Possible new bowl sites include Ireland, Dubai and....Little Rock?
After a century of the tail wagging the dog, FBS conferences are finally taking control of the postseason process. While the five power conferences handle the upper-level bowl games (see: the College Football Playoff, the SEC and Big 12 taking control of the Sugar Bowl, etc.), the five mid-majors are looking to do the same for their postseason package.
A byproduct of the major conferences' seizure of the bowl selection process has turned into more "BCS vs. BCS" games than ever. Instead of being left in the cold, the "Group of Five" leagues - the American, Conference USA, Mountain West, MAC and Sun Belt - are looking to start their own bowls.
According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, those five conferences are evaluating nine sites for the possibility of holding new bowl games: Miami, Orlando, Boca Raton, Fla., Montgomery, Ala., Little Rock, Ark., Los Angeles, Dubai, Ireland and either Toronto or Nassau, the Bahamas. Um, Little Rock? Yes, the capital of Arkansas could host a game between Conference USA and the Sun Belt at War Memorial Stadium. The Orlando and Boca Raton games would be played on the campuses of Central Florida and Florida Atlantic, while the Miami bowl would be played at Marlins Park.
"To their credit, (smaller conference) commissioners are saying enough," Football Bowl Association executive director Wright Waters told AL.com. "Enough with my teams getting left at home and my teams being the fill-ins when you have bowls that sign contracts with no expectation of actually having a team there."
With as many as 22 bowl games could exclusively pit power conference teams against each other, credit the Group of Five for looking for new avenues to reward deserving teams rather than see, for example, an 8-4 third-place team left in the cold.
Though, with options as varied as the Bahamas and Montgomery, Ala., reward may be a relative term.