CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd uncovered an interesting rule regarding the "partner bowls" in the new college football playoff set to debut in 2014, and it's one that could greatly benefit teams from the Big Five - the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big 10 and Pac-12 - that regularly finish close to the top of their conference. Like, say, the Kansas State Wildcats.
According to Dodd, when conferences lose teams from their affiliated bowls to the national playoff, they'll be able to pick a team from their own conference as a replacement, and not necessarily have to take the next ranked team in the future selection committee's Top 20. Sayeth Dodd:
Leagues involved in the Rose, Champions and Orange, will get to pick the replacement teams if one their teams is involved in the playoff. At least four times in the BCS era, a second (or third) team from a major conference would have gotten into the new six-bowl rotation based on this latest information. Example: In 2007, Virginia Tech finished No. 3 and would go to the Orange Bowl. In the new structure, the ACC would be allowed to replace Tech with No. 14 Boston College. In 2009, the Champions Bowl would have been allowed to replace No. 2 Texas with No. 19 Oklahoma State.
Those perhaps aren't great replacements, but they're great for the conference -- and tough for the have-nots (Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Sun Belt) trying to get a team into a major bowl.
Considering that if the new playoff system had included eight teams and not four, Kansas State would've been in the title picture in 2011, this bodes well for teams like K State, who constantly fight under the shadow of conference behemoths like Oklahoma and Texas. It's certainly another dose of bad news for non-"Big Five" programs, but what else is new around here?