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The Emperor of the Four Kingdoms Welcomes You.
The Emperor of the Four Kingdoms Welcomes You.

It's not the Rose Bowl. Don't think of it that way at all. Think of this as the Big 12 and SEC finally realizing they don't need Blockbuster, and can in fact start streaming football wherever they like for whatever price they can get on the open market. The similarities between the old bowl system and Blockbuster should now become readily apparent: themed colored clothing, overpriced snacks and concessions, and absolutely zero mourning for their death.

The Champions Bowl really is a horrendous name, though, if that's what it's going to be. The masturbatory bowl name never goes far enough, and instead lingers their in the mesophere between nouveau-riche grasping and comfortable aristocratic security. Real barons like anonymous symbolic names like "The Magnolia Bowl" because of the non-specific beauty implied, while vulgar lottery-winners are just a semantic millimeter away from "PLATINUM DOUBLE BLOWJOB BOWL." We're sayin', go one way or the other, and stay away from the mealy-mouthed Champions Bowl crap that just oozes middle management meritage, okay? This sounds positively Big Ten Marketing-ish. We can't say anything worse about this than that.

The move does point out the dominance of the Big Four in college athletics, and please...pass that stick. We're poking the ACC and Big East. And we're poking. And while not dead, they're not objecting too much to this poking. When was the last time you really poked something with a stick? My, this is far ruder than we recall. Apologies, ACC and Big East. Continue that nap, and this truly is a lovely underpass.

The move does not kill the bowl system entirely, but it does build one tantalizing mechanism in: the bidding process for a hypothetical expanded playoff. When the four team test balloon soars through the air, the eight team will then roll out of the hangar, and we'll have another round of games to bid on with demonstrated market value. The extra bowl game in the short term eliminates Jim Delany's carping about taking a Rose Bowl team and putting them in the playoff, but in the long term it might as well be the utility lines and little stakes of wood reaching into the wilderness.

That's not the immediate strategy, but it will be a happy accident. In the short term this is about the schools walling off control of the sport from any outside forces: NCAA, bowls, and schools they feel don't cut it as top-tier who want to share the money they make. (Oh, and this will make them money.) In the long-term, it's consolidation, or as every Chinese emperor liked to call it, "the part where I get mine, and you get dying of cholera in a gutter." You can also use the word "triads" in place of "emperor" here. The dynamics are the same.