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Big Ten ADs like 'national' bowl lineup

5/14/2013

CHICAGO -- The Big Ten hasn't officially announced its bowl lineup for 2014 and beyond, but the pieces are starting to take shape.

Here's what we know so far:

  • The Big Ten champion will be in the Rose Bowl unless the Rose Bowl is a national semifinal and a Big Ten team doesn't qualify for the Playoff or isn't placed in Pasadena. The Big Ten champion will appear in another major bowl (Fiesta, Sugar, Cotton or Chick-fil-A Peach) in years it's not at the Rose.

  • The Big Ten will make at least three appearances in the Orange Bowl during the next 12-year cycle. The ACC champion will face a Big Ten team, an SEC team or Notre Dame -- the highest-ranked squad of the three -- in years where it's not part of the Playoff.

  • The Capital One and Outback bowls are expected to remain part of the Big Ten's rotation. Colleague Heather Dinich recently reported that the ACC could take the Big Ten's spot in the Capital One Bowl in years where the Big Ten has a team in the Orange.

  • As colleague Brett McMurphy reported Monday night, the Big Ten and ACC will share tie-ins with the Gator and Music City bowls during a six-year span. So the Big Ten will make three appearances in Jacksonville and three in Nashville -- to face SEC opponents -- between 2014-19.

  • Other bowls expected to remain in the Big Ten's rotation include Buffalo Wild Wings in Arizona, Heart of Dallas in Dallas and Little Caesars Pizza in Detroit.

  • Likely additions to the lineup include the Pinstripe Bowl in New York and the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said Tuesday that "everybody's in favor" of the Pinstripe Bowl and "all of us are very positive about the Holiday Bowl." Another bowl that could enter the mix is Kraft Fight Hunger in San Francisco. The Big Ten would face the ACC in the Pinstripe and the Pac-12 in the Holiday, although one or both bowls could be rotations like the Gator and Music City.

  • I've been told the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas won't be part of the next Big Ten lineup.

Got all that?

There are quite a few tweaks, a lot more flexibility and a lot more variety than the Big Ten's current lineup, which expires after the 2013 season. The league's athletic directors welcome the changes.

"We want to be national," Alvarez said. "We want to play at least two in Florida, we want to play in the desert, in Texas, in California, also New York and some place on the East Coast is an option. We want to spread our brand nationally."

There's also a stronger emphasis on creating more attractive matchups down the line and preventing teams and their fan bases from going to the same city or state year after year -- unless it's the Rose Bowl.

"The numbers don't lie," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "There's fan fatigue if you're going to the same area year after year. There just is. For many of our student-athletes, they would probably tell you the same thing. So one of the guiding principles that I support is the notion that we're going to try to move programs around and give you a chance to see other bowls, interact with other bowl committees, visit other venues, play other teams. To me, that's a healthy thing.

"We'd like to go to Pasadena every year, that's OK with us, but beyond that, the idea we can move around, go West, go East, go South, to me, is a good model and one that makes a lot of sense."

Brandon said an expanded bowl landscape helps the Big Ten recruit nationally and reach out to its alumni bases in all areas of the country.

The current lineup is very Florida heavy and very SEC/Big 12 heavy. The next lineup won't be.

"I like to play all the conferences," Alvarez said. "I don't necessarily want to play all SEC or all Pac-12. I'd like to have a mixture of all of them."