Interesting - I don't think it will hurt the Big Ten as much as he thinks. If anyone, it will crush the Pac 10 if, say, USC makes the title game and they have a chance to bring in someone like Cal, who hasn't been to Pasadena in forever, but are forced to bring in a BCS buster.
The Big Ten, OTOH, plays well nationally and has been an at-large BCS selection in the other bowls numerous times in the B(C)S era. Ohio State practically has snowbird resident status in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl, Michigan played in one of the Orange Bowl's greatest games of the B(C)S era (i.e. when the Orange Bowl wasn't forced to have the Big Least and ACC and could match up Bama and UMesh). The Sugar Bowl has been a bit tougher to crack, though OSU and PSU have semi-recent histories there.
I think everyone's suspicions here are correct in that the other bowls are trying to break the Big Ten-Pac 10 stranglehold on Pasadena. And yeah, it was a small surprise to see the Illini picked a couple years back ... but would a USC hometown beatdown of Hawaii have improved ratings at all?
But it's not going to hurt the Big Ten in getting in an at-large team - the only rule change that would do that would be if they would allow a league to have more than two teams, in which case the SEC could steal some bids. But with 10 bids now, and Notre Dame in a dry spell, that pretty much leaves four extra spots each year. The SEC and Big Ten are all but guaranteed to take half of those. The Big XII has almost gotten to the point where they have a lock on the third (the only problem is that it has to be Texas, Oklahoma or Nebraska, as the rest of the league doesn't travel or draw ratings as well) -- the other three league just don't have much hope unless the FSU/Miami slump ends or UCLA develops as a challenger to SC out west.
Go back a couple years - the Illini might not have been chosen under the new rules, but the Michigan team that went on to stand up to Urban Meyer's Gatorthugs on their home turf would have been a tempting at-large option for any of the other bowls (they were just passed over in Pasadena because they had been there the past few years).
And that's sad, but it will at least force the Rose Bowl to make a decision -- They can either keep alive their incredible tradition, or they can sell out entirely to this B(C)S joke.
They should look long and hard at the Orange and Sugar Bowls. The Sugar hasn't been hurt as much, because they still have their SEC tie-in, but the once-great Orange Bowl is now usually the second or third best bowl in the state of Florida. Let's look at the last five years:
Orange09 - VaTech 20, Cincinnati 7
08 - Kansas 24, VaTech 21
07 - Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13
06 - Penn State 26, Florida State 23
05 - USC 55, Oklahoma 19
The only decent Orange Bowl in that span was when they invited the Big Ten (Kansas/VT was decent, but sloppy) ... meanwhile, the Citrus has had three barn-burners and the 2006 game was Barry Alvarez' swan song and 2009 featured a battle of two great running backs.
The Orange Bowl had its tradition gutted by the B(C)S ... the Sugar has had three straight blowout games ... the Fiesta is the only bowl making out like bandits in this arrangement (and oh yeah, they've had a Big Ten team from OH ... IO four of the past seven years - five of seven if you count the title game - and Oklahoma also helped by being on the receiving end of two upsets, including the greatest bowl game in history).
So this is a move aimed at the Rose Bowl tradition, and it may wind up destroying that ... and it will absolutely crush the Pac 10's hopes of getting an at-large BCS berth when USC makes the title game (heck, the Fiesta folk passed on hometown Arizona State a couple years back) ... but it's tough to see this hurting the Big Ten's streak of double dipping into the B(C)S money pool.
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