Champions from the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference will meet in a bowl game, effective with the 2014 season, officials from both leagues announced Friday.
The matchup will be part of a five-year agreement between the leagues to pit their league football champions in a head-to-head setting unless one or both champions are selected to play in the new, four-team model to determine the national champion. If that occurs, a replacement team from one or both leagues would be selected to compete in the bowl game.
Specific details of the plan, including the venue for the games, will be announced later. But the goal is to play the game in prime time on or around Jan. 1 throughout the duration of the agreement.
Under existing agreements, the SEC champion plays in the Sugar Bowl and the Big 12 champion plays in the Fiesta Bowl. Champions from either league that finish in the top two of the final BCS standings compete in the BCS National Championship Game. Representatives from the SEC and Big 12 also meet in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, but that matchup does not include league champions.
Chuck Neinas, the interim Big 12 commissioner, helped arrange the matchup in negotiations with SEC commissioner Mike Slive. In a statement, Neinas said the new deal stands as “a landmark agreement between two of the most successful football conferences during the BCS era … Our goal is to provide the fans across the country with a New Year’s Day prime-time tradition.”
Slive said the matchup would “complement the exciting post-season atmosphere created by the new four-team model” to select future national champions.
Linking the two leagues also speaks to the future stability of the Big 12, which has lost four members to other conferences in the past two years. The list includes Texas A&M and Missouri, which will move to the SEC on July 1 _ the same day TCU and West Virginia become Big 12 members.
In a statement, incoming Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he was “very excited” by the new agreement. Bowlsby takes over as Big 12 commissioner on June 15.
_ Jimmy Burch