The Big Ten will have to place a team in the four-team playoff in Year 1 if it wants to participate in the Rose Bowl in the 2014 season.
Colleague Brett McMurphy reports that the Rose and Sugar bowls will serve as semifinal sites in the first year of the new playoff system, with the Cotton Bowl the prohibitive favorite to host the first national title game of that system, on Jan. 12, 2015.
That means the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, would only feature a Big Ten team if a program from the conference is selected as one of the top four teams. McMurphy reports that BCS commissioners have agreed that the Big Ten will not be placed in the Orange Bowl in years that the Rose is a semifinal site and instead will be placed in one of the other access bowls which will be part of the national semifinal rotation. That means the 2014 Big Ten champ could play in the Fiesta or Chick-fil-A bowls if it finishes outside of the top four. In future years, the Cotton Bowl could also be a landing spot for the Big Ten champ when the Rose is a semifinal.
The Rose Bowl is guaranteed to be played on New Year's Day in 10 of the 12 years of the playoff contract, whether it is hosting a semifinal or not. The exceptions are when Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday and conflicts with the NFL. In those years, the game would be moved back a day, so the Rose Bowl will be played on Dec. 31, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2022.
A Rose Bowl on New Year's Eve? A Big Ten champion in -- potentially -- the Chick-fil-A Bowl? Times are definitely changing.