Published Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am / Updated at 7:01 am
FOOTBALL
Big Ten, ACC partner with Music City, Gator bowls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Music City Bowl and Gator Bowl have teamed up to pick a school from the Big Ten Conference or Atlantic Coast Conference as one team in their games in a six-year deal starting in 2014.

The partnership announced Thursday makes the two bowls among the few postseason games linked to multiple conferences and gives them more flexibility to match teams. Both bowls still must complete agreements to provide an opponent for the Big Ten or ACC. Music City, which began in 1998, has had a deal with the Southeastern Conference that goes through this year.

“We have improved our position as much as any bowl game in the country, and we expect increased economic impact and promotional exposure for Music City over the next six years,” said Scott Ramsey, president of the Music City Bowl.

The ACC will expand to 15 teams, and the Big Ten will go to 14 in July 2014.

On Thursday, the ACC announced six bowl deals that run through the 2019 season. The ACC adds the Capital One Bowl in years when the game needs a replacement because the Big Ten is sending its No. 2 team to the Orange. The Gator Bowl also is back in the ACC's rotation, and the league also will continue to send teams to the Russell Athletic, Sun and Belk bowls.

The deals are in addition to the previously announced agreement with the Pinstripe Bowl, and the 12-year tie to the Orange Bowl for the league champion if that game is not part of the playoff — and the Fiesta or Chick-Fil-A if it is.

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The Music City Bowl has paired teams from the ACC and SEC since 2006, and Vanderbilt beat North Carolina State last December.

“Nashville and Jacksonville are both quality destinations that provide our teams and fans with a first-class experience both from a venue and hospitality perspective,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said.

The Big Ten last sent a team to the Music City Bowl in 2005, when Virginia defeated Minnesota 34-31.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said in a statement the league and its fans are excited to return to Nashville.

“Over the last 15 years, this bowl has been successful in creating a memorable trip for student-athletes and fans who travel to the mid-south,” Delaney said. “The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, in partnership with the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, is a welcome addition to our national bowl lineup and will provide Big Ten teams and fans a rewarding postseason experience.”

Nebraska, which has never been to the Music City Bowl, last went to the Gator Bowl in 2009, earning a 26-21 victory over Clemson. Since then, the Big Ten has sent Michigan (2011), Ohio State (2012) and Northwestern (2013) to Jacksonville.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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