The Big East Conference looks to be odd man out with the new college football realignment. In 2014, with the new playoff system, the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and ACC all will have partnerships with major bowls. That leaves the Big East who used to have automatic qualifying (AQ) status left out of the big money bowl games.
That puts into question the move that Boise State - and to a lesser extent San Diego State - are making when they leave the Mountain West Conference after this coming season (see related articles).
Big Four + ACC
The Rose Bowl has the same alignment as they've had for almost a century with the Pac-12 and Big Ten champions meeting. The new Champions Bowl (which may end up being the Cotton Bowl) will align the Big-12 and SEC champions in another matchup. The ACC has a new agreement for its league champion to play in the Orange Bowl, which in-turn has left the Big East in a quandary.
In fact, if you look at the new rearrangement, it's not unlike the old system, just a shift from a two-team playoff structure to a semi-final and final with five major conferences allied. The one exception is there's no Big East. The Big East has been left out of the mix and that has to have the people in Idaho disappointed to say the least.
It could be argued that the Big East hasn't had comparable grade or ranking as that of the other major conferences and as such, shouldn't have been included in the old BCS format. But they were and with solid television markets, it seemed a decent trade-off.
On a side note, I might add that San Diego State doesn't lose much here with their move because they were never a big football program; so, having access to larger markets and a bigger footprint for recruiting offers their program compensation for any disconnect and distance with eastern based schools - regardless of whether there's a BCS bowl or not.
No AQ for Boise
But Boise State must be concerned. The biggest loss over the last several years for Boise State has been exclusion from the big bowl system even though they've had a very strong football teams. Moving to an AQ conference like the Big East wasn't that tough of a decision when the invitation came. But the moving has been harder than originally considered.
With distance being a concern, the move is a football-only shift with all other sports going to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). But the WAC appears to be dissolving so now Boise State had to scramble and try to place the non-football sports in the Big West - that move is still in the works.
Some would debate whether the ACC deserves inclusion into a major bowl and that could be a good argument; but obviously, the Orange Bowl was willing and in this day-and-age of college realignment, there doesn't seem to be any rules.
Mountain West gains but loses
The Mountain West losing two substantial schools hurts though they will gain Hawaii, Fresno State and Nevada this year to partially offset such a heavy loss like Boise State.
Back with Boise State and the Big East - there has to be some doubt as to whether Boise State will eventually leave the Mountain West Conference with this latest twist. Why leave to play a bunch of average eastern football schools? And, why leave with no solid place for your other sports? This doesn't add up.
The television monies are bigger for the eastern move and in the end that dominates the reasoning for the transfer. But as far as the Big East being left out of the major bowl picture, more questions remain than are answered. However, it does appear the Big East now joins the other non-AQ conferences ... certainly not what Boise State has in mind. What happens to future television contracts, which has dictated the move by Boise State in the first place, also remains in question.
College realignment reared its ugly head again and this time, the Big East isn't looking too pretty.
Sources - Big East Conference, ESPN
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!