Earlier this week, ESPN.com reported the chances of a seventh game being added to the playoff rotation that starts in 2014 had decreased because of various concerns, ranging from the value of the game’s television rights to where it will be played.
The original playoff plan had the national semifinals rotating among six major bowl games. Last month, the conference commissioners discussed expanding to the pool to seven games to give better access to the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA , Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference.
“None of us had heard anything about the game being in any jeopardy,” Aresco said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press.
The proposed plan for a seventh game calls for the top-rated champion from the Big East and the other four conferences to play either a Pac-12 or a Big 12 team in years when that game is not hosting a semifinal.
Yet tepid interest in the game from possible television partners is a potential stumbling block. How much TV rights would be for such a game is uncertain. Speculation has been anywhere from $20 million per year to about $55 million.
“We’re trying to put the game together,” Aresco said. “We think there will be significant interest from TV entities, but it’s premature. We haven’t gone that far.”
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said during a radio interview Thursday on the “Tim Brando Show” that a decision on adding a seventh game could be six to nine months away.
Aresco spearheaded the push for a seventh game because the Big East stands to benefit most from its addition. The Big East has had an automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series since it was implemented in 1998. Now that the BCS is going away and the conference is losing some major players, the rebuilt Big East is trying to regain its standing in college football’s hierarchy.
What used to be considered the Big Six conferences in major college football _ the Big East, along with the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, Pac-12, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference _ is now often being referred to as the Big Five.
“We know we’re a very strong conference and I don’t want a narrative like that to take hold,” he said. “Because it’s just wrong.”
He pointed out that one prominent sports website’s most recent conference rankings placed the Big East fifth.
“And I won’t mention who we are ahead of,” he said.