The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Whoa! How Did This Slip By?

I think the entire country agrees that the BCS in college football sucks. I also think most of sports fans know the BCS is currently conducting a series of meetings to discuss the future of the BCS. Everyone who reads this blog knows my feelings about the BCS and its implications on Notre Dame football independence.

Does ANYONE know that the BCS recently decided to eliminate automatic qualifiers for conference champions???

This is a HUGE change, and one that will create 2 immediate effects:

1) Schools from traditional non-BCS conferences (and independents like ND) will have a much harder time getting a BCS game.
You think the TCU's and Boise State's had something to complain about? The only reason those teams got in in the past was because the BCS bowls were not allowed to take a 3rd BCS conference team. Money drives all, and this reverts the system to the more traditional bowl approach - schedule the best matchup to make the most cash. Having a 4-team playoff (which sounds inevitable in 2014) only makes this more likely. Those 4 teams "earn" a spot, while the other BCS bowls scramble to make big games.

2) The Big East is done.
The Big East is being assaulted on all sides by conferences poaching their best schools. Without an automatic qualifier, I doubt a Big East team will be in a BCS bowl often (if at all) as the Big East is currently formulated. The Big East has scrambled to avoid this, adding a bunch of crappy schools that are nowhere near their geographic base - watering down the league. When it's time to renegotiate TV rights, the Big East is in big trouble, and I bet it collapses.

So how does this affect Notre Dame? I think it clearly forces out hand to change conferences for non-football sports. Notre Dame didn't sign up for an all-sports league that included Central Florida, Houston and SMU. As a result, we have to have a willing conference to allow us to maintain football independence. I wonder if that is possible. There are rumblings that the Big 12 would consider that, but why would they? If we stay in the Big East, our non-football sports will suffer a slow death at the expense of maintaining football independence. Ultimately, we may be forced to give up independence and join a conference to maintain ALL sports.

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