dependent on the champions of both leagues being left out of the expected four-team model college football playoff.

Okay, it could happen. But in 2012 it doesn't seem likely. The agreement reached by the SEC and the Big 12 is essentially the one that had been hinted at in recent days. It is a five-year agreement beginning in 2014 that calls for the champions of the two leagues to meet in a bowl game -- probably the Sugar Bowl -- if neither of their league champions are selected for whatever replaces the BCS system.

If one or both champions are in the four-team pool, "another deserving team from the conference(s) would be selected for the game."

Thus far there have been 12 BCS National Championship games involving only two teams, and in only two of those games has there not been a representative of either the SEC or the Big 12 and there have been several games in which one from each league played for the championship.

A case can be made that the real significance of the agreement is the message it sends to other BCS conference members that the SEC and Big 12 are going to protect the turf. The agreement is similar to that of the Pac 12 and Big 10 for a Rose Bowl meeting.

Although the agreement trumpeted the desire to provide fans with a quality bowl game, there have been many decades of precedence that the leagues are interested in bowl games that produce (a) money and (b) national championships.

"A new January bowl tradition is born," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "This new game will provide a great match-up between the two most successful conferences in the BCS era and will complement the exciting post-season atmosphere created by the new four-team model. Most importantly, it will provide our student-athletes, coaches and fans with an outstanding bowl experience."

"Our goal is to provide the fans across the country with a New Year's Day prime-time tradition," commented acting Big 12 Conference Commissioner Chuck Neinas. "This is a landmark agreement between two of the most successful football conferences during the BCS era to stage a post-season event. The creation of this game featuring the champions of the Big 12 and SEC will have tremendous resonance in college football."

"I am very excited by the prospects for a game between our champion and the champion of the Southeastern Conference," added in-coming Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

During the 14-year history of the Bowl Championship Series the Big 12 and SEC lead the nation with 11 seasons in which each conference has had at least one team ranked in the top four of the final BCS standings. Both conferences share the top spot all-time with 14 teams each that have finished in the top four of the final BCS Standings. The two conferences have combined for 16 appearances in the BCS National Championship Game, with the Big 12 ranking second behind the SEC's nine appearances with seven trips to the National Championship Game.

The two league champions have met twice in BCS bowl games since 1998, both in BCS National Championship Games. In 2010, Alabama defeated Texas, 37-21, in Pasadena, Cal., and in 2009, Florida defeated Oklahoma, 24-14, in Miami, Fla.

Specific details, including host site(s), will be announced at a later date.

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