Posted on: February 10, 2008 3:01 pm

"Mid-major" bowl selection process

Every season there seems to be a fair amount of confusion about the selection process of the BCS and how it affects the entry of a qualifying "mid-major" team. I hope this will clear things up for all "mid-major" fans so we don't have to go over this season after season.

Team-Selection Procedures

The bowls will select their participants from two pools: (1) automatic qualifiers, all of which must be selected, and, (2) at-large teams, if fewer than 10 teams qualify automatically. The following sequence will be used when establishing pairings:

1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings will be placed in the National Championship Game ("NCG").

(This section is very clear, or you would assume it would be self-evident)

2. Unless they qualify to play in the NCG, the champions of selected conferences are contractually committed to host selected games:

Atlantic Coast Conference-Orange Bowl
Big Ten Conference-Rose Bowl
Big 12 Conference-Fiesta Bowl
Pac-10 Conference-Rose Bowl
Southeastern Conference-Sugar Bowl

(This outlines where each major conference champion will go each season. There are exceptions to this...see section 5...but under most circumstances this is how the major teams will lay out)

3. If a bowl loses a host team to the NCG, then such bowl shall select a replacement team from among the automatic-qualifying teams and the at-large teams before any other selections are made. If two bowls lose host teams to the NCG, each bowl will get a replacement pick before any other selections are made. In such case, the bowl losing the No. 1 team gets the first replacement pick, and the bowl losing the No. 2 team gets the second replacement pick. If the Rose Bowl loses both the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions to the NCG, it will receive two replacement picks.

(This section outlines how Bowls will replace the conference champions who are chosen for the NC game. An important note here is that the Rose can choose two replacement teams in the event they lose both their conference champions to the NC game)

A bowl choosing a replacement team may not select any of the following:

A. A team in the NCG;
B. The host team for another BCS Bowl;
C. When two bowls lose host teams, then the bowl losing the number one team may not select a replacement team from the same Conference as the number two team, unless the bowl losing the number two team consents.

(These provisions just make sure the Bowl losing a tie-in champion has first shot at the "runner-up" of that conference for their bowl)

4. After steps No. 1, 2 and 3 have been completed, any bowl with an unfilled slot shall select a team from the automatic qualifiers and/or at-large teams in the following order:

(and here comes the important section)

A. The bowl played on the date nearest to the National Championship Game (for 2008, Orange Bowl) will pick first;
B. The bowl played on the date second-nearest to the National Championship Game (for 2008, Fiesta Bowl) will pick second;
C. The bowl hosting the game that is played in the time slot immediately after the Rose Bowl game (for 2008, Sugar Bowl) will pick third.

The rotation noted in paragraphs A, B and C is as follows:
January 2007 games: Sugar, Orange, Fiesta
January 2008 games: Orange, Fiesta, Sugar
January 2009 games: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange
January 2010 games: Orange, Fiesta, Sugar

All teams earning automatic berths must be selected.

( in 2007 when Boise State was "selected" for the Fiesta and in 2008 when Hawaii was "selected" for the Sugar, mid-major programs will most assuredly be selected by the team who choses last. The Bowl commitees are REQUIRED to chose a qualifying mid-major, but don't want to chose a mid-major for their bowl games. This may eventually change, but until then the mid-major will end up in the bowl game who is required to chose last. In 2007 that was the Fiesta, in 2008 the Sugar, in 2009 the Orange and so on. Notice the Rose is not in this rotation. Therefore a mid-major, under the current system and bias of selection, will never gain a birth to a Rose Bowl.)

5. After completion of the selection process as described in Paragraph Nos. 1-4, the conferences and Notre Dame may, but are not required to, adjust the pairings taking into consideration the following:

A. whether the same team will be playing in the same bowl game for two consecutive years;
B. whether two teams that played against one another in the regular season will be paired against one another in a bowl game;
C. whether the same two teams will play against each other in a bowl game for two consecutive years; and
D. whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans as measured by expected ticket sales for the bowls and by expected television interest, and the consequent financial impact on Fox and the bowls.

(The important note here is "not required to". OU tried to get out of playing in the 2008 Fiesta bowl but was shot down by the conferences in the NC game because they were worried about the posibility of a split champion. Also section D outlines the main reason mid-majors will always be selected last)

So any mid-major will be selected last by the BCS bowl committee chosing last every time (at least until perceptions change). I hope this clears things up for all mid-major fans. The Fiesta has hosted a mid-major two times so far, and the Sugar once. The Rose will absolutely be the last (if ever) BCS Bowl to chose a mid-major team for their bowl. As I have stated perceptions may change, but it took lawmakers to force the BCS Bowl committees to allow mid-majors to play in the first place. Unless change is legislated, I don't have any faith perceptions will chance (especially in the case of the blue noses running the Rose Bowl).

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or