Bye bye, AQ status

Say good-bye to automatic qualifier status.

On the same day BCS officials announced they were moving toward a four-team playoff, they also made official the news no Big East fan wanted to hear. There will no longer be AQ designations for any conference, potentially making it harder for the Big East to get one of its teams into a marquee bowl game every season.

Under current BCS rules, the Big East was one of six conferences to automatically get a spot in one of five BCS games.

Getting rid of AQ designation had been on the table as part of BCS discussions, so the news does not come as a real big surprise. But at least there is some clarity on the issue.

There is still plenty of uncertainty on several other issues, including how teams will be selected for a four-team playoff, how the BCS bowls fit into a playoff, how teams would be picked for the BCS games not a part of the playoff, and how revenue will be distributed. Currently, the six conferences designated as AQs receive a far greater share of BCS revenues than the non-AQs. Last season, the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, ACC and Big East got more than $20 million each.

Compare that to the Mountain West, for example, which received $12.8 million, and the WAC, which received $4. 1 million. With AQ status gone, figuring out how revenue is going to be distributed remains a huge point that must be settled. The Big East cannot afford to lose its spot as one of the leagues that brings in the most money, particularly since it is expanding to 13 teams.

Though there has been much worry from fans about whether Boise State and San Diego State would back off their commitment to the Big East depending on AQ status, neither one has wavered in their intent to join for the 2013 season as football-only members.

The next move is for the commissioners of all 11 leagues to bring the proposals under consideration to their respective universities for further discussion. Another BCS meeting is scheduled for June in Chicago.

Remember, all of these changes take effect beginning with the 2014 season. AQ designation is a part of the BCS for 2012 and 2013, so the Big East retains its spot as an automatic qualifier for these next two seasons.