It was announced Friday that the SEC and Big 12 have created a new bowl game which will feature the top team from each conference that is not participating in the proposed 4-team playoff. The game will begin in the 2014 season, on January 1st, 2015. So what does it all mean for college football and what impact, if any at all, will it have for UK?
The first thing that we can assume is that a 4-team playoff will almost certainly happen because the SEC and Big 12 are moving forward with the assumption that it will with the announcement of this game. The new unnamed bowl also means that major college football is moving closer to becoming the 4 super-conferences that John Calipari has proposed for major college athletics. The PAC 12 and the Big 10 already had the Rose Bowl, and now the SEC and Big 12 have their own major New Years Day bowl. The Orange Bowl will still exist for the ACC and Big East champions to participate in, but will be a clear step down from the Rose Bowl and the unnamed SEC-Big 12 bowl, which means that more teams from the ACC or Big East will attempt to find their way into the other 4 leagues.
Already rumored to be leaving the ACC is Florida State, and even Notre Dame may now be forced to join one of the 4 major football conferences. With the uncertainly surrounding the Fiesta Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, the profile of those bowls, and most importantly the revenue generated from them, will decrease dramatically. A site has yet to be determined for the SEC-Big 12 bowl and it’s possible that the site may rotate on a yearly basis between cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, and New Orleans. It’s doubtful; however, that the Sugar and Fiesta bowls would agree to rotate between themselves for one marque game. For Notre Dame to play in a major, BCS-caliber bowl game, they would likely have to be one of the top 4 teams in the country or they would be left out, unless they’d join the Big 12 or the Big 10.
Speaking of Notre Dame, they may still receive a cut in revenue from the 4-team playoff, but that will only be revenue produced from 3 games as opposed to the current 5 BCS bowl games. In 2010, Notre Dame made $1.3 million as a cut from the revenue produced from all 5 BCS contests. I’m not a math major, and clearly there is still a lot to be worked out in all of this, but Notre Dame could expect to make considerably less than they used to and currently make from the BCS. The Irish would probably make only about 3/5th’s of the revenue each year that they have made under the old system, and would have a much more difficult time to actually take part in a BCS playoff with only 4 teams involved.
The SEC-Big 12 bowl game, instead of sharing revenue between 6 BCS leagues, non-automatic qualifying leagues, Football Championship Subdivision leagues, Army, Navy, and Notre Dame, can now seemingly keep all the money to themselves and share between the member schools of only the two participating conferences, with an independent TV contract. Just about all of the specific details still have to be worked out, but it seems like on the surface that it will become an additional revenue source for UK and the rest of the SEC member schools.