As college football goes kicking and screaming from the Paleozoic Era toward a playoff, an off-the-radar issue has been money. As in, how will conferences and schools distribute annual revenue that many believe could approach $400 million?
CBS’ Brett McMurphy posted an intriguing piece Monday night outlining one plan under consideration: a formula based on past Bowl Championship Series standings.
Were such a division approved, the ACC would start from a stronger position than you might expect, thanks in large part to Virginia Tech.
According to McMurphy’s research, which is based on projected 2014 conference membership, 57 ACC teams have ranked among the BCS’ final top 25 since the series began in 1998. Keep in mind, the BCS’ final standings are released in early December and reflect only the regular season, not bowl results.
Also, McMurphy’s numbers, per the plan commissioners are pondering, give conferences credit for teams’ rankings no matter when they were attained. So the ACC benefits from Virginia Tech’s ratings during the Hokies’ Big East days, while the Southeastern Conference absorbs rankings Missouri and Texas A&M attained in the Big 12.
The clear loser in such a formula is the Big East, which has seen five schools — Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Syracuse — exit for the ACC and West Virginia to the Big 12.
The ACC’s 57 top-25s trail only the SEC’s 78 and Big Ten’s 66 and lead the more renowned Big 12’s 56 and Pacific 12’s 49. That reflects depth and parity, some would argue mediocrity, that has denied the ACC top-five teams but produced dozens that were ranked from Nos. 15 to 25.
Indeed, if you assign a point value to the top-25 finishes, 25 points for No. 1, 24 for No. 2 and so on, the ACC falls from third to fifth among the six power conferences, ahead of only the Big East.
Since the BCS standings released from 1998-2002 included only the top 15 teams, I can’t confirm McMurphy’s numbers on top-25 finishes. But I certainly trust them. He’s among the most-connected reporters in our racket.
Based on the final BCS standings released to the media over the last 14 seasons, we can conclude, not surprisingly, that Virginia Tech has been the ACC’s bell cow.
The Hokies have cracked the final BCS standings 10 times, four more than ACC colleagues Florida State and Miami. Nationally, only Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, with 11 each, can boast more. Ohio State and LSU also have 10.
Again, those numbers do not include teams 16-25 from 1998-2002, which I have been unable to unearth but a source provided to McMurphy. Of those seasons, Virginia Tech most certainly was among BCS teams 16-25 in 2001, when the Hokies were 15th in the Associated Press poll prior to their Gator Bowl loss to No. 24 Florida State.
Here are the number of appearances in the public final BCS standings for the ACC’s current and future members:
Virginia Tech 10, Florida State and Miami six each, Georgia Tech five, Boston College four, Virginia, Clemson and Pitt three each, Maryland two, Wake Forest and Syracuse one apiece.
That leaves only Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State unrepresented. The 2002 Wolfpack, ranked 17th by the AP prior to its Gator Bowl victory over Notre Dame, most likely was among teams 16-25 in the BCS.
Conference commissioners are meeting in Chicago today, with the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, chaired by Virginia Tech’s Charles Steger, set to convene June 26 in Washington, D.C. The final structure may not be approved until September, when television negotiations are scheduled to begin.
Any performance-based revenue sharing formula will be fluid, reflecting most recent results. And there’s no denying ACC teams need to win more high-profile non-conference games.
To wit: ACC teams have been below .500 in bowls each of the last five seasons with an overall record of 15-27. In the last two years, the ACC is 4-20 against ranked, non-conference opponents.
But contrary to some hysterical opining, none of this translates to lack of access for the ACC to a four-team playoff, regardless of format, and its anticipated windfall.
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