It has taken longer than expected, but an agreement between the Big Ten and the Little Caesars Bowl should be coming soon.
Sources close to the negotiations tell me the two sides have exchanged information, and a formal agreement likely will be announced in the next two weeks. If something isn't finalized by Feb. 1, there will be more discussions pushing toward an agreement. Bottom line: It's going to happen. The only question is when.
The Little Caesars Bowl, played at Detroit's Ford Field, would receive the No. 8 selection in the Big Ten's new bowl lineup, just after the new Dallas Football Classic makes its pick. The Detroit bowl previously had selected seventh but has landed just two Big Ten teams -- Purdue in 2007 and Northwestern in 2003 -- since forming an agreement with the league in 2002.
The Big Ten faces an opponent from the Mid-American Conference in the game. Former Michigan State coach George Perless is the CEO of the Little Caesars Bowl, and former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr recently was named the bowl's president.
Here's how the new bowl selection order will go:
1: Rose/BCS vs. BCS team
2: Capital One vs. SEC
3: Outback vs. SEC
4/5: Gator vs. SEC
4/5: Insight vs. Big 12
6: Texas vs. Big 12
7: Dallas Football Classic vs. Big 12 or Conference USA
8. Little Caesars vs. MAC