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BCS adding another game, not another site

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Guest donaltopablo

BCS adding another game, not another site

By TONY BARNHART

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 6/9/04

Atlanta's chances of hosting college football's national championship game all but vanished Wednesday when commissioners of the Bowl Championship Series conferences voted against adding another city to the list of BCS bowl sites.

Instead, people familiar with the vote said, the BCS will add a fifth game by playing it at the site of one of the four current BCS bowls -- the Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar. Whichever bowl hosts the BCS national championship game will host another game, too.

This isn't a post-bowl playoff. It's just an expansion of the BCS by one game, allowing two more teams to share in the huge amounts of money the BCS generates. At least one of the additional teams is likely to come from a non-BCS conference. The BCS conferences are the ACC, Big East, Big Eight, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC.

The new format, expected to be approved by college presidents from the BCS conferences, would go into effect after the 2006 regular season. The BCS has scheduled a news conference for today.

"This may be the best thing for the current [bowls that are] BCS members, but I'm not sure it's the best thing for college football," said Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl president Gary Stokan. "Obviously we're disappointed because we felt like we made a compelling case for the fifth BCS bowl to be in Atlanta."

If the new plan were in effect this season, about a week after the four BCS bowls Jan. 1-3, the BCS national championship game would be played at Pro Player Stadium, which is also the site of the Orange Bowl.

BCS bowls pay each participating team about $14 million. The five non-BCS conferences, known as the Coalition -- Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and WAC -- want their share. No Coalition conference member has played in a BCS bowl since the BCS' inception in 1998.

That is likely to change. If a Coalition team finishes in the top 12 of the BCS standings, it is expected to play at the site that is hosting two games.

Originally, the plan was to add a fifth site to the BCS mix, but the four BCS bowls didn't want to become part of a five-game national championship rotation.

ABC television, which pays the lion's share of the BCS bowl payouts, says a fifth game might not generate the additional $28 million needed to keep BCS payouts at $14 million per team. ABC Vice President Loren Matthews did say, however, that his company "could embrace" this "double-hosting" model. The BCS presidents told the Coalition they'd add a fifth bowl only if the marketplace would support it.

ABC paid $525 million over seven years in its current contract with the BCS. Negotiations on a new contract are about to begin.

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