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<< NCAA College Football News Big 12 seeks out minor bowl games that fans can easily drive to
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.
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CFB: Alamo Bowl - MICHIGAN STATE vs. TEXAS TECH (9:00 PM ET, ESPN)
Texas Tech players are insisting that the Mike Leach controversy will not be a distraction to them in the Alamo Bowl game vs. Michigan State. Still, minus their long-time head coach, you have to wonder whether they are capable of pulling it together to beat the Spartans, much less cover the heavy TD-chalk line they are laying at Sportsbook.com.
The Alamo Bowl game has been one of the few lately that Big Ten fans can actually look forward to. Their teams are 8-5 SU and 10-3 ATS in the L13 editions. Unfortunately, this is the last time for the immediate future that the conference will be in the game, with the Pac-10 stepping in. Big Ten teams boast a 20-9-1 ATS record in their L30 bowl games as an underdog of four points or more, often the case in this bowl series. For this year’s game, Michigan State (6-6) is a seven-point underdog to Texas Tech, which finished 8-4. Ironically, it is the Spartans with the edge in several offensive categories, including pass yards per attempt. Tech has lost its L4 bowl games ATS and is 0-2 SU and ATS in its L2 Alamo Bowl appearances.
Sometimes analysis is right in front you and that makes breaking down a game simple. Texas Tech is the No. 2 passing team in the country and Michigan State is 103rd at stopping the pass. The Red Raiders are an ordinary 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS versus other bowl participants. However, the Spartans are 1-4 SU and woebegone 0-5 ATS taking on the five teams they played that have postseason appearances. The Michigan State roster is thinner since it played its last game due to suspensions, but rallying the troops doesn’t protect a squad that played poorly against better competition and one that can’t stop passing teams. Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has not covered his last four bowl games (2-2), but that stops against an undermanned Michigan State club. Play Texas Tech.
Top FoxSheets.com ATS Trend
MICHIGAN ST is 19-37 ATS (-21.7 Units) in road games in the second half of the season since 1992. The average score was MICHIGAN ST 23.4, OPPONENT 31.3 - (Rating = 1*)
Top FoxSheets.com Total Trend
TEXAS TECH is 17-6 OVER (+10.4 Units) versus excellent offensive teams - averaging >=6.25 yards/play since 1992. The average score was TEXAS TECH 31.9, OPPONENT 34.7 - (Rating = 1*)
ALAMO BOWL Series Trend: There are a few significant patterns that have formed in the Alamo Bowl series. First, the Big Ten team is 8-5 SU & 10-3 ATS in the L13 games. Second, the underdog is on a 6-7 SU & 8-5 ATS run, and third, UNDER the total has converted in nine of the 13 years. The last four times the point spread was greater than a TD, the dog covered. All signs point to a low-scoring Michigan State ATS win.