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June 29, 2011

Big Ten vs. Big 12 bowl games

One of the more exciting things about Nebraska's move to the Big Ten Conference is not only the fact they'll be playing several new teams at different venues, but also the future bowl game possibilities for the Huskers.

The Big Ten Conference features a very fan friendly bowl game package with five January 1 bowl games, which includes three match-ups with the SEC, two with the Big 12 and obviously the Rose Bowl against the PAC 12 champion.

The Big Ten also has the highest number of teams that have received BCS at-large bids at 10, which means more often than not two teams from the league will get BCS invites.

As HuskerOnline.com continues are in-depth look at the Big Ten this week, today we compare and contrast Big Ten vs. Big 12 bowls games.

Let's talk money

In 2011, the bowl payouts for the Big Ten not counting the BCS games will be $2.53 million, compared to the Big 12 at $2.47 million.

In 2010 with two BCS bowl bids the Big Ten paid out $3.45 million per team, while the Big 12 was at $2.7 million, which only ranked ahead of the PAC 10 in bowl game payouts.

What you have to really look at though is the Big Ten's top tier bowls after the BCS. The Capitol One has the highest non BCS payout at $4.6 million, while the Outback will payout $3.5 million, the Insight $3.35 million and the Gator $2.7 million in 2011-12.

After the Fiesta Bowl, Big 12 teams will receive $3.625 million in the Cotton, $3.175 million in the Alamo and $2.15 in the Holiday. Head-to-head the Big Ten Bowls all payout more than the top tier Big 12 games.

Big Ten offers more attractive bowl destinations

I think the biggest complaint about the Big 12 bowl games over the last several years is very few of them featured attractive locations for Husker fans to travel.

With three of the six non BCS games anchored in Texas, many Nebraska fans lacked interest in traveling to Dallas, Houston or San Antonio because often times the Huskers would already play one or two games in the Lone Star state before their bowl game.

The Fiesta, Holiday and Insight Bowls probably offered the most attractive destinations for Husker fans, but NU hasn't played a game in Tempe since their 2000 Fiesta Bowl win over Tennessee.

Meanwhile the Big Ten bowl game slate will feature three games in Florida, along with the Rose, Insight, Ticket City, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and the Little Caesars Bowl.

One of my biggest complaints with the Big 12 bowl package over the years is the lack of bowl games in Florida. Only once has Nebraska played a bowl game in Florida since their 1997 national championship win in the Orange Bowl.

History shows Husker fans will travel to Florida over the holidays in large numbers, as the 2008 Gator Bowl trip to Jacksonville was a riveting success. NU fans filled up nearly half the stadium in their win over Clemson, which more than over met the expectations of Gator Bowl officials.

Playing on New Year's Day

What you really have to like about the Big Ten bowl game schedule is five of their eight games fall on New Year's Day, which is very nice for fans.

January bowl game dates allow both the fans and players to be home for Christmas and still have a full week to enjoy the bowl site.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney is a strong believer in the tradition of New Year's Day bowl games, where the Big 12's philosophy was to play most of their games Dec. 28 to Dec. 31. Only the Cotton and Fiesta Bowls were played in January, and this year's Cotton Bowl is on Jan. 6 and the Fiesta Bowl is Jan. 5.

Bring on the SEC

You can look at this as a good thing or a bad thing, but the Big Ten bowl slate will feature three New Year's Day match-ups with the SEC teams in the state of Florida.

In terms of attractive match-ups, I think most Husker fans want to see Nebraska play against the SEC. Very rarely does NU get the chance to play teams from the SEC.

Since 1988 NU has only played five games against the SEC. In the Big 12, only the Cotton Bowl featured an SEC match-up. The SEC isn't a fan of playing bowl games in Texas or on the West Coast, which is where nearly all of the Big 12 games were played.

Besides the three match-ups with the SEC, there's also the potential of some Big 12 rematches for NU in both the Insight and Meinke Car Care Bowl of Texas. You have to give the Big Ten a major edge in this category, especially when you factor in the Fiesta Bowl tended to get some of the weaker opponents over the years to face off against the Big 12 champion.


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