- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Prepare to say goodbye to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl as a Big Ten bowl, though the league could still send a team to Detroit for the postseason.
Colleague Brett McMurphy reports that the NFL's Detroit Lions are planning to create and operate their own bowl game at Ford Field beginning in the 2014 season. That would eliminate the Little Caesars Bowl, which is played at the same stadium.
McMurphy reports that the Lions would keep the Big Ten as an anchor in the bowl, but the other slot would no longer belong to the MAC. Instead, an ACC team would likely be the Big Ten's opponent in the game.
This year marks the final year of a four-year deal pitting the No. 8 selection from the Big Ten versus a MAC opponent. However, Big Ten teams have appeared in the game only three times in the last 11 years, most recently in 2011 when Purdue beat Western Michigan.
This seems like a good thing for the Big Ten, since Detroit is obviously within the footprint of the league. While conference teams haven't exactly been aiming to play in the Little Caesars Bowl, facing an ACC team instead of a MAC opponent will make for a much more interesting game.
After not having a bowl tie-in against the ACC in the last bowl go-round, the Big Ten would now be facing that league more often, including in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. A common complaint from Big Ten fans has been that their teams have to basically play road games in bowls; that shouldn't be the case with this game. With 14 teams in 2014, the league will be going to Ford Field more often than it did in its previous contract.
But I can't let this pass without asking one lingering question: What the heck do the Detroit Lions know about postseason football, anyway?
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney