The Mayor of Dewitt
- Aug 15, 2011
Based on recommendations by the NCAA’s Competition Committee, there are expected to be three new bowl games added for the 2020 season, sources said.
In 2020, a record 43 bowls (including the College Football Playoff title game) would be held, meaning a record 65 percent of the 130 FBS schools (84 teams) will play in a bowl game.
The Competition Committee’s recommendations, expected to be approved Tuesday by the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee, has also designated the maximum number of bowl tie-ins per conference. These numbers were based on each conference’s average number of bowl-eligible teams in the past four seasons (2014-17).
The number of proposed bowls allowed per conference beginning in 2020, the start of the new bowl cycle, will be as follows (the Power 5 tie-ins do not include one New Year’s 6 bid for each league):
League Maximum bowl tie-ins
ACC 10 (not including ACC’s Orange Bowl bid)
SEC 10 (not including SEC’s Sugar Bowl bid)
Big Ten 8 (not including Big Ten’s Rose Bowl bid)
Pac-12 7 (not including Pac-12’s Rose Bowl bid)
Big 12 6 (not including Big 12’s Sugar Bowl bid)
Conference USA 7
Mountain West 6
Sun Belt 5
Army & BYU each can secure its own automatic bowl tie-in, but the remaining independents (New Mexico State, UMass and Liberty) must hope for an at-large spot from a conference that can’t fill all of its allotments in a specific year. Notre Dame remains part of the ACC’s bowl lineup.
So what does all this mean? Based on multiple sources, here’s how the 2020 bowl landscape could shake out.
* The three new bowls? Chicago and Myrtle Beach are near locks to host two of the new bowl games.
The Chicago bowl, to be played at Wrigley Field, will feature the Big Ten against the ACC, sources said. To add the Chicago bowl in 2020, the Big Ten is expected to end its affiliation with the San Francisco Bowl (formerly Foster Farms Bowl) after 2019.
Myrtle Beach and ESPN officials have had ongoing discussions about starting this bowl game, sources said. The most likely conferences affiliated with Myrtle Beach could be Conference USA, the Sun Belt or the Mid-American. If the Sun Belt is involved, look for the league to cut ties in 2020 with either Arizona, Dollar General, Camellia or Cure, all part of the Sun Belt’s current bowl lineup.
The third new bowl? This isn’t as clear cut. Arizona State has shown interest in adding a bowl in Tempe. And a number of cities/communities have expressed interest in the past including Charleston, S.C., and Greenville, N.C. The only certainty is before a bowl can be created, it must have a contract with two conferences and/or BYU/Army.
* Which conferences increased their bowl tie-ins in the new bowl cycle? The SEC (hello Vegas!), Pac-12, Conference USA, Mid-American and Mountain West all will be able to add another bowl affiliation in 2020, compared with their current allotments.
The Pac-12 will get an additional bowl bid in two years even though just last week the league announced it would prohibit any conference teams with 5-7 records from accepting bowl bids. That should be fun. What also could be interesting is what the Pac-12 does with the San Francisco Bowl after it loses the Big Ten. Foster Farms ended its four-year naming rights agreement, so the San Francisco Bowl is currently without a naming rights sponsor and it’s doubtful the Pac-12 can find another Power 5 opponent for the bowl. Could that possibly open the door for the Mountain West to San Francisco since it’s losing its tie-in with the Las Vegas Bowl?
* Vegas, baby, Vegas! As I reported last week, the Las Vegas Bowl will feature the Pac-12 vs. another Power 5 school in Vegas’ new NFL stadium in 2020, ending the bowl’s 19-year run with the Mountain West at Sam Boyd Stadium. It’s not a done deal, but sources said it’s “very likely” the Pac-12’s opponent will be from the SEC. Since it’s Vegas, I’d bet on the SEC. I’m told the matchup could be the Pac-12’s second or third selection vs. the SEC’s third or fourth selection and the game obviously would be moved off the first Saturday of bowl season.
As far as the Mountain West, among its options on where to send its champion is the Arizona Bowl, but there could be other possibilities based on what other bowls may change conference affiliations. Also, it could end up in the new Arizona State bowl, if created.
* American champ? The American is exploring the idea of having a bowl that annually hosts its conference champion, when it’s not in a New Year’s 6 game. Although the AAC currently does not have a tie-in with the Liberty, the league is intrigued about the possibility of sending its champion to Memphis, sources said. The Liberty is currently affiliated with the SEC and Big 12.
* What makes sense (so it will never happen): What if the Group of 5 designated that the four Group of 5 conference champions that didn’t advance to the New Year’s 6 bowl meet annually in two bowls each year? They could be paired based on highest rankings (1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4 or 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3) or geography.
They could involve current bowls that host Group of 5 games such as New Orleans, Gasparilla (Tampa), Mobile, Frisco or Arizona. It would guarantee those two bowls always featured two conference champions.
The NCAA is expected to officially announce any changes to the current bowl formats by July 1.