Conference realignment and bowl preferences were the topics of discussion last month when the athletic directors of the Big 12 Conference met in Dallas, and it seems as though progress is being made in the bowl tie-in department.
It is being reported that the Big 12 is in talks with the Russell Athletics Bowl. The deal being discussed would commit the Orlando, FL based bowl to selecting a Big 12 team as one of the competitors in the contest every year beginning in 2014.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has previously stated that the conference wants to secure a tie-in with a Florida based bowl in order to establish a Big 12 presence in the pipeline recruiting state. If a deal is struck then the Big 12 would have commitments from bowls to select a member of their conference in the three states that produce the most recruits; Texas, California, and Florida. The Big 12 already has tie-ins with four bowls in Texas and one in California. The Big 12 has also been talking with the Jacksonville, FL based Gator Bowl.
The Russell Athletics Bowl currently has contracts with the Big East and ACC, but those deals expire following the 2013 season. The bowl wants to stay committed to the ACC, so the Big 12 would be taking the Big East’s spot in the bowl.
A bowl game commitment in Florida would be huge for the Big 12, especially against the ACC. The ACC and SEC are currently the biggest draws for Florida recruits, and tapping into that source would allow the Big 12 to strengthen itself while stealing talent from competing conferences. That is a pretty sweet deal.
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