Posted: Tuesday May 2, 2006 11:55AM; Updated: Tuesday May 2, 2006 5:07PM
Submit a question or an opinion to Stewart.
6. Fox is taking over for ABC as the BCS' primary television partner.
If you're thinking to yourself, "Hmm, that's strange, I don't remember seeing much college football on Fox in the past," you're absolutely correct. As of now, the network of Homer Simpson and American Idol is not scheduled to show any college football games during the regular season, but will be airing the national title game and Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls for at least the next four seasons. (The Rose Bowl retained its own separate deal with ABC.) As a result, the majority of promotion for the BCS games will take place during Fox's NFL telecasts, the games will be announced by commentators not normally associated with college football (Thom Brennemen, for one), there will be lots of funky graphics, and ...
7. The BCS games will be spaced farther apart.
The only constant in the BCS schedule over the next four years is that the Rose Bowl will be played in its traditional Jan. 1 time slot. The timing of the other games is up to the discretion of Fox, whose first priority is its NFL broadcasts. This year the Fiesta Bowl will be played on Jan. 1, the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3 and the title game on Jan. 8. Besides the later title game, it's not that different a lineup than in years past. Depending on how the NFL schedule falls in future seasons, however, at least one non-title game could be played as late as Jan. 5.
8. Besides the title game, there will be three other new bowls next season.
Cities continue to fall all over themselves for the right to host a bowl game. Joining the mix this winter will be the International Bowl (Toronto), the Birmingham (Ala.) Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque), brining the total number of games to 31. It will be 32 if the financially strapped Houston Bowl can resurrect itself by June. With the sport changing to a permanent 12-game schedule this season, the NCAA recently ruled that 6-6 teams will be eligible for the postseason, and wins over I-AA opponents now count toward eligibility. There will now be 62 (possibly 64) spots available for 119 Division I-A teams. The last time I-A played a 12-game schedule, in 2003, 69 teams finished 6-6 or better.
9. Numerous conference bowl partnerships have changed.
Nearly all bowl contracts with conferences expired after last season, and several leagues reshuffled their lineups to maximize potential revenues. For instance, the Big Ten will now send teams to the Insight and Champs Sports bowls rather than to the Sun and Music City bowls. The SEC added a tie-in with the Liberty Bowl, the ACC with the Music City and Emerald bowls. Also, in a new twist, the Big 12 and Big East will "share" partnerships with the Gator and Sun bowls, with each league sending a team to each bowl twice over a four-year period.
10. We are no closer to a playoff.
The five-bowl BCS model is in place for at least the next four seasons. There has been some speculation that the new format, in which the title game is played a week after New Year's, could lend itself to an easy transition toward a "plus-one" model beginning in 2010. There remains little to no movement among university presidents, however, toward examining a full-scale playoff model.
So get ready for more controversy when four teams finish 11-1 this fall.