With the BCS era coming to an end soon, conferences are taking the opportunity to shuffle their bowl lineups and start going to new destinations. Let's take a look at the moves the Big 12 has taken, and where it'll stand when the College Football Playoff begins in 2014.
What will the Big 12's new bowl lineup look like?
Pending further changes, here's what the Big 12 announced this spring:
- Sugar Bowl (vs. SEC)
- Alamo Bowl (vs. Pac-12)
- Russell Athletic Bowl (vs. ACC)
- Liberty Bowl (vs. SEC)
- Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (vs. Pac-12)
- Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (vs. SEC)
- Heart of Dallas Bowl (vs. C-USA)
The Big 12 has traditional ties to two games that will be a part of the College Football Playoff, the Fiesta Bowl and Cotton Bowl. Those will both become access bowls, meaning Playoff bowls without conference ties for non-Playoff years. The Big 12's champion will play in the Sugar, Playoff ramifications excluded.
The Big 12 finally has a bowl game in Florida in the Russell Athletic Bowl. It's odd to think that for all the bowl games in that state, the Big 12 wasn't tied into one. The conference will also take up with the Liberty Bowl, which will give it another bowl game that's reasonably close to its geographical footprint.
Conversely, the Big 12 will no longer be going to the Holiday Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl. The conference won't completely lose its West Coast presence thanks to a pair of games in Arizona, so it's not a huge loss. The Pinstripe Bowl never made a ton of sense for the conference to begin with. New York City is great and all, but there's no connection between the Big 12 and the New York area, and pulling out after a handful of games isn't a big deal.
So where are all these games?
Texas: Dallas (Heart of Dallas), San Antonio (Alamo), Houston (Meineke Car Care)
Arizona: Phoenix (Buffalo Wild Wings)
Florida: Orlando (Russell Athletic)
Louisiana: New Orleans (Sugar)
Tennessee: Memphis (Liberty)
Any potential impact?
I doubt it. It's nice to play in bowl games that are located in fertile recruiting territories, but the possibility of maybe playing in front of a player's friends and family one time doesn't seem like a real differentiator. With the other top conferences shuffling their bowl lineups, the Big 12 had a chance to freshen things up a bit, and that's what it did.