The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth will become part of the Big 12 bowl mix in the 2014 season, league and bowl officials announced Friday.
As part of the deal, the Big 12 will provide its No. 7 pick to either the game in Fort Worth or the Heart of Dallas Bowl five times during a six-year stretch (2014-19). A Big 12 team will be a primary back-up selection in the other season.
In years that a Big 12 school does not wind up in Fort Worth, a team from the Big Ten will compete in the game at Amon G. Carter Stadium while a Big 12 school heads to Dallas as part of a reciprocal deal between the two bowls and the two leagues. The Big Ten agreement with the D-FW bowls, announced in July, covers the 2013-19 seasons.
The Big Ten will send a team to this year’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. The 2013 Armed Forces Bowl, to be played Dec. 30 in Fort Worth (10:45 a.m., ESPN), will feature Navy – pending bowl eligibility -- against an opponent from the Mountain West Conference.
In seasons when the Big 12 team plays in the Armed Forces Bowl, that school will play an opponent from the American Athletic Conference. When the Big 12 team winds up in Dallas, the opponent will come from Conference USA.
Brant Ringler, executive director of the Armed Forces Bowl, said officials in Fort Worth are “extremely excited to be working … with the Big 12 Conference and its counterparts in the Big Ten during the next six seasons.”
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bolwsby said adding the D-FW connection allows league officials to meet “all the benchmarks” sought by schools for future bowl tie-ins: a strong presence in Texas, combined with options in Florida, Arizona and another drivable destination for most schools (Liberty Bowl in Memphis).
_ Jimmy Burch
Below is a look at the Big 12 bowl lineup, starting in 2014:
Future Big 12 Bowl Lineup (beginning in 2014)
College Football Playoff/Allstate Sugar (vs. SEC opponent)
Valero Alamo (vs. Pac-12 opponent)
Russell Athletic (vs. ACC opponent)
Texas (vs. SEC opponent)
Liberty (vs. SEC opponent)
Buffalo Wild Wings (vs. Pac-12 opponent)
Heart of Dallas (vs. Conference-USA opponent)/Bell Helicopter Armed Forces (vs. AAC opponent)