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Outback, Big Ten renew contract
By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published July 20, 2005
TAMPA - The Outback Bowl and Big Ten Conference announced a four-year deal Tuesday that will maintain their longstanding alliance through the 2010 game and continue to give the bowl the third pick from the conference.
"We are thrilled that our relationship with this tradition-rich conference has been extended for four additional years," Outback Bowl president/CEO Jim McVay said in a release. "A New Year's Day bowl game in the Tampa Bay area, sunshine, beaches and teams from the Big Ten are a great combination."
Big Ten teams have participated in 16 of the Outback Bowl's 19 previous games, including every year since 1994. The Outback Bowl picks its Big Ten representative after the Bowl Championship Series and Capital One Bowl.
"The Big Ten Conference is pleased to continue our relationship," commissioner Jim Delany said in a release. "The Outback Bowl has historically provided great games and an exciting atmosphere."
McVay still is negotiating with the Southeastern Conference, which has had an Outback Bowl participant every year since 1996. Bowl director of communications Mike Schulze described talks with the SEC, which also has entertained an offer from the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, as "very positive." McVay also is in discussions with ESPN, the game's network since 1993.
Schulze said announcements about both situations should come soon. The 2006 Outback Bowl is at 11 a.m. Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.