If the Big Ten can punt out, or share, the Holiday Bowl bid with the Big 12, as ESPN's Adam Rittenberg is reporting they have interest in doing, that would be a win for one of college football's most powerful conferences. A chance to get into California, expand their brand into a region that their fans want to visit and play a game against the Pac-12 is an ideal situation.
With the landscape changing in the next year, moving to the four-team playoff, the bowl tie-ins are shifting and evolving as well. For the Big Ten, with two new members entering the fold soon, that means finding more bowls to house their members, in addition to their mega deals with the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl.
Currently, the Big Ten has eight tie-ins. This season, a year that featured two teams ineligible due to sanctions, the conference used just seven of their slots in the postseason. Those seven bowls included two trips to Texas, a jaunt to Arizona by Michigan State, the Rose Bowl and three trips to Florida.
Throw in Rutgers, the future Big Ten member's trip to Florida for the Russell Athletic Bowl and the conference went to the Sunshine State four times.
Thanks to restructuring of the conference formerly known as the Big East, and the Big Ten, the Russell Athletic Bowl's tie-in, opposite the ACC, will likely come into question. While getting the Big Ten would be a coup for the bowl game, for the Big Ten it would be just another trip to Florida.
In addition to targeting another current Big East tie-in for his league, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Jim Delany is making the wise push westward. Through the Rose Bowl, the conference already has a presence in California, by grabbing an agreement with the San Diego bowl they would further cement their reach.
Going to Florida is something that the conference, both teams and fans, has complained about for quite some time. Playing the SEC on their home turf in multiple bowl games is not exactly the reward that appeals to the Big Ten faithful.
The Holiday Bowl, in San Diego, against the Pac-12, certainly would be.
Ultimately, for the Pac-12, Big Ten and even the Big 12, this decision will likely be a win-win. By splitting the bid, both the Big Ten and Big 12 would get to spend some more time in California. It would also free up the Big 12, in off years, to get to a state they do not visit often, Florida. When 2014 hits and the Big 12 is tied to the SEC, they're going to be looking to hit Florida a bit more often. A bigger bowl presence in the Sunshine State would certainly help.
As long as all things go according to plans, Jim Delany, and the Big Ten, are going to win again. That's certainly something that college football fans, as a whole, are used to seeing.
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