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College Football Bowl Game Lineup for Next Six Seasons to Be Announced


The SEC’s new bowl lineup, starting in 2020, will add the Las Vegas and Gasparilla bowls, while dropping the Independence Bowl, sources told Stadium.

In the new six-year bowl cycle from 2020-25, the NCAA allows the SEC 11 bowl tie-ins – excluding the College Football Playoff and New Year’s 6 at-large bowls – but the league opted to only have 10 bowl alignments, sources said.

The SEC is expected to officially announce its 2020-25 bowl lineup this week. Other leagues are expected to announce their bowl tie-ins in the coming weeks.

This season marks the final year of the current six-year bowl cycle. The changes of the new bowl cycle include the following:

  1. SEC and Big Ten teams will each play in the Las Vegas Bowl and the Belk Bowl; the conferences will have a team in each bowl game three times apiece. Their opponent each year will be the Pac-12 in the Las Vegas Bowl and the ACC in the Belk Bowl.

  2. The Pac-12 adds the Los Angeles Bowl at Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park against the Mountain West and is expected to play in the Independence Bowl against the ACC.

  3. An ACC team will play a team from the American Athletic Conference in the new Boston bowl game which will be played at Fenway Park. The ACC also is replacing the Big Ten in the Holiday Bowl, where it will play the Pac-12. By adding those games, the ACC will no longer play in Detroit’s Quick Lane Bowl.

  4. The Big Ten is dropping the Holiday Bowl to play in the Las Vegas Bowl and the Belk Bowl, and also is dropping the Armed Forces and First Responder bowls to play in the Cheez-It Bowl against the Big 12.

Even though the Independence Bowl had an SEC tie-in for the past five seasons, only two league teams – South Carolina (2014) and Vanderbilt (2016) – played in the game because the bowl had the 10th pick from the SEC after teams were placed in the College Football Playoff and New Year’s 6 bowls. Between 1995 and 2009, the SEC played in the Independence Bowl in 13 of 15 seasons.

With the SEC opting to send its 10th selection to the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa, the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. is expected to replace the SEC with the Pac-12. The ACC will still be aligned with the Independence Bowl.

Here are the bowl tie-ins for the new cycle, according to sources, for the Power 5 leagues. The Group of 5 bowl tie-ins are still being determined, but expect a lot of affiliations with groups of bowls since ESPN Events owns 16 of the 43 FBS bowls and can use that flexibility to create various matchups each year, sources said.

Independents BYU and Army also will be placed into bowls in the new cycle by ESPN, sources said.

SEC (10 bowls) 2020-25 lineup: Sugar vs. Big 12 Citrus vs. Big Ten Las Vegas vs. Pac-12/Belk vs. ACC Outback vs. Big Ten Texas vs. Big 12 Gator vs. ACC Music City vs. Big Ten Liberty vs. Big 12 Birmingham vs. American Gasparilla vs. American

Changes: The new Las Vegas and Belk bowls are expected to be in the pool of bowls for selections three through eight (along with Texas, Outback, Gator, Music City and Liberty). The Citrus Bowl will still receive the second pick (after the College Football Playoff selections and Sugar Bowl). The SEC vs. Pac-12 matchup in the Las Vegas Bowl will be the first non-playoff matchup between the conferences since the 1989 Freedom Bowl.

ACC (11 bowls) 2020-25 lineup: Orange vs. SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame Camping World vs. Big 12 Belk vs. SEC/Big Ten Holiday vs. Pac-12 Fenway Park vs. American Pinstripe vs. Big Ten Sun vs. Pac-12 Gator vs. SEC Military vs. American Independence vs. Pac-12 Gasparilla vs. SEC

Changes: The 15-member ACC – including Notre Dame for bowl purposes – will have guaranteed bowl bids for 73 percent of its membership, most among all conferences. The ACC will no longer play in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, instead participating in the new Fenway Park Bowl against the American and the ACC replaced the Big Ten in the Holiday Bowl. Also, the ACC will play in the Outback Bowl in place of the Big Ten any year in which the Big Ten has a team in the Orange Bowl. This arrangement was previously with the Citrus Bowl.

Big 10 (9 bowls) 2020-25 lineup: Rose vs. Pac-12 Citrus vs. SEC Outback vs. SEC Las Vegas vs. Pac-12/Belk vs. ACC Music City vs. SEC Pinstripe vs. ACC Redbox vs. Pac-12 Quick Lane vs. American Cheez-It vs. Big 12

Changes: The biggest difference for the Big Ten in the new cycle is adding Las Vegas/Belk in place of the Holiday Bowl. Also, the Big Ten replaces the Pac-12 in the Cheez-It Bowl. The Big Ten will have the highest percentage of bowl games against other Power 5 opponents – eight of nine – including three bowls each vs. the SEC and Pac-12. One change among the Big Ten bowl opponents is the Quick Lane Bowl, where the Big Ten is expected to play a team from the American instead of the ACC.

Pac-12 (8) 2020-25 lineup: Rose vs. Big Ten Alamo vs. Big 12 Las Vegas vs. SEC/Big Ten Los Angeles vs. Mountain West Holiday vs. ACC Redbox vs. Big Ten Sun vs. ACC Independence vs. ACC

Changes: The NCAA granted the Pac-12 an additional bowl bid in the new cycle and the Pac-12 is expected to add the Los Angeles Bowl vs. the Mountain West and the Independence Bowl against the ACC. The Pac-12 also will play against either the SEC or the Big Ten in the new Las Vegas Bowl. By adding two bowls, the Pac-12 had to drop one – it’s expected to be the Cheez-It Bowl. The Pac-12 will now have Power 5 opponents in seven of its eight bowls, including three from the ACC and at least two from the Big Ten.

Big 12 (7 bowls) 2020-25 lineup: Sugar vs. SEC Alamo vs. Pac-12 Camping World vs. ACC Texas vs. SEC Liberty vs. SEC Cheez-It vs. Big Ten Armed Forces vs. Group of 5/First Responder vs. Group of 5

Changes: None. The Big 12 will maintain its same bowl affiliations in the new bowl cycle. The Big 12 will play three SEC opponents and one each from the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12. The biggest changes will be facing the Big Ten instead of the Pac-12 in the Cheez-It Bowl and facing a Group of 5 opponent in the Armed Forces/First Responder bowls.

Group of 5 Outlook The American will have seven tie-ins and looks like it could be involved in possibly five bowls against Power 5 opponents: the new Fenway Park bowl (ACC), Military (ACC), Birmingham (SEC), Quick Lane (Big Ten) and Gasparilla (SEC). It’s doubtful the SEC will have enough teams every year to send to Gasparilla, but still the American will easily have the most opportunities among the Group of 5 leagues to play Power 5 opponents in the postseason.

The Mountain West, with six tie-ins, loses its long-time tie-in to the Las Vegas Bowl, but instead will play the Pac-12 in the new Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park. The Mountain West also will remain in the Famous Idaho Potato, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii bowls – plus another ESPN Events bowl.

Conference USA will have seven tie-ins in 2020-25: New Orleans with the remaining six bowls among the 16 bowls owned by ESPN Events, including the newly-created Myrtle Beach Bowl. The Mid-American (six bowl tie-ins) and Sun Belt (five bowl tie-ins) also will be predominately aligned with ESPN bowls.

The 16 FBS bowls ESPN will own by 2020 are the following: Fenway Park, Cure, Myrtle Beach, Frisco, Hawaii, Texas, Gasparilla, Las Vegas, Armed Forces, New Mexico, First Responder, Bahamas, Boca Raton, Camellia, Birmingham and Famous Idaho Potato.

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