Note on Rose Bowl selection process

As many of you know, the Rose Bowl selection procedures have changed for the next four-year BCS cycle.

The first time the Rose Bowl loses the Big Ten or Pac-10 champion to the BCS national title game, it must select an eligible team from a non-AQ league. This only would happen once during the four-year cycle.

But what if a team from a non-AQ league reaches the national title game on its own?

This question has become relevant because Pac-10 member Oregon is ranked No. 1 nationally, while two teams from non-AQ leagues -- No. 3 TCU and No. 4 Boise State -- aren't far behind.

It's very possible we could see the Pac-10 champion (Oregon) against a team from a non-AQ conference (TCU or Boise State) in the title game Jan. 10 in Glendale.

If that's the case, would the Rose Bowl still have to replace Oregon with a team from a non-AQ league?

I checked with the Rose Bowl and the answer is no. If TCU goes to the national title game, the Rose Bowl would not have to select Boise State, or vice versa. However, the Rose Bowl could select TCU or Boise State as an at-large selection and fulfill its obligation to take a team from a non-AQ league once during the four-year cycle.

This presents an interesting decision for the folks in Pasadena if, say, Boise State is available for an at-large pick. The Rose Bowl could pick the Broncos, who have won BCS bowl games and have spent all season in the national spotlight. The bowl game also would be off the hook with teams from non-AQ leagues for the next three years.

Alternatively, the Rose Bowl could stick with the traditional Big Ten versus Pac-10 matchup and select a team like Stanford to face the Big Ten champion. Stanford certainly looks worthy of a BCS bowl, and it's likely that the Rose Bowl will once again lose the Big Ten or Pac-10 champ to the title game sometime in the next three years.

Just wanted to clue you in on what might happen when the bowl selections are announced Dec. 5. It should be an interesting day.