The SEC and Big 12 have a new partnership that will send their champions to the same bowl if those teams don't make the four-team playoff field, the leagues have announced. Which bowl isn't certain yet -- likely either the Sugar or the Cotton, and boy, won't it be fun watching those two fight over this.
So, basically, we're getting another Rose Bowl. The SEC and Big 12, like the Big Ten and Pac-12, now have a guaranteed blockbuster game to fall back on, playoffs or not. And since the SEC is the conference most in favor of sending the top four teams to the playoffs, no matter their conference status, this pact could mean the Big 12 agrees.
The SEC and Big 12, provided they're aligned on key issues, can better bargain with the Big Ten now. The Big Ten has conceded ground already, giving up home playoff sites, but is standing by the Rose Bowl and some sort of conference champs stipulation. Well, now the SEC and Big 12 have a bowl of their own to treat as mission critical. In a way, the Rose Bowl isn't even a thing to argue about now, since there are now two of them.
Every year of the BCS era would've featured the champion of either the Big 12 or the SEC (or both) if the playoff used a champs-only model. This is counting 2001 Colorado as a Big 12 team, since they were at the time. It's when we talk about a straight top-four model that this news gets interesting.
The champs of these two conferences would obviously still tend to do well even if conference winners didn't get preferred playoff status. The 2008 field, for instance, would've been nothing but SEC and Big 12 schools if a top-four plan was in place.
Going by top four rankings would end the chances of multiple teams from the same league in the playoffs, but it would also lessen the SEC's chances of making the field ever so slightly. Now a down year still ends with a bowl certain to be at least the second biggest of the exhibition season.
It also definitively establishes the top four power conferences in the country for good, in case anyone had any doubts about where the ACC and Big East rank. If Florida State and Clemson higher-ups weren't already seriously eying the Big 12, it is time to start. Oh, big Orange Bowl announcement, we all sense you preparing yourself right now, and it's already bumming everybody out.
While we’re here, let’s watch some college football videos from SB Nation’s new YouTube channel together: