Big Ten, Detroit Lions partner for bowl game starting in 2014

Leon Halip

I wouldn't mind checking out Ford Field, but let's hope Wisconsin doesn't end up there anytime soon. Or ever.

The Little Caesars Bowl is no more. In its place, we have a bowl at Ford Field, home of the NFL's Detroit Lions, presumably featuring two middle-of-the-pack teams from the Big Ten and ACC. I'm sure some crappy "College Football Team X could beat the Lions" columns will be tossed at our eyeballs as well.

The Big Ten's press release doesn't mention the inclusion of the ACC, though ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy has a report that does. The partnership for the game, which will be named once sponsorship agreements are in place, is for six years. The first edition is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 30, 2014.

McMurphy also added that the bowl is not expected to get higher than a sixth-seeded team from either conference.

"We are pleased to join with the Detroit Lions in creating this new postseason bowl game in Detroit," Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. "The city of Detroit has played host to as many big-time sporting events as any other major city in America, from NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four and Regional games to the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals. The support of the business and community leaders of Detroit coupled with a world-class facility in Ford Field and Detroit Lions' management of the game will result in a meaningful experience for Big Ten teams and their fans."

The release also reminds us of the three Big Ten teams to previously make it to Detroit for bowl games: Purdue in 2011 and 2007, Northwestern in 2003, each for the Little Caesars Bowl at Ford Field.

The pizza bowl previously aligned the Big Ten team with a MAC team, a seemingly natural regional pairing that probably just made too much sense. Now, fans of mediocre ACC teams will have another thing to complain about: a trip to Detroit.

Here's how the Big Ten's new bowl lineup will presumably look beginning in 2014:

SEEDS BOWL
1 Rose*
2-4 Capital One
2-4 Outback
2-4 Holiday
5-7 Music City/Gator**
5-7 Kraft Fight Hunger
5-7 Pinstripe
6+ The Detroit bowl
TBD Military/Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces
*The Big Ten will also share a spot in the Orange Bowl with the SEC and Notre Dame.
**The ACC and Big Ten will likely share spots in the Music City and Gator bowls

Remember, too, that the Big Ten is looking to freshen the bowl landscape with a tiered selection process aimed at mixing up the match-ups and preventing teams from frequently heading to the same bowls. Last month, ESPN.com reported the tiers will likely be as follows:

Top tier: Capital One, Outback, Holiday

Middle tier: Gator/Music City, Kraft Fight Hunger, Pinstripe

Lower tier: Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces, the Detroit bowl

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