This will truly be a one-of-its-kind bowl experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans. —John Steinbrecher, MAC Commissioner
Do you hear that? That's the sound of fans scheming their way out of work to attend college football's new bowl game in the Bahamas. Many sports writers are likely doing the same, coming up with clever ways to tell their boss why the Bahamas need them.
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced today that the Bahamas Bowl will begin in 2014, featuring a matchup against a rotating group of conferences over the next six years.
According to multiple reports, there will also be new bowl games in Boca Raton, Fla., and Miami in 2014.
Besides TV networks like ESPN benefiting from the bowls, the "group of five" conferences — the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt — will enjoy the bowls' benefits. Power conferences, such as the PAC-12, will be excluded from this bowl.
“The Mid-American Conference is proud to partner in the creation of the Bahamas Bowl beginning with the 2014 season and to feature the only bowl game outside of the United States,” said MAC Commissioner John Steinbrecher. “This will truly be a one-of-its-kind bowl experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans.
Conferences such as the Mountain West and Conference USA are usually the ones on the outside looking in. This time around, the bigger conferences, such as the PAC-12, Big 12, SEC, are left out.
Smaller teams and conferences have a tougher time qualifying for bigger bowls with larger payouts than other schools in bigger conferences. In order for a school from the "Group of Five" to qualify, it must be a conference champion and finish the season ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings. If not that, it must finish in the top 16 of the final BCS standings, be a conference champion and be ranked higher than an automatic qualifying conference champion to earn automatic berth.
These rules will likely change with the implementation of the College Football Playoff, but the new system that will be implemented in 2014 has not yet released what will be different.
With the new bowls being announcement today, it seems that smaller conferences are wasting no time in creating opportunities for themselves.
Depending on how teams finish the rest of the year, of the 39 bowl games slated for 2014, at least 20 of them could pair teams from the "power five" conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) against each other. The remaining 19 bowls will likely be power five teams against non-power teams, and or teams from both non-power conferences playing each other.
Justin Giles is a recent graduate of the University of Utah. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org