- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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All the hemming and hawing that has been done over Big East access issues to the future college football playoff should now be put to rest.
The Big East is getting access -- without a seventh bowl game being added to the system.
The BCS Presidential Advisory Committee and conference commissioners announced Monday that it has settled on a rotation of six bowls for the semifinals of the upcoming playoffs. The highest-ranked champion from the five conferences that are not in contract bowls -- the Big East, Conference USA, Mountain West, MAC and Sun Belt -- will be guaranteed a spot in a host bowl.
While it may hurt the pride to see the Big East lumped in with those other conferences, the fact remains that this is a victory for the Big East. Because this conference -- given the schools remaining and the schools entering next season -- should finish with the highest ranked team out of this group every single year.
Look at the past history. Current or future Big East schools would have gotten a guaranteed spot eight of the past nine years. Hawaii in 2007 is the only exception. So even though there will be no "automatic qualifier" label moving forward, there will be six automatic spots available, and the Big East has a great shot to get one of them every single season.
Much had been made in the months since the playoff was announced that the Big East would lose its seat at the table. This league was the the only conference among the six that currently have AQ status without a guaranteed tie-in to an access bowl moving forward. There was recent talk of a seventh bowl being added to alleviate the concerns of the conferences without guaranteed tie-ins, but those ideas were scrapped.
This one seems just fine. As senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli said on Twitter: "It wasn't about a 7th bowl. It was about a guaranteed spot. It is better for everyone if there are 6 bowls. Mission Accomplished."