There is a rule in the BCS system pertaining to who goes to the Rose Bowl most PAC 10 and Big 10 fans don't know about, one that could result in a USC-Boise St. Rose Bowl down the road.
Or could exclude a PAC 10 team, like the Beavers.
Confusion seems to be woven into the BCS fabric, and this yet another example.
The Big 10 and PAC 10 champions for years have been contractually bound to play in the Rose Bowl. With the inception of the BCS, the only exception was if one of those teams qualifies for the national championship game.
In the past, if one of those traditional Rose Bowl' opponents was selected for the national championship game, the Rose Bowl could take the conference's second place team, regardless of record or ranking, preserving the traditional matchup.
That happened in 2008, when Ohio State played for the national title, and Illinois came west to face USC.
The Big Ten, Big East, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Pac-10 champions, as everyone knows, receive automatic bids to the five BCS games. The champions from the Mountain West Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference do not get an automatic entry into the BCS games, but they can play their way in. Utah from the Mt. West, and Hawaii and Boise State from the WAC have done that in recent years. That can reduce the number of at-large qualifiers, even though there could be a higher rated team from a BCS conference.
The recent appearances of Utah against Georgia in this year's Sugar Bowl, where Utah beat Alabama, and the 2005 and 2007 Fiesta Bowls, when Utah beat Pitt and Boise St. defeated Oklahoma, were cases where the non-BCS team was not a disadvantage to the bowl game involved.
But in the draw process that fills the BCS bowls, the Sugar Bowl was essentially "forced" to take a non-BCS team in Hawaii in the 2008 Sugar Bowl against Georgia. The selection was seen by the Sugar Bowl as hurting ratings, and the 41-10 humbling the Rainbow Warriors took from the Bulldogs made that fear a reality. This issue was addressed in the last round of television negotiations, resulting in bringing the Rose Bowl into the picture.
So starting with the 2011 game, if the the PAC 10 or Big Ten champion reaches the National Championship game, the Rose Bowl must fill the empty slot with a non-BCS team if that team is ranked No. 12 or higher. In 2008, it might have been Hawaii facing the Trojans on New Year's Day.
This is a one-time possibility, because once the Rose Bowl takes one non-BCS team, it has fulfilled its obligation, and can revert to the old rules until the current contract expires in 2014.
But it could exclude, say Oregon State from the Rose Bowl, and possibly any BCS bowl, if, say, USC wins the PAC 10 and is selected for the National Championship game, certainly a possibility, since that has already happened twice this decade, and the Beavers finish second, but maybe has a 10-2 record, due to maybe a loss in a couple of tough non-conference games. The 2012 season could set that up, when the Beavers are scheduled to face both Wisconsin and Boise St. And the Boise St. @ Oregon St. game scheduled for September 15, could be conceivably be for a Rose Bowl berth, in a non-conference game for both teams!
Imagine the talk-radio fodder that could produce!