Joining in the Big Ten in both the Holiday Bowl and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowls will be the Pac-12 Conference, but only the Big Ten will be “adding” the tie-ins with both California-based bowls. While the “tie-in” for the Big Ten will be a bit more up-in-the-air (we’ll come back to this), the Pac-12 will continue to send its 3rd-best team to the Holiday Bowl, while the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will be bumped up to the #4 spot under the new agreement.
The aforementioned Big Ten tie-in is an interesting one, because it applies to the entire league more so than just these two bowls. The conference will go to an unprecedented “tier” system where they’ll work openly with the bowl games that they are tied to (Outback, Capital One, etc.) in order to generate multiple teams to different places each year. It’s a unique idea, but frankly, the jury is still out as to whether it will be effective.
This announcement of partnership with two bowl games isn’t the tip of iceberg for the Big Ten, as the league has announced several changes this season, including a wild new idea to partner with the Detroit Lions to start/rebuild a bowl game in Detroit. The west coast influence of the league will be on display, as their “traditional” Rose Bowl match-up with the Pac-12 has been a fan favorite, and it’ll be interesting to see how these new match-ups will fare in both fan interest and overall impact.