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Big Ten looking to diversify its bowl lineup

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Jim Delany will be looking to diversify his bowl portfolio. (US Presswire)

The Big Ten, as a conference, plays one of, if not the toughest, bowl schedules every season. As I went over in painful detail here on Wednesday, that tough bowl season has not been kind to the Big Ten over the last decade. This year was no different, even if the Big Ten did keep things close against teams like South Carolina and Georgia down in Florida on New Year's Day.

According to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, however, that bowl schedule could be changing in the near future. The Big Ten's current bowl affiliations will expire after the 2013 season, and one of the things the conference will be looking to do this spring is diversify its bowl schedule.

"We're going to try and be national and try to have relationships on both coasts and maybe in areas we haven't been before," Delany told ESPN.com. "There will be more diversity in teams that get to go, so no one goes to Florida five times in six years or even three years in a row. I hope we would put together a slate of games where our alums live, where we recruit and against opponents that will test us every year. Those are the elements.

"It's a puzzle. Some of the outlines are falling into place, but it's a long way from the particulars of it being filled out."

As things sit, in 2012 the Big Ten played in seven bowl games. Of those seven games, three took place within the state of Florida against SEC opponents on New Year's Day. The other four games featured three opponents from the Big 12 and, of course, the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl.

What the Big Ten will likely look to do is create more games with the Pac-12 and the ACC in its next bowl agreement. Part of that is solved with the conference's new agreement with the Orange Bowl, but Jim Delany has already mentioned his interest in the Pinstripe Bowl, and that was before the Big Ten added Rutgers. It's possible that the Big Ten could sign on with the Pinstripe Bowl to play an ACC opponent in Yankee Stadium every season.

Another option for the Big Ten will likely include another Pac-12 game in one of the California bowls. If the Big Ten were able to accomplish that, the conference would have multiple games against the Pac-12, ACC, SEC and Big 12 every bowl season.

Doing so would also have Big Ten schools playing against opponents from major conferences all across the country and on different days, rather than the concentration on New Year's Day and the SEC in Florida.

I don't know if it will do anything to to help the conference win more bowl games, but at the very least it will keep it from losing them all at once.

For more college football news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCFB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, college football newsletter, and get the Eye On College Football Podcast from iTunes. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter here: @TomFornelli.

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