The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the name doesn't conjure up a lot of steam in the bowl game lineup. That was a problem the bowl was looking to solve and it appears they have as the Big Ten and Pac-12 will now square off in the bowl game on an annual basis from 2014 through 2019.
“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.
What's better for the bowl game than that? They'll be moving the game from AT&T Park to the new Levi's Stadium (the new home of the 49ers) in Santa Clara.
“Our objective entering negotiations for the next bowl cycle was to elevate the game,” said 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 Pac-12 will send it's 4th best selection to this game, a move of two slots higher in the pecking order from it's previous slot. As for the Big Ten, they will go with the same format they announced with the New Era Pinstripe Bowl – five teams in the six years of this agreement.
It won't be the first time a Big Ten team plays in this game as Illinois was a participant in the 2011 version of the game, winning 20-14 over Pac-12 foe UCLA.
The good news for fans is that all the team activities, hotels, and bowl week stuff will stay in San Francisco itself.
We'll have more on this and the expected announcement with the Pac-12, Big Ten, and the Holiday Bowl following the press conference at 4pmET today.