Could one of the Big Ten’s bowl eligible teams miss out on the postseason?
According to ESPN.com, the conference sent a memo on Wednesday to its athletic directors explaining that a scenario could arise where “there aren’t enough contracted bowl spots for every eligible team.”
This potential issue stems from the Big Ten’s agreement with the Capital One Orange Bowl. As of this season, the Orange Bowl pairs an ACC team against the highest-ranked non-conference champion from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame. Michigan State could be that team, causing issues for the rest of the league’s bowl eligible teams.
Michigan State, ranked No. 8 in Tuesday's College Football Playoff rankings, likely will head to the Orange Bowl if No. 1 Alabama wins the SEC championship game Saturday. The next highest-rated SEC team behind Alabama is No. 10 Mississippi State, but neither Michigan State nor Mississippi State plays before the final rankings and bowl pairings are set. If a Big Ten team goes to the Orange Bowl, the league will not have a team in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. If only one other Big Ten team -- the league champion -- makes a Playoff semifinal or another New Year's Six bowl, the league would have eight eligible teams for seven contracted bowl spots.
Currently, there are 80 teams that have clinched bowl eligibility and only 76 spots. A few teams won’t make the cut and the Big Ten made sure to inform its members that it will not “interfere or influence” with the bowl contracts certain games have with other leagues.
"The conference will not interfere or influence our contract bowls' selection rights, nor does it have any control over the CFP," Mark Rudner, Big Ten senior associate commissioner for television administration, wrote to the athletic directors in the memo. "Unless a contract bowl selects a team that is over-exposed because of recent trips to the same bowl or same region, we will not interfere with the bowl's selection."
These circumstances could potentially impact teams like Maryland (7-5), Rutgers (7-5), Penn State (6-6) and Illinois (6-6).
- - - - - - -