The Big Ten could be preparing to part ways with some of their Florida bowl game destinations with the intent of adding more diversity to the bowl line-up for the conference. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany suggested there could be a lot of changes for the conference’s bowl arrangements starting in 2014, according to ESPN.com.
The Big Ten has been having talks with potential bowl partners, which is typical as bowl contracts with conferences expire over time. The conference will continue with a partnership with the Rose Bowl of course. The bowl game agreed to contract extensions with the Big Ten and Pac 12 last summer that runs through 2026. The Big Ten could also be sending a representative to the Orange Bowl under the bowl game’s new structure with the ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame. The ACC champion, or next best available ACC option, will face the highest ranked team from the SEC or Big Ten (or Notre Dame) that is not already slated to play in the Sugar Bowl (SEC tie-in), Rose Bowl (Big Ten tie-in) or College Football Playoff.
The Big Ten’s new bowl partnerships will instead look to the smaller, less nationally prominent bowl games. One leading candidate appears to be the Pinstripe Bowl, played in Yankee Stadium. With the addition of Rutgers and a shift in conference presence to the larger east coast media markets, this makes all sorts of sense for the Big Ten. The Pinstripe Bowl currently has a contract with the big 12 and The American (formerly Big East). Another potential option appears to be the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. The Holiday Bowl currently has contracts with the Pac 12 and Big 12. It would be unlikely the California-based bowl game splits with the Pac 12, and the Big 12 is an ideal partner, but a split Big 12/Big Ten contract could be a feasible plan in the drafting stages.
“It’s really hard for three conferences, four conferences, to get together on the same page and deliver,” Delany said in the ESPN.com story. “Because ultimately the bowls are driven by the market. The Southeastern Conference is very popular. So I’m not going to go there and tell them what they should do with the SEC. We’re pretty popular. Some conferences are less popular.”
The Big Ten currently plays three bowl games in the state of Florida against SEC opponents. The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville was recently added to the bowl line-up for the Big Ten to go with the Outback Bowl (Tampa) and Capital One Bowl (Orlando). These bowl games may remain on the Big Ten’s bowl line-up, but nothing is guaranteed. The games that may be more at risk of Big Ten involvement include the Heart of Texas Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, and Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
Kevin is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Follow him onTwitter,Google+ and Facebook.