League officials have discussed a multisite, rotational bowl partnership of the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and ACC to maximize matchups over six years, according to two sources with knowledge of those discussions.
The Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., and Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, are among the sites being mentioned. Under the plan, one conference would appear annually and at least two other conferences would play in a rotation. The SEC, ACC and Big 12 would be logical annual hosts for those three respective bowls. The Big Ten's direct involvement is still uncertain, but one source said they've been mentioned as a potential fourth tie-in.
The sources cautioned this concept has yet to reach the commissioner or bowl executive level for proposal because the BCS hasn't finalized its host-site format for the college football playoff. That is expected to happen in late April during a BCS meeting in Pasadena, Calif.
The Southeastern Conference has a tie-in to the Cotton (Dallas), Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) and Capital One bowls, all of which are vying for a spot in the semifinal rotation. Bowls are crafting their formal proposals now.
With bowl contracts expiring after next season and attendance dipping, the entire system is basically under review.
Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton said he's heard of this specific four-conference concept “in a general sense” and is intrigued.
“Everyone in the business is concerned with bowl fatigue, bowl coma,” Shelton said. “Not only teams, but also fans. I would say in general it makes a lot of sense. What we're all looking for is good matchups. I'm sure logistics putting that together are very complicated.”
Football Bowl Association President Wright Waters said despite matchup challenges and schools facing problems selling their ticket allotment, 18 bowls still increased attendance last year.
This revealed two possibilities, Waters said.
“They either have compelling regional matchups or they have hungry teams,” Waters said.