The Big Ten and the Pac-12 conferences have traditionally met in the Rose Bowl. On Monday, the partnership between the two conferences became a little closer.
The Holiday Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowls both announced deals with the two leagues that will begin in 2014. The Pac-12 was already tied into both bowls. The Big Ten replaces the Big 12 in the Holiday Bowl.
The Fight Hunger Bowl — which moves to Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, in 2014 — is the big winner. It now gets the Pac-12’s No. 4 team, after the College Football Playoff selection, the Alamo Bowl and the Holiday Bowl.
The Holiday Bowl gets the Pac-12’s No. 3 selection, after the Alamo Bowl. The Big Ten says it will not slot teams into bowl games, preferring to work with bowl officials year-to-year and avoid sending member schools to the same bowl games multiple times.
Both bowl agreements are for six years, longer than in the past.
“We’ve enjoyed relationships with the Big Ten for some time,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “We’re delighted to be extending these relationships and agreements. We feel that we’ll really take a big leap forward with these relationships. This deepens the already good relationship that we have with the Big Ten.”
Each of the sides had good reasons to expand their partnership. The Big Ten wants to expand its recruiting brand beyond the Midwest, and with the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco and the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, there is an opportunity for the conference to plant its flag in a pair of the West Coast’s biggest markets. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney said he estimates 300,000 Big Ten alums live on the West Coast.
With Monday’s announcement, both conferences are seeking a postseason upgrade, with matchups that will appeal to both fans and television audiences.
The Fight Hunger Bowl, which has been played in the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park and has a tie-in with BYU this year, moves to a 68,000-capacity football facility that will host the 2016 Super Bowl. After years of changing affiliations and locations, it finally has some stability.
Much of the same can be said for the Holiday Bowl, which is looking for a new title sponsor after its deal with Bridgepoint Education recently ended.
The Holiday Bowl said that it expects to have an announcement on a new title sponsor in the near future.
“Our objective in the new agreement was to elevate the game,” Holiday Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli said. “Specifically we wanted to move into the Pac-12 and secure the highest quality opponent possible. We feel that we accomplished that. It’s a good day. We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to.”
In each case, said Delaney, “We’re all excited to enter into this deal and we think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the conference,” Delaney said. “To play the Pac-12, a league that we know so well, makes it even more special.”
The Pac-12 and Sun Bowl also announced a new, six-year agreement on Monday. Scott said he would announce additional Pac-12 bowl tie-ins and the pecking order at a later date.
Pac-12 Bowl lineup
• College FootballPlayoffs/Rose Bowl
• Alamo Bowl
• Holiday Bowl
• Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
• Sun Bowl
• Las Vegas Bowl
• New Mexico Bowl