Ryan Teeples: New college bowl system drastically alters BYU, Utah, USU bowl prospects
For the first time in 2014, a team from a non-AQ conference with the highest ranking — in the human/computer compiled formula formerly called BCS rankings — will be granted an automatic bid in one of the major bowls that isn’t hosting a semifinal playoff game.
So for the 2014 season that means a Utah State team that has a tremendous run and beats out schools like Central Florida and Northern Illinois in the rankings could play in the Orange, Fiesta, Cotton or Chick-fil-A bowls.
Sure, it’s not likely, but it’s certainly possible. And it’s a worthy goal for Utah State to aspire to.
Barring that, the MWC bowl selection process allows the Las Vegas, Poinsettia, New Mexico, Hawai’i and Famous Idaho Potato to pick — in that order — teams to play in their games.
The smart money is on Utah State to be found in Vegas or San Diego again next year.
Brigham Young University
For BYU, the 2014 bowl picture is as clear as caffeine-free Diet Coke.
As of now, the Cougars have no contractual relationship with any bowl game this upcoming season. But that may soon change.
“I know for next year’s game, we’re working on something new,” athletic director Tom Holmoe said in December. “I can’t say anything about it until it gets done.”
Speculation is Holmoe is referring to landing a deal with a new bowl game. There are a couple postseason games that hope to begin in 2014, which are still without certification. One of those is the Christmas Bowl, a game its hopeful sponsors want to play in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum — though not actually on Christmas Day.
"There's no question there are more BYU fans down here than any part of the country,” Los Angeles businessman Derek Dearwater and Christmas Bowl founder said. “They do well, they cheer well — they love their team. It would be a huge success to have them align with us for one year out of the next six."
But much would still have to happen for that game to become a reality.
Aside from a new bowl, a BYU team coming off a phenomenal regular season could feasibly be selected as an at-large team for a major bowl. That’s the ideal scenario for Cougar fans, but very unlikely.
BYU could also find itself taking the spot of a conference that failed to qualify enough teams for its bowl agreements. That has happened in the past, like it did for Notre Dame in the Pinstripe Bowl this year. But it's no guarantee.
What BYU has going for it in this odd predicament is its relationship with ESPN. The network has repeatedly restated its great business relationship with BYU and works with the school regularly for mutually beneficial causes.
ESPN happens to run eight bowl games presently, plus owns the broadcast rights to nearly all the remaining. And bowl contracts have always been somewhat fluid to allow the TV networks and bowl executives to improve matchups and fill slots — think Boise State and TCU in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.
The bottom line is if ESPN wants to get BYU on TV in a bowl game, it probably has the sway to make it happen. But it’s likewise not guaranteed.
So for now, BYU fans find their bowl prospects murky and anxiously await an announcement from Holmoe.
Ryan Teeples, twitter.com/SportsGuyUtah, is a marketing and technology expert, full-time sports fan, owner of Ryan Teeples Consulting Inc. (RyanTeeples.com) and regular contributor to LoyalCougars.com.
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