While college football's postseason format set to change, could changes also be coming to the current bowl system? Multiple sources have told CBSSports.com that there is "growing support" among conference commissioners, ADs and bowl officials to increase the difficulty of becoming bowl eligible.
"The 7-5 discussion is percolating," a bowl official said. "I don't know of many athletic directors or conference commissioners who think a 6-6 team has earned a bowl berth." Teams are now only required to finish .500 (6-6) or better to be bowl eligible. Increasing the number is expected to be discussed at the Football Bowl Association meetings in Miami in April. The university presidents would have to vote for any change as part of NCAA legislation.
While I want to see a proper college football playoff put in place, and the world can probably do without the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, I'm not all that thrilled with this rule change. All upping the bowl eligibility requirement does is encourage athletic directors to schedule their way to seven or eight wins (two I-AA opponents) instead of six or seven.
Without making changes to the current college football incentives structure, this rule change will simply mean fewer games between marquee opponents, as programs try to schedule their way to seven wins and a trip to college football's already bloated postseason.
Bowl sources estimated up to 12 of the current 35 bowls could be "lopped off." Had this rule existed in 2010-11, 14 of the 70 bowl eligible teams would have been bowl in-eligible: Arizona State, Florida, Illinois, Iowa State, Marshall, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Texas A&M, U.C.L.A., Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
For those curious, Boston College has never made a bowl game with just a .500 record.
However, this would likely only be a temporary measure, as programs slowly learn to set up the yearly football schedule for getting to seven wins instead of six. If this rule is enacted, you'd likely see fewer bowls in the short term. But my money is on the number of bowls returning to 2010-11 levels without a significant change to the college football scheduling incentives structure for athletics directors.
This rule may also be a deal-breaker as the ACC contemplates moving to a 9-game conference football schedule. The SEC has stated it has no plans to move to 9 games even with the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri, while the Big Ten has now gone back on an earlier decision to move to a 9-game conference schedule for the 2017 season due to the conference's new Pac-12 scheduling deal.
Get ready for more Boston College football games against the UMass, Rhode Island, Stony Brook, New Hampshire, Maine, the MAC, Conference USA and the Sun Belt!