Holiday Bowl to be Big Ten vs. Pac-12?


Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With the College Football Playoff looming in 2014, the bowl landscape of 2014 is set to get a bit of a shakeup as well. Larry Scott has made it clear in the past that he’s been looking to augment the conference’s bowl footprint, but it appears as though the Big 12 could be beating the Pac-12 to the punch.

The Cotton Bowl, the former destination for the No. 2 Pac-12 team, currently features the best non-BCS teams from the Big 12 and SEC. This past January, it pitted Oklahoma and Texas A&M, with the Aggies pummeling the Sooners 41-13. But the Cotton Bowl will be under control of the College Football Playoff beginning next year, creating a dilemma for the Big 12.

According to Chuck Carlton of the Sports Day DFW in Dallas, the conference plans to make the Alamo Bowl their most lucrative non-CFP bowl, and are not planning to renew their contract with the Holiday Bowl, which currently gets the fifth pick out of the Big 12.

"One question is how much money the Big 12 would want for the selection. The Alamo has a reported payout of $3.175 million, about half a million under the Cotton Bowl’s Big 12 payout. Think Mickey, not Shamu. A relationship dating back to the 1998 with the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl will end with the 2013 game, multiple sources indicated. The Holiday Bowl is likely to broker a Big Ten matchup with the Pac-12."

With the Big 12 pulling the plug on their ties to San Diego and what has become one of the most anticipated and prestigious December bowls, it’ll be interesting to see if Larry Scott and Pac-12 stay put.

Currently, the Pac-12 gives the Holiday the third choice of bowl eligible teams from the conference, after the Rose Bowl and the aforementioned Alamo Bowl. And ironically enough, despite the coveted Pac-12 selection, USC has never played in the Holiday Bowl and 2012 marked the first time that UCLA had even headed southward.

With the Big 12 seeking more money for a better selection in San Antonio, the Pac-12 could seek out a similar move or find an additional bowl for the conference’s No. 2 choice, which would put Scott in a bidding war with the Big 12 for a Florida bowl.

The Pac-12 does not have a tie-in with the SEC and has traditionally been behind the eight ball on bowl games, with the SEC having three non-BCS January bowl tie-ins, while the Pac-12 fails to have even one.

The way college football is progressing with the rise of both the spread offense and power pro-sets, a Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup would be an ideal clash of culture and style, much like Texas A&M’s pleasant addition to the SEC in 2012.

For now though, it looks like the Pac-12 has more tradition in store, with more of the Big Ten, setting up a potential battles like Oregon State vs. Purdue and Cal vs. Michigan State.