SAN FRANCISCO — The Big Ten and Pac-12 are strengthening their postseason ties with a pair of matchups in California bowl games.
The Holiday Bowl in San Diego and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco announced six-year agreements Monday for teams from each conference to play each other starting in 2014.
The Big Ten replaces the Big 12 in the Holiday Bowl, where the Pac-12 already had an affiliation. The Fight Hunger Bowl will have the Pac-12's fourth selection after the College Football Playoff, of which the Rose Bowl is a part, the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, and the Holiday Bowl.
The Fight Hunger Bowl, which is moving from the Giants' home at AT&T Park to the 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara in 2014, had been sixth. The Big Ten is not locking in a selection order with its bowl partners in the hopes of keeping the process flexible and giving more teams a chance to play in more places.
"Our objective entering negotiations for the next bowl cycle was to elevate the game," Fight Hunger Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli said in a statement. "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."
Conference commissioners Jim Delany of the Big Ten and Larry Scott of the Pac-12, along with bowls officials, were scheduled to hold a teleconference Monday afternoon.
Delany and other Big Ten officials had talked openly about playing more postseason games in California and the Big 12 also plans to give its bowl lineup a more southern flavor by adding games in Florida and Tennessee.
The Fight Hunger Bowl has had tie-ins with the Atlantic Coast Conference, the service academies and BYU over the years. If BYU is eligible this season, the Cougars will play a Pac-12 team in the final Fight Hunger Bowl played at AT&T Park, one of baseball's best venues but one that has odd sightlines and atmosphere in the configuration for football. If not an ACC team is next in line.
Levi's Stadium, the future 68,500-seat home of the 49ers, already has been awarded the 2016 Super Bowl.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP
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