Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

Big East to compete for playoff berth

The Big East will compete with four conferences that have not had BCS automatic-qualifying status for a guaranteed spot in the lucrative marquee bowl games when the new postseason system starts in 2014.

That group of five conferences just won't have a bowl of its own.

The conference commissioners decided Monday during a meeting with university presidents in Denver that the new four-team playoff will rotate through six games as planned.

In September, a proposal was put forth to add a seventh game that would match the best team from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference against a Pac-12 or Big 12 team when it did not host a semifinal.

But television networks weren't all that interested in paying more than $20 million a year more for a game that could feature low-profile teams. So the commissioners created a guaranteed bid to give the so-called group of five a place in the top games.

"This gives us an opportunity to compete," Big East commissioner Mike Aresco said. "That's what we want."

LEACH DENIES ABUSE: Washington State coach Mike Leach denied his players are subjected to any type of abuse, as alleged by star receiver Marquess Wilson, who quit the team Saturday. Leach said "there is no truth" to the accusations and described Wilson as a disgruntled player.

COACH CONTRITE: Tommy Tuberville took full responsibility for losing his cool with a Texas Tech graduate assistant along the sideline Saturday. The third-year coach called his actions "unfortunate" and said he apologized to Kevin Oliver, who works with special teams.

EAST CAROLINA: Coach Ruffin McNeill said former starting quarterback Rio Johnson is transferring.

HOUSTON: Cornerback D.J. Hayden was discharged from a Houston hospital six days after taking a hit in practice that tore a major vein that feeds the heart.

LOUISVILLE: Junior running back Senorise Perry will miss the rest of the season with a torn right ACL.

MICHIGAN ST.: Offensive tackle Fou Fonoti, out for the season with a foot injury, said he plans to take a medical redshirt and return next season.

TENNESSEE: Sophomore linebacker Curt Maggitt will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

WEST VIRGINIA: Junior receiver Ivan McCartney left the team for personal reasons.

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