Trying to find a home for its second-best team, the Big Ten Conference has found two homes for two teams, and one site is Orlando.
Both the Florida Citrus Bowl and the Holiday Bowl have called news conferences for Saturday, and each is expected to announce ties to the Big Ten.The Citrus Bowl, whose four-year deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference ends Jan. 1, will welcome the Big Ten's runner-up for three years beginning with the 1992 season, said a source with the Citrus Bowl, who requested anonymity because of the nature of the negotiations.
This year the Holiday Bowl, which annually receives the champion of the Western Athletic Conference, will match the WAC's champ against the Big Ten runner-up. Starting with the 1992 season, the Holiday Bowl will take the Big Ten's No. 3 team for three years.
Neither Citrus Bowl President Bob Moore nor Holiday Bowl Executive Director John Reid would confirm the deal, but two independent bowl officials did.
(Last week Reid told the Deseret News that because of the delicacy of the negotiations he couldn't comment on them other than to say that he was very optimistic a deal would be worked out and that it would be very attractive for the Holiday Bowl)
"All speculation involving us has been with the Big Ten," Moore said. "Obviously we've been working to consummate that deal."
Moore would not discuss specifics, but another bowl official said the deal is not contingent upon the Citrus Bowl finding a title sponsor. A Big Ten official said the Citrus Bowl would raise its payout to nearly $3 million per team. Last year the Citrus paid $1.35 million per team.
Moore said negotiations with possible sponsors, who would help push up the payout, continue. He declined to elaborate.
Since finishing on the outside of the new four-bowl alliance this spring, Citrus Bowl officials have negotiated with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany.
Next year the ACC, which now includes Florida State, will be part of the alliance with the Orange, Sugar, Cotton and Fiesta bowls.
The Citrus' new deal includes a tiebreaking provision that allows Orlando to get the higher ranked team should there be a second-place tie in the Big Ten. The other team would go to the Holiday.
One representative of the Citrus Bowl said the Citrus did not try to land the Big Ten runner-up for this season. The bowl already has committed to taking the ACC champion and wants to keep the other slot open for a potential national championship game.
"You could have an undefeated North Carolina State and an undefeated Florida State or Miami," the bowl official said. "We promised the ACC we wouldn't give up on that happening."