Since 1947 the Big Ten and Pac-12 have had a long standing relationship through the Rose Bowl. One could even say they've had a bromance from the very beginning of their relationship in the 1902 Rose Bowl. However, most of the bromance building has been done around the frequent regular season matchups between the conference schools. On Monday afternoon though, these conferences went from bromance to "bowlmance" with the addition of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and Holiday Bowl games to the lineup.
The current memberships of these two conferences have played 736 times, so clearly there's a long standing tradition between the two, but for the vast majority of their relationship things have been settled by the battle in the Rose Bowl. With the changing landscape of college football matchups in the Rose Bowl will have a different meaning on a whole different level and it means that the bowl game matchups announced today have a very big role in the annual bragging rights battle – one that previously had been won by whichever conference happened to host the other more – now it can be settled on neutral (albeit all California based) ground.
We once saw the two conferences get together on a formal agreement to play each other in regular season matchups, not just on an individual school basis. However, since then things may have seemed a bit rocky with the Pac-12 killing off the agreement – it left some wondering if this bromance was dying. After Monday's announcement of the second and third bowl games between the two long standing rivals and comrades it appears it has risen, like a Phoenix from the ashes, and has become a full scale bowlmance.
Heck, even the big word of "affinity" was thrown around when the two conferences along with heads of the two bowl games got together to talk about their new and growing relationships.
"Our conferences have a tremendous affinity for one another," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. "Obviously, a tremendous tradition of playing each other in the Rose Bowl. We have looked for ways to play each other more often and in a more systematic bowl alliance way, but also in an informal way in out of conference regular season play."
Interestingly, these two conferences got here not as partners that pitched these matchups to the bowl games, but independently of each other.
"It was something we were warm to," Scott said about getting together with the Big Ten in more bowl games. "It was something we welcomed, but it did not directly tie to what we've tried to do and what our schools do in the regular season."
There's no doubt that for two conferences that have played so many games over the years (current conference members vs. each other) the ties that bind are strong and that on Monday they got a whole lot stronger. It also just so happened that fans and TV ratings also got a major boost from these additions.
Outside of the bowlmance that is well underway Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany also hinted at the oft rumored Detroit Bowl as the Big Ten's "Midwest destination" in their search for a more national approach to their bowl game lineup.
He also let us all know how things will be done in the bowl game selection process. Clearly the champion is heading to the Rose Bowl/CFB Playoff scenario. From there there will be three tiers of bowl games with the Holiday and two Florida based bowls making up the top tier, the second tier made up of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and Pinstripe Bowl and another game, the rest in the final bowl lineup that should include 8-10 games (some with shared tie-ins).
From those tiers the conference will get final say over who goes where based on where they finish in the league and where they've gone for previous bowl games with no team playing at the same bowl game more than twice (outside of Rose Bowl obviously) in the new six year bowl agreement timeframe.
It all adds up to fans, bowl games, and TV viewers winning. Just think, you're never going to get a Badgers team making three trips to the Capital One Bowl, or MSU going back-to-back in the desert, etc. Now, the rest of the equation is the Big Ten teams stepping up and actually winning enough to fill the bowl game tie-ins. Ball is your court Big Ten football teams.