Playoff A Positive

Playoff A Positive

NCAA presidents approved a new four-team college football playoff to begin in the 2014 season, and Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw considers it a positive for the game in general and the Big East Conference, even if the league doesn't have an automatic tie-in to one of the former BCS bowls.

NCAA presidents approved a new four-team college football playoff to begin in the 2014 season, and Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw considers it a positive for the game in general and the Big East Conference, even if the league doesn't have an automatic tie-in to one of the former BCS bowls.

There are no automatic qualifiers for the playoff system and the teams will be decided by a championship committee to be determined. The apparent negative for the Big East is that outside of the four semifinalists, the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions are contracted to play in the Rose Bowl, the Big 12 will face the SEC in a Champions Bowl and the ACC will provide a team for the Orange Bowl.

The Big East, which along with the other five conferences was part of the BCS structure that sent its champion to a major bowl, currently has no significant bowl tie-in. But Bradshaw feels the Big East is still in position to benefit financially from the new setup when media rights negotiations are complete.

"Based on the past performances of some of our teams like Boise State, Cincinnati, South Florida, absolutely," said Bradshaw. "The Big East is and has been one of the top five or six conferences and will be paid proportionately. The revenue will be greater, it won't be lower. The revenue from the national championship structure could be two or three times what it was previously.

"Part of the formula could be an academic component too. It could be APRs, graduation rates. The way it's headed will mean a good financial outcome. The main advantage is the increased media rights. The outlook is very positive."

Bradshaw didn't close the door on the Big East contracting to one of the existing major bowls, but noted what will be considered a top bowl could change, and the positive is that the Big East will be just as big a player as some other conferences for the national championship. There will be three other "contract" bowls to be determined.

"Since the BCS started, I don't think a Big East team ever played for a championship," said Bradshaw, who will see the Owls re-join the league this year after spending six seasons in the Mid-American Conference. "Last year, two institutions were chosen to play for the national championship (Alabama and LSU). Now there is four, so that doubles the Big East teams' chances of playing for a national championship. You just have to do the math, and there's no automatic qualifiers so all the leagues in the former BCS are in the same boat."

Interim Big East commissioner Joe Bailey seconded Bradshaw's thoughts in an interview with espn.com on Friday.

"This conference, because of its record over the past six years or so, really plays very good football, and if it's based on meritocracy, then we will be able to do as well as anybody else," Bailey said. "That's No. 1. This relationship with the bowls that other conferences have, they've always had them. We've always felt that at the end of the day, even though there was AQ status, you wanted to play well and earn your way into a bowl and not necessarily be anointed.

"Based on the meritocracy, we feel pretty good that quite a number of teams based on our historical performance level will mean the conference will be absolutely fine. Right now, we're more focused on where we stand in terms of the topic of access and revenue distribution. I'm not in a position to tell you what's going to happen in the future in relation to other bowls. The selection of those bowls themselves hasn't been determined yet."

As the espn.com article indicated, the Big East has actually out-performed the ACC the past few years.

Bradshaw also looked at Boise's recent commitment to join the Big East this year after waiting until the last minute to withdraw from the Mountain West as a major positive for the fluctuating league.

"No question, the Big East inherits what Boise did the last few years in football, which is higher than what some of the other leagues accomplished," said Bradshaw. "In expanding West and moving into some major markets, they've done everything they can to be attractive."

Bradshaw is a huge proponent of the playoff format and hopes this is only the first step, even though the current agreement runs through 2025.

"I've always been in favor of a far larger field," said Bradshaw. "It wasn't easy to get a four-team playoff, and I think it's a terrific accomplishment. I'd like to see them go to eight or 16 as the schedule permits."

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