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<< NCAA College Football News Big 12 seeks out minor bowl games that fans can easily drive to
2013-04-22

As college football gets ready for a shake-up in its postseason system, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he would like to have reach agreements with five or six bowl games.

Bowlsby and the other nine major conference commissioners, along with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, will meet in southern California this week to pick the final three bowls to be involved in the six-site playoff rotation. Once those are in place, the conferences can turn their attention to the other bowls for 2014 and beyond.

The Big 12s current agreements, which end after this season, do not include a Florida game. Bowlsby said league officials want to change that, while keeping a strong hold on Texas and having a destination out West.

Also, Iowa States successful trip to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., last season at least in terms of ticket sales has the conference considering deals with bowls closer to campuses.

I think that probably did cause us to think about bowls closer to home, Bowlsby said in a recent phone interview.

Bowlsby declined to talk about specific bowls being targeted by the Big 12, but a person familiar with the conferences plans told The Associated Press league officials are interested in striking a deal with at least one of the Tennessee bowls games the Liberty Bowl or the Music City Bowl in Nashville.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference was not discussing details of its plans publicly.

The Liberty Bowls current agreements are with the Southeastern Conference, Conference USA and the Big East. C-USA and the Big East, which will change its name to the American Athletic Conference next season, have been drastically altered by realignment. Seven C-USA teams will join the American during the next two seasons.
Last year, the SEC did not have enough bowl eligible teams to fill the Liberty Bowl slot and game organizers struck a deal with Iowa State. Cylcones fans gobbled up tickets and about 25,000 showed up to watch their team lose to Tulsa. Ames, Iowa, is about a six-hour drive from Memphis.

Most of the other nine Big 12 schools are within seven to 10 hours of Memphis not a short trip but doable in a day.

Our guys said wed be well advised to have some bowl that we can drive to, Bowlsby said.

The Music City Bowls current agreements are with the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference.

The addition of West Virginia to the Big 12 last year has in part led the conference to turn its attention to the talent-rich southeast part of the country, especially Florida.

The Big 12s current bowl lineup includes: the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio; the Holiday Bowl in San Diego; Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston; the Pinstripe Bowl in New York; the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.; and the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.

Bowlsby said the conference expects to often have its champion in the final four when the playoff starts, plus send another highly rated team to one of the four other marquee bowl games. The Cotton Bowl is expected to be part of the playoff bowl rotation.

The Big 12 is unlikely to keep its affiliation with the Yankee Stadium game and there has been speculation the Holiday Bowl could switch to a Big Ten affiliation with that conference interested in playing more postseason games in California.

Weve had a 16-year partnership with the Big 12 and its been a great relationship, Holiday Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski said. We are right now looking at all of our options moving forward. Theres interest in the Big Ten, interest in the Big 12. Were looking at all options to make this the best bowl game that we can.

The top Florida games beyond the Orange Bowl the Outback Bowl in Tampa and the Capital One Bowl in Orlando have SEC-Big Ten matchups. Orlando also hosts the Russell Athletic Bowl earlier in the bowl season. That has tie-ins with the Big East and the ACC.

While the SEC seems likely to keep its flag planted in Florida, and the Big Ten isnt about to vacate the Sunshine State altogether, there could be a spot for the Big 12.
Bowlsby wasnt about to speculate.

Everybody is kind of holding their cards close to the vest right now, he said.
http://www.ncaa.com