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Big 12 Expansion: College Football Playoff Leaves Big East Out Of The Picture

College football changed forever on Tuesday, as conference commissioners and university presidents agreed to a four-team playoff system which will begin in 2014.

The playoff system will feature six bowls -- and many of them, we're already familiar with.

There will be three contract bowls -- the Champions Bowl, which is a partnership between the Big 12 and SEC, the Rose Bowl, which has a longstanding tradition between the Big Ten and Pac 12, and a bowl to be determined for the ACC, which is likely to continue its partnership with the Orange Bowl.

The three other bowls, called "access bowls," have yet to be determined, but the decision will force the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl to become bidders.

Further, the national championship game will go to the highest bidder. Hey, at least the NCAA is being honest about that it cares about in this instance -- money.

It's important to note, however, that the Big East appears to be left holding the bag.

Tuesday's decision possibly could squeeze the Big East out of the postseason, as its champion is no longer guaranteed a spot in one of the six major bowls.

Without a guaranteed spot, in the playoff picture, the Big East suddenly looks a lot less enticing to football-centric schools, such as Boise State, which is preparing to move to the Big East. It almost certainly rules out the half-baked idea that Notre Dame will become a Big East member in all sports -- not that anybody still thought that, with the Irish moving Olympic sports to the Big 12.

We'll see what rumors surface in the coming weeks regarding conference realignment, but it looks as though the playoff puts us one half-step closer to superconferences.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.