CHICAGO -- Some tweaking to the Bowl Championship Series rules gives greater access to the Rose Bowl to teams outside the six conferences with automatic BCS bids -- such as Utah.
"Under certain circumstances, they can play their way into the Rose Bowl, which hasn't been true in the past," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Monday at Big Ten media day. "That's additional access. Standards have been, I think, lightened to access the BCS."
The Big Ten and Pacific-10 champions are contractually bound to play in the Rose Bowl unless one of those teams qualifies for the national championship game.
Starting with the 2010 season and running through the 2013 season, the first time the Rose Bowl loses one of its conference champions and a team from one of the non-automatic qualifying leagues earns a BCS bid, the Rose Bowl must take that team.
Since the BCS was implemented in 1998, a team from a conference outside the automatic qualifying leagues has never played in the Rose Bowl.
The Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Pac-10 champions receive automatic bids to the five BCS games.
The champions from the Mountain West Conference -- where Utah plays -- Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference do not get automatic entry into the big-money BCS games, but can play their way in. The Utes, Hawaii and Boise State from the WAC have done that in recent years.