CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Power conferences in college football gain even more strength

•The Cotton Bowl, left out of the BCS lineup, is back in the game thanks to Jones' 100,000-seat edifice-a-go-go.

•The endless days of school poaching and conference realignment may have run their course. The ACC, protecting its flank, made news by announcing that all of its members agreed to "grant of rights" conditions. That means any school that leaves would have to continue to pay its television money to the ACC.

This puts to end rumors of Georgia Tech going to the Big Ten and setting off a new round of reconfiguration. "I think it has the potential to sort of cool the waters," Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said this week.

•The Little Guys got to live. Karl Benson ran the Western Athletic Conference for years, until it was pummeled into extinction. He now overseas a Sun Belt Conference that should have a revolving door as its logo.

"I've added seven schools this year and lost five," Benson said.

The difference between the SEC and Sun Belt is astronomical, but Benson's league, in the new structure, will make at least five times the $2 million it annually banked a decade ago.

Boise State's epic win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl served as a showstopper and a door-stopper. "We added some value to the system," Benson said, speaking on behalf of the have-nots, of that win.

The rich got richer, for sure, but at least those in the poorhouse were not foreclosed on.

"Louisiana Monroe still can play LSU," Benson said. "That's important to the university."

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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