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Fourth Contract Bowl Could Involve Big 12, Pac-12 Versus a Mid Major

So remember how recently we found out that a seventh bowl could be added to the semifinal rotation? According to an AP source, it will likely be a contract bowl rather than an access bowl:

A person with direct knowledge of the plan for the four-team playoff in 2014 told The Associated Press that either a Pac-12 or a Big 12 team likely will be the opponent for the top-rated champion from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference. ...

The proposal has the Pac-12 sending either its champion or a replacement team to the game in years when the Rose Bowl hosts a national semifinal. In years the Rose Bowl is a traditional Big Ten-Pac-12 matchup, the Big 12 would send one of its top teams to the game.

For the Pac-12 and Big 12, this would be a similar deal to the one the Orange Bowl is working out for the SEC and Big Ten. And that, I have a feeling, shows the reason for adding this game.

It's not about access, I don't think. It's about getting a contract for the Pac-12 and Big 12 to match the one the SEC and Big Ten will soon have with the Orange Bowl. If those two conferences are going to get a second contractual spot, then certainly the Pac-12 and Big 12 are going to need one as well. The ACC is still the fifth wheel hanging on to the others with a tenuous grip, so instead of it getting another spot, the five mid major conferences will get one to make it look like this is all about the little guy. Either that, or this was a way to get those leagues their auxiliary contract while also heading off future lawsuits.

Ultimately, this bowl will probably undermine the concept of the non-semifinal bowls as truly being major. The ACC champ and SEC or Big Ten runners up getting guaranteed spots stretched that credibility already, and now this will only make it worse. When this postseason format was just going to be six games, two being semifinals and the others being filled by top-12 teams, you could make the argument that it was favoring quality over cronyism. That argument is fading quickly with every new contract.