Bowl Bits

The Big East's agreement with the revamped football bowl game in Houston has some twists similar to the conference's deal with the Gator and Sun Bowls. The game, formerly called the Houston Bowl, was on life support following its 2005 incarnation. Participants in that bowl did not receive their full payouts, and it appeared as if the game might not be played in 2006.

All that changed earlier this week, however, when members of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and Lone Star Sports and Entertainment (a marketing agency affiliated with the NFL Houston Texans) met with bowl officials to lay out their plans for reviving the game. Their presentation was impressive enough for the NCAA to approve the game's reincarnation this year, albeit under a yet-to-be-determined name. That name will likely include the name of the game's title sponsor, which is also yet to be announced, along with television broadcast rights.

Another detail yet to be fully ironed out is the participants in each year of the multi-year agreement, which sources indicate is a four-year deal. The Big East and Big 12 will provide the opponents in this year's contest, which will be played on Thursday, December 28 at Reliant Stadium. However, the Big East will not be in the game in each succeeding year. The league is guaranteed just one additional appearance in the following three years of the game, as the Mountain West and Conference USA will also take turns in providing teams for the bowl. It is expected that the Big 12 will be an annual participant in the game. Conference USA could provide a team to fill that slot if the Big 12 is unable to fill all of its contracted bowl game positions. Specific information regarding conference selection order will be released at a later date.

The Big East's guarantee to appear in the 2006 edition of the bowl provides the league a slot to replace one it could lose, for this year only, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. The Meineke Bowl has a one-year agreement that allows it to select Navy in 2006 if the Midshipmen are bowl eligible.

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