The biggest of college football's big boys have flexed their muscles, and the game as we know it is about to change shapes yet again.
Senior Editor Phillip Marshall
After listening for weeks to the Big 10 and Pac-12 yap about "protecting the Rose Bowl," the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 went and put together a plan that will overshadow the Rose Bowl most seasons.
After the 2014 season, the SEC and Big 12 champions, if they're not in the national championship game, will play in a bowl game. If they are in the national championship game, they will be replaced by the next teams in line in their conferences.
That bowl, whether it is an existing one or a new one, won't have the history and tradition of the Rose Bowl, where the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions meet. But most years it will have better teams playing in a better game. And it will be worth lots and lots of money to the two conferences.
Even before he rakes in the extra television millions as a result of conference expansion, SEC commissioner Mike Slive has a winning hand yet again.
Meanwhile, the ACC and Big East must be looking around and wondering what the heck has happened and how they are going to stay relevant at all. I don't believe an ACC-Big East bowl matchup will have much pop. In fact, Big East football is pretty much on life support anyway.
And so we begin again.
The SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 have put themselves in positions of strength. The Big East, the ACC and everybody else, not so much. If Florida State wasn't interested in finding a new home before, it is this morning. Same with Clemson or any other program that deems itself worthy of playing for national championships.
The traditions that have defined college football for more than half a century no longer carry much weight. The bowls, as we have known them, are on their way out. Conferences have already changed and will change more, probably until there are eventually four leagues of roughly 16 teams apiece.
And what about Notre Dame? Can it remain independent? Can it make its own permanent bowl deal?
Not long ago, the SEC and Big 12 didn't like each other so much. The SEC, after all, had swooped in and taken Texas A&M and Missouri. Now, the SEC and Big 12 are partners. It's amazing what money can do.