By RALPH D. RUSSO
The Big Ten and SEC will soon be heading to the Las Vegas Bowl, taking turns facing the Pac-12 when the game moves into a new billion-dollar NFL stadium in 2020.
The Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 unveiled bowl lineups for the 2020-25 seasons Tuesday. Other FBS conferences are expected to release their future bowl agreements over the next several weeks.
The Big Ten has six-year agreements with 11 bowls , including new deals with Las Vegas and the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Big Ten will alternate with the SEC in Las Vegas — the expected new home of the Oakland Raiders — and in Charlotte, with the Big Ten taking odd-numbered years in Las Vegas and even-numbered years in Charlotte.
“The city of Las Vegas is a world-class destination that will be attractive to the participants and fans from our schools, and the support provided by the Raiders organization and ESPN will create a tremendous opportunity to elevate this game into a must-see event during the bowl season,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement.
The Las Vegas Bowl has been matching the Pac-12 and Mountain West or BYU in a game played on the first Saturday of bowl season. The new Las Vegas Bowl will be played after Christmas and receive the Pac-12′s top team not participating in the College Football Playoff or a New Year’s Six game.
For the SEC, Las Vegas becomes the farthest point west in its bowl lineup.
“The Las Vegas Bowl provides the SEC with a new and exciting destination for our student-athletes and traveling fans at a location outside our traditional geographic footprint and in a much-anticipated matchup with a Pac-12 Conference opponent,” Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.
The Las Vegas and Charlotte deals will replace the Holiday Bowl in San Diego for the Big Ten. The conference is also adding the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix to its lineup, and will no longer send teams to the First Responders and Armed Forces bowls in Texas.
The Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit will match a Mid-American Conference team against the Big Ten, starting in 2020. The Atlantic Coast Conference did not extend its deal with the Quick Lane Bowl after six years.
The SEC added a new agreement with the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa, Florida, and did not renew its contract with the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The SEC will head into the new bowl cycle with 10 postseason slots , not counting the playoff. Over the last five years, the SEC has only had enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its Independence Bowl slot twice.
The Big 12 is sticking with its current eight bowl partners through the 2025 season.