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June 24, 2013

Big Ten and Pac-12 extend bowl rivalry

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Already foes in arguably college football's most historic bowl game, the Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to extend their rivalry in the 2014 bowl season.

The two conferences -- which traditionally each send a representative to the annual Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. -- collectively announced on Monday a pair of six-year partnerships with with both the Holiday Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The Big Ten and Pac-12's co-affiliation with the two bowls -- which are each played in the state of California -- will begin with the 2014 postseason.

The Pac-12 already had a preexisting affiliation with the Holiday Bowl, which is played in San Diego. The Big Ten will be replacing the Big 12's spot in the game, as the latter conference looks to expand its postseason landscape to Florida and Tennessee. The Holiday Bowl will receive the third selection of bowl-eligible Pac-12 teams (behind the Rose and Alamo bowls), while it remains unclear how the Big Ten's representative will be chosen.

The Big Ten was previously affiliated with the Holiday Bowl from 1986-1994.

"The Big Ten Conference is pleased to return to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said. "During the bowl evaluation process we heard our directors of athletics and head coaches tell us that the Holiday Bowl was a reward destination they wanted the conference to be a part of."

The Fight Hunger Bowl is looking to add stability to its conference tie-ins. The game, which is currently played in San Francisco, has had affiliations with the Pac-12, ACC, MAC, and Brigham Young University. In the 2013 postseason, the game will feature BYU (assuming the Cougars are bowl-eligible) and a Pac-12 representative. In 2014, the bowl will move to the San Francisco 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Starting in 2014, the Fight Hunger Bowl will receive the fourth selection of bowl-eligible Pac-12 teams (behind the Rose, Alamo, and Holiday bowls), and will work with the Big Ten to "create the best possible matchup for the Pac-12 and ensure that at least five different Big Ten teams visit the Bay Area during the six-year term" of their agreement.

"The opportunity for the Big Ten Conference to play an annual bowl game in a world-class city like San Francisco, in a state-of-the-art, new NFL stadium, and in an area rich in football tradition appealed to our Directors of Athletics and head coaches," Delany said. "The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is a welcome addition to the national Big Ten bowl family, one we hope will also appeal to the many graduates, fans and friends of Big Ten football who work and live in Northern California."

The Big Ten's addition of two California bowl games comes just weeks after the conference announced an affiliation with the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, N.Y. The league is expected to continue its partnerships with the Capital One, Outback, Gator and Heart of Dallas bowls, and is reportedly in negotiations with the Music City Bowl and a new bowl game in Detroit.



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