Don’t laugh. In the latest contract with the Bowl Championship Series and ESPN/ABC, if either the Pac-10 or Big 10 has its champion playing in the BCS title game, then the Rose Bowl MUST replace that team with any team that qualifies from a non-BCS conference. That means your Texas Christians, your Toledos.
Once again with the BCS, money (and the threat of being hauled before Congress) trump tradition.
Look at it this way — the odds of either USC or Ohio State getting to play for the national title any given year are pretty high (one of them has been in four of the last five years). Also, seemingly every year some little school qualifies to get crushed by one of the big schools (hello Hawaii).
Starting in 2011 when those two things happen together, we get a Rose Bowl of Toledo and Penn State.
Among the myriad of flaws with the BCS is that it has trampled the traditions of the blows. If Ohio State qualifies for the BCS title game and the Rose Bowl committee extends the invite to second place Illinois, what is wrong with that? The suits at Disney may not like the ratings and some congressman trying for the easy grandstanding may complain in congress, but so what?
What makes the Rose Bowl special is a tradition. Without that tradition it might as well be the Bank of America Bowl played in Pasadena, because then it is every other major bowl. Just with a better parade.