The Rose Bowl as we know it is about to die and we're all going to die along with it.
Well, okay, not that drastic. But things are going to be different in this new playoff format, and the Rose Bowl will be changing along with everything else. I know most of you don't care, but plenty of Pac-12 fans want to know what things will be like for their holy grail of every college football season.
After January 1, 2014 comes around, the Granddaddy of them all will just be like most of your granddaddies. Endearing, nostalgaic, but archaic. Even though Pac-12 vs. Big Ten will be preserved and it'll still be the premier New Year's Bowl wedged in the late afternoon/early evening slot, it won't have quite the same significance as before.
Here's how the new four-team college football playoff will be drawn up and how it affects the Rose Bowl.
1) If the Rose Bowl isn't a semifinal site, you can expect it to match up the Big Ten team and the Pac-12 team if it can at all costs. Expect there to be controversy every year of the playoff when the Rose Bowl has the semifinal and they end up with a borderline Big Ten/Pac-12 matchup, although there will probably be plenty of times this traditional matchup doesn't happen.
2) If the Rose Bowl isn't the semifinal, one of two things is likely to happen.
a) If neither the Pac-12 champion nor the Big Ten champion make it to the four-team playoff, you get your traditional Rose Bowl matchup like nothing ever changed.
b) If either the Pac-12 champion or the Big Ten champion (or both) make it to the four-team playoff, you end up replacing one (or both) of these teams with the runner-ups.
3) There is the possibility another great at-large team gets picked, but you figure with the BCS diminishing the remaining bowls, the Rose Bowl will do its best to preserve its traditional matchup, meaning no more
With Big Ten and Pac-12 teams likely to enjoy a very solid shot at making the four-team playoff on a regular basis,2 (b) seems like the most probable scenario. In other words, the Rose Bowl gets relegated to Holiday Bowl status a majority of the time.
Some things won't change. The fact that the bowl will probably remain Big Ten vs. Pac-12 most of the time is a huge deal. But for Pac-12 teams it will no longer be the ultimate goal. It'll be just like any other bowl in most cases. Their focus now hones in on making the Final Four along with being the conference champoin.
It's likely the Rose Bowl will endure. The brand name is too strong to crack. But will it retain its mystique?