Pac-12 & Big Ten to announce bowl partnership

USA TODAY Sports

The Holiday Bowl, which had hosted both the Pac-12 and Big 12, will now pit the conference against the Big Ten.

There is a cruel irony in reporting bowl news a season after the Utes missed a bowl game for the first time in a decade - but here we are. The Pac-12 is expected to announce today a bowl partnership with the Big Ten for the Holiday Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

The Big Ten will replace the Big 12 in the Holiday Bowl, while they will replace BYU, the ACC, and MAC in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. That latter bowl is anticipated to grow with a move to the new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, California - but that move won't happen for another season (BYU is expected to play in the bowl game this year).

The Holiday Bowl remains the biggest shakeup of the two considering the Pac-12 and Big 12 had a tie-in with that bowl game since a reshuffling in 1997 severed the bowl tie-ins with the WAC and Big Ten. So, I guess you could say that this is a return to history, as when the WAC champions played in the Holiday Bowl (mostly just BYU during that era), their opponents often turned out to be a Big Ten team.

I think this is fitting. The Big Ten has continually been the Pac-12's biggest conference rival (namely because of the Rose Bowl tie-ins) and this should only grow that rivalry.

While this won't impact the bowl tie-ins for the 2013 season, it will certainly play a role from 2014 and beyond. I'm still waiting for the Utes' shot at the Holiday Bowl considering they wasted away opportunities to make it to San Diego all those years in the WAC (most notably, 1994). It's a premier bowl game and with the addition of the Big Ten, looks certain to continue its trend as one of the more prominent holiday bowls in college football.

As for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which used to be the Emerald Bowl, I do anticipate this agreement will make it more substantial, though, to what extent I do not know.

Anyway, this somewhat makes up for the cancelling of the Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling agreement both conferences had planned a year or so ago, and further links both conferences to one another.

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