Courtesy of the Big Ten
DETROIT â€“ Big Ten Conference and Little Caesars Pizza Bowl officials announced Tuesday an agreement to extend their affiliation through the 2013 college football season. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will have the eighth selection of Big Ten bowl-eligible teams to face the first or second selection from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will have the first selection of MAC teams in even numbered years and the second selection in odd numbered years.
â€œWe are thrilled to continue our association with the prestigious Big Ten Conference,â€ said Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Chairman and Executive Director Ken Hoffman. â€œThe presence of Big Ten teams in our bowl has created considerable fan interest as well as some of the most exciting and competitive games in our history. And with Little Caesars locations across the country, awareness for the game is heightened.â€
Big Ten teams are 1 â€“ 1 in the bowl since it began its affiliation in 2002. Both the 2003 Bowling Green-Northwestern matchup (28 â€“ 24) and the 2007 Purdue â€“ Central Michigan matchup (51 â€“ 48) were decided by last minute drives. The Purdue â€“ Central Michigan game remains the second highest-scoring game in major college bowl history.
â€œWe are excited to extend our affiliation with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and provide even more bowl opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches and fans,â€ said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. â€œBig Ten appearances in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl have produced some of the eventâ€™s most memorable matchups and we look forward to more exciting competition. With the number of Big Ten alumni in the Detroit area and an outstanding facility like Ford Field, the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl is a natural addition to our bowl lineup.â€
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl also announced a back-up agreement with the Sun Belt Conference, in the event that the Big Ten does not have an available bowl-eligible team to play in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
The Sun Belt Conference has a 1 â€“ 1 record in the bowl as well. Central Michigan defeated Middle Tennessee State (31- 14) in the 2006 bowl, while Howard Schnellenberger-led Florida Atlantic toppled Central Michigan (24 â€“ 21) in the 2008 bowl.