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A good bowl selection day for the Pac-12, or was it?

From Pullman -- On the one hand, it was a banner Invitation Sunday for the Pac-12, which saw a record nine teams punch their tickets to bowl games. Even more impressive -- all nine schools played in the old Pac-10, with only Cal joining relative newcomers Utah and Colorado as conference deadweight. Indeed, if not for the hapless Bears from Berkeley, all the original members of the Pacific Coast Conference, Athletic Association of Western Universities and the Pac-8 would all be playing in the postseason.

Every Pac-12 team except Oregon State opened as the favorite in their bowl game, and the conference appears poised for a successful bowl season.

But in another sense, the Pac-12 athletic directors and commissioner Larry Scott likely can't help but feel disappointed. Oregon looked poised to play in the Sugar Bowl, giving the conference two BCS bowl berths along with Stanford in the Rose Bowl. By all the laws of God and man it should have happened. But not, apparently, the laws of the NCAA.

Despite the Pac-12's near-unanimous status as the second-best conference in the country, and despite the season-long hankering of college football fans to see Alabama's defense matchup against Oregon's offense, the Sugar Bowl chose the geographically closer Oklahoma Sooners as the Crimson Tide's opponent.

The spurning of the ducks had repercussions throughout the conference. We'll take a look after the jump.

Below are the 2013 Pac-12 bowls and per-team payouts (Note: According to, and most reports, the payout for the New Mexico Bowl is $456,000 per team. However, WSU athletic director Bill Moos said that he has been informed the payout will be $750,000). After expenses associated with travel to the bowl have been covered, the payout is split amongst the conference members.

  1. Stanford, Rose Bowl: $18 million
  2. Oregon, Alamo Bow: $3.17 million
  3. Arizona State, Holiday Bowl: $2.08 million
  4. UCLA, Sun Bowl: $2 million
  5. USC, Las Vegas Bowl: $1.1 million
  6. Washington, Fight Hunger Bowl: $1 million
  7. Washington State, New Mexico Bowl: $0.75 million
  8. Arizona, Independence Bowl: $1.1 million
  9. Oregon State, Hawaii Bowl: $0.75 million

Total: $29.95 million

Clearly a hefty haul for the Pac-12 conference, even with the costs of sending nine football teams and their support staff across the country. It's also apparent that the vast majority of revenue comes from the BCS bowls, with Stanford's Rose Bowl payout amounting to just over 64 percent of the total payout.

Now, let's look at that same list, but with Oregon going to the Sugar Bowl, which last had a payout of $17 million, but is capped at $6.3 million because Oregon is the second BCS team.

  1. Stanford, Rose Bowl: $18 million
  2. Oregon, Sugar Bowl: $6.3 million
  3. Arizona State,Alamo Bowl: $3.17 million
  4. UCLA, Holiday Bowl: $2.08 million
  5. USC, Sun Bowl: $2 million
  6. Washington, Las Vegas Bowl: $1.1 million
  7. Washington State, Fight Hunger Bowl: $1 million
  8. Arizona, New Mexico Bowl: $0.75 million
  9. Oregon State, Independence Bowl: $1.1 million

Total: $35.5 million

As you can see, by losing the Sugar Bowl the conference lost far more than it gained by virtue of having nine teams invited to bowls.

UPDATED: A BCS bowl payout is capped at $6 million for a conference's second team.

Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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