Twenty years ago when the BCS was first formed, the power brokers in college football were the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference.
Then SEC commissioner Roy Kramer and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany had the best product and access to the most prestigious New Year's bowl games--the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
Four years ago, when the CFB Playoff system started, the Big Ten and SEC were still the powers, the Rose and Sugar Bowls were still the premier bowl games and then SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and now Com. Greg Sankey and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany were still wielding most of the power.
One of the deal breaking demands of the SEC and Big Ten has always been that the Rose Bowl would not give up its New Year's Day late afternoon (in East) time slot and the Sugar Bowl would not give up its New Year's night slot.
Let the other bowls fiddle with their match ups and their dates.
This season, the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl will host the Final Four semifinals on--Sat. Dec. 29th, which means competition from the NFL, and other holiday activities..
The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl weren't giving up anything.
In the years they host the semifinals (and they are always paired together) they would have the best teams on the one day of the year that even the NFL (with the exception of Jan 1 falling on a Sunday) does not challenge CFB's dominance.
And in the year's in which they weren't part of the Final Four, they would still have the time slots and teams from the SEC and Big Ten playing on Jan 1.
The one thing they couldn't control was the caliber of the Big Ten or SEC teams in non Final Four seasons.
Which brings us to this weekend's conference championship games, after which the bowl pairings will be set.
Once again, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl could turn out to be big winners, despite having no real stake in the conference championship results.
The Sugar Bowl match up will be an SEC vs. Big 12 game, while the Rose Bowl will be its usual Big 10 vs. Pac-12 battle.
The people at the Sugar Bowl are rooting for Alabama to beat Georgia in Atlanta in the SEC championship game, which will send the Bulldogs to New Orleans against either Texas or. Oklahoma, who will battle in the Big 12 championship game.
Either way a Georgia vs. Oklahoma (rematch of last season's Rose Bowl thriller) or a Georgia vs. Texas New Year's night meeting will be a ratings winner.
If Alabama is upset by the Dawgs and the CFB has both Alabama and Georgia in the Final Four, the Sugar Bowl will then get an LSU vs.Texas-OU winner as its game. Another ratings hit.
The people at the Rose Bowl will be rooting hard for Ohio State to beat Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game, but it will have Michigan as its consolation prize.
The only real gamble for the Rose Bowl is if Utah beats Washington in the Pac-12 title game. A Washington-Ohio State or Washington-Michigan is the perceived better match up than having Utah as the Pac-12 rep
. But the anchor of Ohio State or Michigan will still be a big ratings winner for the Rose Bowl.