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Bowl maneuvering

Notre Dame, Big East, Big 12 engage in bowl deal

Posted: Thursday July 14, 2005 3:02PM; Updated: Saturday July 16, 2005 1:25AM
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Brady Quinn
El Paso is now a possible destination for Brady Quinn and the Irish in 2006.
Robert Beck/SI

MIAMI (AP) -- The Big East, Big 12 and Notre Dame would alternate bids to the Gator Bowl and the Sun Bowl over a four-year period starting in 2006, according to a new agreement nearing approval Thursday.

The four-year deal, which is pending the approval of the Big 12, will give the Gator Bowl the option of taking the Big East's No. 2 team or the Big 12's No. 3 team. The agreement is scheduled to take affect in the 2007 Gator Bowl, following the 2006 regular season.

The Atlantic Coast Conference will remain as the Gator Bowl's other participant while the Pac 10 will likely do the same in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

The deal is an effort by the conferences and the two bowls to avoid repetitive matchups in the postseason, Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett said.

"Texas just finished playing in the Holiday Bowl for the third time in four years and we had West Virginia back-to-back, and it's just nuts to do that," said Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett. "It's an attempt to put new teams in and to create matchups beneficial to the games and for the fans."

Under the deal, each conference will have two bids each to the Gator Bowl and the Sun Bowl over the next four years, Catlett said.

That means the Gator Bowl could invite two straight Big East teams for the first two years of the deal, but they will then be forced to take Big 12 teams the next two years. The Sun Bowl takes whichever conference is not invited to the Gator Bowl.

Notre Dame, an independent in football, would remain a part of the eight-team Big East's bowl pool and could not trump a Big 12 selection in either bowl, Big East spokesman John Paquette said.

"This group ... had the foresight to realize that we could accomplish more collectively than we could as individual entities," Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese said.

The potential Gator Bowl selection will also be influenced by the Cotton Bowl and how many Big 12 teams are invited to the Bowl Championship Series.

If one Big 12 team is selected to the BCS, the Gator Bowl will get the No. 3 pick from that conference. If two Big 12 teams make the BCS, the Cotton Bowl's pick will take precedence. The Holiday Bowl still retains the Big 12's No. 2 selection.

"It's going to be exciting again. It's going to bring back some intrigue," Catlett said.

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