Delany: Big Ten bowl lineup taking shape

June, 17, 2013
6/17/13
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Bits and pieces continue to come out about the next Big Ten bowl lineup, which will take effect in 2014. We know the league has added the Pinstripe Bowl to its lineup, that it will be involved in the new Detroit Lions-run bowl and that it will likely add at least one more California game (Holiday) if not two (Kraft Fight Hunger).

So when will we see the full, official lineup? Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN.com on Friday that he hopes it will be "weeks, not months." And from his point of view, the league has accomplished its goals with the next lineup.

"I think what you'll see is a truly national slate of bowls," Delany said. "I think you'll see us probably stronger on the West Coast than we've been. You'll see us as strong in Florida as we've been, but probably not as much on New Year's [Day]. I think you'll see us in Texas, and you'll see us with some games in our region, some games on the East Coast. I think it's going to be a great slate. We've made a lot of progress."

One of the league's objectives was to create more variety in terms of locations and opponents, and it appears to have done so by adding the ACC as an opponent in the Pinstripe and likely the Lions bowl, and also at least one more Pac-12 opponent in California.

"We're still going to have a good relationship with the SEC, but I also think we'll have more relationships with the other conferences," Delany said. "I think it's going to be a great alignment of bowls and opponents in regions that matter to us."

The Big Ten is also working to change how the bowl process operates. The league will be much more involved with the selection of teams, requiring bowls to select at least five different teams during each six-year cycle. Delany said the conference will "have the right to approve" selections made by bowls. That would be a change from the current official policy, as the conference and the bowls have insisted that the league does not get involved in the selection of teams.

"We don't want the same teams going back to the same bowls year after year," he said.

And the Big Ten is also seeking lower ticket guarantees for bowls, so schools don't get stuck paying for thousands of unused tickets while fans find better seats from third-party brokers.

"We've been trying to create a model that's more realistic," Delany said. "We'll take fewer, better tickets. If that means the payouts have to come down some, that's OK. Because it makes no sense to overpay on tickets, over-commit and find out you're really subsidizing the bowls, financing your own game.

"I think generally speaking, the bowls have been supportive. They want to see more diversity of teams and opponents. So I think it's a good evolution for us and for them and for our fans. After 20 years of tie-ins, we need to freshen up a bit, both as a business model as well as the collaboration of the conferences and the identification of teams."

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