There's been talk for awhile about changing the way we do bowls. This year there are 80 bowl games, which includes a handful of 5-7 teams and a bowl game featuring two teams from the same conference that won't be on TV.
So it should be no surprise that these kinds of conversations are happening around conference offices.
John Swofford said ACC AD’s voted to increase bowl eligibility to 7-5 record. Obviously would have to pass nationally before any changes— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 9, 2015
And this isn't just the ACC.
Part of the problem is that bowls make money for the people who care most: the organizers. Bowl organizers make six-figure salaries to organize this once a year event. ESPN makes bank showing them on TV because we'll all watch. And teams want more bowls so they get more time with their team once the regular season ends. So in reality, this was a very foreseeable problem. (Shocker.)
What wasn't exactly in the cards was the bowls taking power away from the conferences. Bowls get to pick teams, not conferences. It's how an 8-4 Pitt team gets leapfrogged in selection by 7-5 teams in Tier One bowl selections.
And this is why this is happening. I'm not sure that anything will happen directly per se. But I do think that this is a step of conferences pulling the power back to the schools and conferences. ESPN pays the conferences to broadcast the games (regular and postseason), but when the schools and conferences lose money by attending the bowl, they're effectively paying ESPN to pay itself for broadcast rights. Makes no sense, right?
So how does this all affect Syracuse. Stop me if you've heard this before but getting to bowls is kind of important in building a program. And playing Notre Dame, LSU, Florida State, Clemson, Wisconsin etc doesn't make that easy (see John's body of work on the subject). At some point in time, we knew this scheduling would bite us in the ass. The ACC's power play could be that moment where a really talented 2017 team eeks out 6-6 and misses a bowl.
... Of course, that would require bowls to go away. But increased rate of change in college football lately, you never know.