Bowl Games Are Going To Now Reward Mediocrity (Or, Even More So)

An expected rule change is yet again making a larger gap between the haves and have nots in the world of college football. The change will affect smaller leagues such as the Sun Belt who have only one automatic bid for a bowl game, and then three secondary options, and only if that conference does not have eligible teams.  

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The gist of the rule is that all teams who have six wins are treated equally for bowl slots. The current rule gives teams with winning records preference over 6-6 teams when coming to selecting at-large bowl teams. The new change is expected to pass next month:

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The NCAA is expected to approve legislation that will make it easier for teams with mediocre records to play in bowl games. Under the proposed new rule, teams with 6-6 records - the minimum record needed to be bowl-eligible - will be considered just as eligible to play in bowls as teams with winning records. Under current rules, the NCAA requires bowls to give priority to teams with winning records.

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The best example of this which would have affected teams last year was that GMAC Bowl could have taken Notre Dame (6-6) over Troy (9-3). The fear of the smaller leagues is that if there is a choice, an eight-win team will get passed over in favor of a six-win team from a BCS school.

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The rule was proposed by Big XII Conference Commissioner Dan Beebe, and the reason behind the proposal was that some 6-6 teams are more deserving because they play a tougher schedule. The irony in that is that strength of schedule is not technically included when figuring out who plays in BCS games, go figure. According to Beebe:

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The rule would create "greater flexibility by allowing the marketplace to play a more significant role in determining whether a team is offered the opportunity" to play in a bowl, according to the proposal.

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Or just a reason to get the most bang for their buck. The reason this will pass is because the NCAA recently took on the free-market approach to the bowl system, which is different from their former goal which would reward excellent teams with postseason berths. This rule change brings back memories of the late eighties and early nineties, when high profile teams and bowls made back door agreements in October to set up the best possible matchup for television.

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