The Big Ten’s bowl rebranding effort continued on Monday with the announcement of the Holiday Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl joining the future lineup. Both games will feature matchups against the Pac-12, beginning in 2014.
It’s been a busy offseason for the Big Ten, which already added the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium to a slate of bowl games that includes the Rose, Orange, Capital One, Outback, Gator and Heart of Dallas. The conference is also rumored to be bringing the Music City Bowl back into the fold as well as being part of a game organized by the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
The Big Ten has a rich tradition with the Holiday Bowl, having sent teams to the San Diego-based game from 1986-94. Ohio State has appeared in the game twice, defeating BYU both times. The Holiday Bowl will be second in the Pac-12's selection order.
“We are entering a new and exciting time for the Holiday Bowl,” said Bill Geppert, 2013 Holiday Bowl president. “The Holiday Bowl has a rich history as ‘America’s Most Exciting Bowl Game’ and this new agreement lays the foundation for continued success. In the ever-changing world of college football, we are excited to begin this new chapter that will no doubt provide a huge economic impact to San Diego as our community welcomes thousands of college football fans to our beautiful city every December.”
“The Big Ten Conference is pleased to return to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego,” Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. “During the bowl evaluation process we heard our Directors of Athletics and head coaches tell us that the Holiday Bowl was a reward destination they wanted the conference to be a part of. The Holiday Bowl has a long history and tradition of managing bowl games that have tremendous appeal to participating teams and their fans, and we are excited by the opportunity to return to an area of Southern California that has such a strong and vibrant Big Ten football following.”
The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, has only hosted one Big Ten team – Illinois, which beat UCLA, in 2011. The game is moving to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara in 2014 and will feature the No. 4 Pac-12 team.
"Our objective entering negotiations for the next bowl cycle was to elevate the game," said Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli. "Specifically, we wanted to move up in the Pac-12 and secure the highest quality opponent possible. We're thrilled that we've been able to achieve both goals. With a Pac-12 vs. Big Ten matchup and a new world-class stadium, we've positioned our game very well for the future."
"The opportunity for the Big Ten Conference to play an annual bowl game in a world-class city like San Francisco, in a state-of-the-art, new NFL stadium, and in an area rich in football tradition appealed to our Directors of Athletics and head coaches," Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. "The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is a welcome addition to the national Big Ten bowl family, one we hope will also appeal to the many graduates, fans and friends of Big Ten football who work and live in Northern California."
The Big Ten is in talks to put bowls at tier levels instead of having slotted selections for each game. So after the Rose Bowl, the picks would be based on a game's status, which creates flexibility for the conference. The Holiday Bowl will reportedly be a first tier game with the Kraft Fight Hunger being on the second tier.