NEW YORK -- Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said here yesterday that chances were remote of a New Year's Day bowl alliance starting this year rather than next year as originally planned.
Speaking at his league's basketball Media Day, Tranghese called Tuesday's report by The Associated Press "a non-issue."
The report suggested that officials from the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Cotton bowls were considering a move to wait until after Florida State played Florida Nov. 30 to extend their invitations, rather than going ahead on Nov. 17.
"No one has talked with me about it," Tranghese said. "I think there would be some significant problems doing it this year, and I was one of the people pushing last spring for it to start this season. Now they want me to go along with it, and I don't think I can."
The alliance was formed last spring by the Orange, Sugar and Cotton bowls with the Big East, Atlantic Coast Conference and Notre Dame to enhance the chances of a true national championship game's being played nearly every year. The Fiesta Bowl was later added to the mix.
ACC assistant commissioner Tom Mickle said yesterday: "The AP story was the first I heard of it. It's not a bad idea, but it's [waiting until after the season to make formal invitations] never been a bad idea. I would doubt that they could do it at this point."
Sugar Bowl executive director Mickey Holmes said that he had not discussed the possibility with the other bowl officials involved in the alliance when the AP story came out Tuesday night. Holmes, whose game would stand to gain if invitations came out after the regular season, was a bit skeptical that things could be worked out.
"The only way is for the four of us to agree on it, and to get the schoolsinvolved to agree on it," said Holmes. "I'd still like to see the best matchups, but the reason it won't happen this year is dollar signs."
Holmes was referring to the fact that the Fiesta Bowl, which doesn't have a corporate sponsor, had planned to pay only $2.5 million per team compared with the estimated $4.2 million paid by the other three games. It was announced yesterday that NBC would raise the payout to around $3 million a school if the game was played for a national championship.
As it stands, the only way for the Fiesta Bowl to be host to a !! national championship game is for Notre Dame to keep winning and for Miami to beat Florida State Nov. 16 in Tallahassee. The Fighting Irish play host to Tennessee this week, play at Penn State next week and close out the season Nov. 30 at Hawaii.
Those familiar with the bowl jockeying said last week that if the top-ranked Seminoles were to beat Miami, they would likely stay near home and play the Big Eight champion in the Orange Bowl. But Nebraska's tie with Oklahoma Saturday meant that the Big Eight had nobody in the top 10, and Florida State might reconsider its position.
Florida State has already beaten Michigan, which is likely going to win the Big Ten and play Washington (tied with Miami at No. 2) in the Rose Bowl. If the Seminoles beat Miami, they still must come out of Gainesville 12-0 to play for the national championship.