Today the SEC and Big 12 announced a very significant new partnership that will send a champion to the same bowl game if those two programs don't make the four-team playoff field. If the SEC and Big 12 champs do make the four-team playoff, another program from each of the conference(s) would be selected for the game. The deal is a five-year agreement that will start following the 2014 season.
Here's the quote from SEC Commissioner Mike Slive:
"A new January bowl tradition is born. This new game will provide a great matchup between the two most successful conferences in the BCS era and will complement the exciting postseason atmosphere created by the new four-team model. Most importantly, it will provide our student-athletes, coaches and fans with an outstanding bowl experience."
This is the Big 12 and SEC setting up a second Rose Bowl. No word on where the game will be held, with the likely destinations being either the Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl. Maybe Jerry World?
But the actual game isn't the bigger news here. The big news is in what this agreement and partnership represents.
This arrangement, similar to the Big Ten and Pac-12's deal with the Rose Bowl, even further solidifies the Big 12 and SEC's seat at the table among the sport's power brokers. This is a consolidation of power, and not for the better if you are the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Big East is already in another ZIP code when it comes to the true power brokers of the college football world, but it looks as though the ACC might be wandering dangerously close to the outskirts of town.
The new SEC-Big 12 bowl partnership also is bad news for those ACC fans who want to keep Florida State in the conference. With room for expansion, supposedly a better TV contract and better non-playoff bowl destinations, this arrangement gives schools like Florida State and Clemson one more reason to bolt for greener ($) pastures.
Finally, this partnership shows that there will be significant changes to the bowl system outside of implementing a four-team playoff. While I'm thrilled that the college football power brokers have wised up and are going to put more marquee bowl games back on New Year's Day, I'm slightly less than thrilled that it looks like the ACC is getting further squeezed when it comes to choice postseason destinations.