The Southeastern Conference has announced its bowl tie-ins for 2014 through 2019. And the league has partnered with all of the bowls whose names had been kicked around since spring.
If you were holding out hope for a surprise matchup against with the Pac-12 or a new bowl outside the SEC’s footprint, you’re plain outta luck.
Here’s how the SEC’s new bowl selection process will work:
* The College Football Playoff selection committee will get the first opportunity to grab one (or more) SEC squads for its four-team playoff.
* The next best team in the SEC will be slotted into the Allstate Sugar Bowl (in years when that game is not a playoff semifinal).
* As part of a rotation, the next best SEC team will occasionally be chosen to take part in the Discover Orange Bowl.
* The Capital One Bowl will then choose an SEC squad for its game. That’s quite a fall for a game that for much of the ’90s g0t the SEC’s second-best team.
* After those bowls, a pool of six more games will exist. According to the league office: “In consultation with SEC member institutions, as well as these six bowls, the conference will make the assignments for the bowl games in this newly created pool system.” Mike Slive is quoted in the league’s PR release: “This bowl process gives us the best opportunity to address several issues that impact SEC fans, including the creation of intriguing matchups, the accommodation of travel for fans, reduced ticket obligations for our schools and a variety of assignments to help prevent repetitive postseason destinations.”
* The six bowls in the pool will be the Outback Bowl, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, as well as new partners the Texas Bowl (Houston) and the Belk Bowl (Charlotte).
* If there are still more bowl-eligible SEC teams, the Birmingham Bowl (currently looking for a new title sponsor) will get the first selection.
* The Advocare V100 Bowl will then get the last selection, again, if there are enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of those slots.
While we believe that SEC fans might like an occasional travel opportunity outside the league’s footprint, the Slive makes it clear that he and the league’s presidents feel differently. “We are pleased to have established a lineup of premier bowl games that will give our student-athletes a wonderful postseason experience and our fans the opportunity to travel to venues in the geographical footprint of the conference.”
Sorry, but a trip to either San Diego, Las Vegas or New York City would make a nice December trip for one SEC fanbase each season. Instead, two cities not exactly known as vacation hotspots — Houston and Charlotte — have been added to the league’s menu of games. We’ll grant ya that hose are nice, big cities with nice, big stadiums and nice, big payouts for the league and its members. But unless someone’s got family there, no one is saying, “Honey, how ’bout we Christmas in Houston this year!?!”
Below is a listing of the conferences that will be providing opponents for each of the SEC’s future bowl partners: Read the rest of this entry »