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College Football Playoff Format Finalized

A spot for the Big East winner is still there in theory, if not always in practice.

Tyler Barrick

via ESPN.

The BCS commissioners and Presidential Oversight Committee have settled on a rotation of six bowls for the semifinals of the upcoming college football playoff system.

Also, the highest-rated champion from the "Group of Five" conferences -- the Big East, Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Mid-American -- will receive an automatic berth in one of the bowls.

In the past the highest rated member from one of those five conferences will have come from what will be the Big East when the agreement comes into force. With one exception, in 2007 Hawaii ran the table with Colt Brennan and finished 9th in final BCS standings.

The good news is that the Big East, and thus Cincinnati, will retain access to the big money bowls. The impact of that can't really be understated. Its a spot at the table, which takes any fears of a closed system restricting access to just the top four conferences (SEC/Big 12/Big 10/PAC12) away. But there is still the matter of money.

The group also has finalized the revenue-distribution deal for the new playoff. The oversight committee also will give the commissioners authority to finalize a media-rights deal with ESPN, which will be worth about $475 million a year over 12 years, sources said.

The total is irrelevant for this purpose. How they plan to break down the money is not. After all the main difference between the Big East and the lowest rung of the power ladder, the ACC, is not on the field, but economic in nature. If the revenue distribution stays much has it has been, with the payouts to conferences based on how many schools they place in the top 6 bowls than almost nothing will have changed, in structural terms, from the old system to the new. But it is impossible to know if that is the case until knowing how the revenue will be distributed.

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