Gator Bowl to Drop Big East

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Gator Bowl to Drop Big East

The Jacksonville Financial News and Daily
Record
reported Thursday that the Gator Bowl is going to drop the Big East
Conference from its lineup and replace them with the Big Ten or the Big 12. The
ACC will continue its affiliation with the bowl, which currently selects the
ACC’s #2 team after the BCS selects the league champion. The new
matchup of Big Ten/Big 12 versus ACC would begin with the Gator Bowl that
follows the 2006 season, meaning that the current Big East/ACC matchup has just
one more year.

Gator
Bowl: Big Ten or Big 12
Jacksonville
Financial News and Daily Record
, 5/5/05

This news is not unexpected, due to ACC expansion removing
Miami, Boston College, and Virginia Tech from the Big East, and it might give ACC fans
something to look forward to: a bowl matchup with a Big Ten team. The ACC
currently has non-BCS bowl tie-ins with the Big East (Gator Bowl and the Meineke
Car Care Bowl,
formerly the Continental Tire Bowl), the WAC (MPC Computers Bowl),
the SEC (Peach Bowl), and the Big 12 (Champs Sports Bowl). A matchup with the
Big Ten would be something new and would open up potential games with Penn
State, Michigan, Ohio State, and other Big Ten storied programs.

Virginia Tech has only played one game against a Big Ten
team in the history of the VT program, a 45-20 victory over Indiana in the 1993
Independence Bowl. The Hokies have home-and-away series scheduled with Wisconsin
(2008/2009) and Ohio State (2014/2015).

It’s unknown which selection from the Big Ten or Big 12
would be pitted against the ACC, because a number of variables affect that
situation. Both conferences have bowl contracts up for renewal, and both
conferences have second-tier bowls with payouts significantly higher than the
$1.6 million reportedly paid out by the Gator Bowl.

It’s not even known if the ACC #2 will continue to be the
Gator Bowl’s selection, or if they would drop to ACC #3. The loser of the ACC
Championship game would be the #2 ACC team, so if the ACC #2 goes to the Gator
Bowl, that would mean two trips to Jacksonville for games within one month.
Also, the
Peach Bowl, which currently gets the #3 ACC team, pays out more than the
Gator Bowl ($2.2 million for the Peach versus $1.6 million for the Gator).

Here are the bowl tie-ins and guaranteed payouts for each
conference (payout info is from Landmark News Service/Roanoke Times, Dec. 16,
2004).

ACC,
Big Ten, Big 12 Bowl Tie-Ins
Selection ACC Big Ten Big 12
#1 BCS ($11-14 million)
BCS ($11-14 million)

BCS ($11-14 million)
#2 Gator ($1.6 million) Capital One ($5.2 million) Cotton ($3 million)
#3 Peach ($2.2 million) Outback ($2.75 million) Holiday ($2 million)
#4 Champs Sports ($850k)
Alamo ($1.55 million)
Alamo ($1.55 million)
#5 Meineke Car Care ($750k) Sun ($1.5 million) Independence ($1.2 million)
#6 MPC Computers ($750k) Music City ($780k) Houston ($1.1 million)
#7   Motor City ($750k)
Champs Sports ($850k)
#8     Fort Worth ($750k)

The Gator Bowl, with its current payout of $1.6 million
(reported as high as $1.8 million elsewhere) can be competitive with the Big
12’s Holiday Bowl and Alamo Bowl payouts, particularly if the Gator increases
its payout. The Gator would have a harder time being competitive with the
lucrative payouts of the Big Ten’s second-tier Capital One Bowl ($5.2 million)
and Outback Bowl ($2.75 million), dropping the Gator to fourth on the Big Ten’s
payout list.

But as noted, some contracts with the Big Ten and Big 12
bowls are up for renewal (it’s not known which ones), so there may be some
shuffling of bowl lineups, particularly with the ACC’s new status as a 12-team
conference.




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