Starting in December, 2010, the Champs Sports Bowl will replace the Gator Bowl as the choice postseason destination for the Big East's 2nd best team. The deal is for 4 years, one year in which Notre Dame can steal a spot from the Big East if they have at least 7 wins and the 2nd best Big East team has 2 or less more wins than the Irish. Got all that? I'll let The Bennett clear things up:
The Big East's No. 2 had gone to the Gator or Sun Bowls under an arrangement that also involved Notre Dame as well as the Big 12. That agreement ends after this season.
The new deal allows the Champs Sports Bowl to pick Notre Dame over a Big East team once, if the Fighting Irish's record is at least 7-5 and within two wins of the Big East's No. 2 school, said Steve Hogan, the chief executive of Florida Citrus Sports, which runs the bowl.
That means a 9-3 Big East team could lose its spot in the bowl to a 7-5 Notre Dame squad.
The Big East champion goes to a BCS Bowl. The runner-up this season will head to the Gator Bowl. The league also has tie-ins this season to the Meineke Bowl [Charlotte, North Carolina], International Bowl [MF Toronto, Canada], Papajohns.com Bowl[Birmingham, Alabama] and St. Petersburg Bowl [Florida].
The league has not announced any other deals for next season, but [Big East Commish] Marinatto said talks with the Sun Bowl and others are ongoing, and he expects more announcements soon.
The Champs Sports Bowl will be played either Dec. 27, 28 or 29, 2010, and will pay each participant about $2.5 million.
I have fond, albeit alcohol-impaired memories of the Gator Bowl but I welcome this change...even if Louisville is never qualified to be invited over the next 4 seasons [sigh]. Some things won't change: Notre Dame can steal a spot, it'll be played in Florida after Christmas and the deal will probably remain an ACC vs. Big East matchup. However, I think we'd all agree that the location will be a definite upgrade, from Jacksonville to Orlando. But it won't be played on New Year's Day, which would make the Big East the only BCS conference that won't send it's No. 2 team to a bowl game on or after New Year's Day. Also, I suspect that the ACC will still be contractually obligated to send their No. 2 team to the Gator Bowl, meaning the Champs Sports Bowl would pit ACC No. 3 vs. Big East No. 2. Not exactly a ratings bonanza scenario but at least it's not a dot.com bowl.
/I'm looking at you, PapaJohns.com