The Big Ten could be looking to line up a second bowl game in California. ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg writes on his blog today that the Big Ten and Holiday Bowl have a mutual interest. Why wouldn't they?
The Holiday Bowl meets all the criteria. It adds a new postseason location for the Big Ten, and an extremely desirable one in San Diego. It would ensure the Big Ten plays another Pac-12 opponent — the two kindred leagues currently are locked into just one bowl agreement, the Rose. And instead of adding to the glut of Jan. 1 Big Ten bowl games, the Holiday Bowl is played in late December, usually between Dec. 28-30 (last year's game took place Dec. 27).
As conferences continue to expand and realign the bowl contracts have been shuffled along the way. The Big Ten would certainly like to add to their bowl line-up to accompany their prized Rose Bowl tie-in and assortment of January 1 bowl games and more. The Holiday Bowl may have been overlooked at first but does make a lot of sense for the conference. Any excuse to get out in to California should be an easy sell for the Big Ten if the game has interest. According to Rittenberg, they do.
"Oh yeah, there's interest," Holiday Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski told ESPN.com. "Obviously, we're still tied in with the Big 12 and we're talking to them, but we're also interested in possibly tying in with the Big Ten. Everything's wide open right now."
Rittenberg also suggests one possibility would be for the Big Ten and Big 12 to work out an arrangement to split a bid to play against a Pac 12 opponent.
Right now conferences are getting a jump on lining up conference tie-ins for the new bowl cycle that will begin with the 2014-15 bowl season, when the new postseason championship format is put in play. With the Big Ten's upcoming additions of Rutgers and Maryland, it would not be a surprise to see the conference build a relationship with the Pinstripe Bowl, played in Yankee Stadium. The bowl game currently has ties with the Big 12 and Big East, but with the Big East brand undergoing massive changes it would not be a shock if the game parted ways with the Big East in favor of the Big Ten. Of course, if the Big Ten is truly going to have an interest in that bowl game, they should hope the Big 12 stays on board.
Penn State has played in the Holiday Bowl once, beating BYU 50-39 in the 1989 edition. Iowa and Nebraska have each played in the game three times (Nebraska playing in the game prior to joining the Big Ten of course). Ohio State and Michigan have each made two trips and Indiana and Illinois each have one Holiday Bowl appearance.