<
>

Big Ten could be out of Alamo; Texas Bowl next?

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

It's likely the Big Ten will make some changes to its bowl lineup beginning in 2010, and the Alamo Bowl could be the first to go.

The Seattle Times reports that the Pac-10 is close to signing a deal with the Alamo Bowl that would pit a Pac-10 team against a Big 12 opponent starting in 2010. The Big Ten has faced the Big 12 in the San Antonio bowl game every year since 1995, but the contract expires after the 2009 season.

If the Big Ten forgets the Alamo -- sorry, couldn't resist -- expect the league to find another bowl tie-in in the Lone Star State.

One possibility is the Texas Bowl in Houston, which is looking for a conference partner to face the Big 12.

Texas Bowl manager Heather Houston has been in discussions with the Big Ten about a possible partnership and attended the league's media days last month in Chicago.

"They're a great conference, and it'd be a good fit for our bowl," Houston told ESPN.com. "Houston is one of the top recruiting markets in the country. We had the second highest number of players in the NFL last year, [next to] Miami. So a lot of coaches want to play here, obviously."

The 2008 Texas Bowl paired Western Michigan and Rice because not enough Big 12 teams qualified for the game. This year's contest will match a Big 12 team against Navy, as long as the Mids are bowl eligible.

"Every bowl is going through these negotiations right now," Houston said. "We're all waiting to see how a couple things are going to fall. But when we're talking about a matchup for the Big 12, the Big Ten is at the top of our list."

The Texas Bowl continues to talk with other conferences, as does the Big Ten. League commissioner Jim Delany said last month that he's talked with representatives from 11 to 12 bowls, including the five tie-ins -- Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports and Motor City -- that expire after the season.

But it's clear Delany doesn't want to lose a postseason presence in Texas.

"We try to serve the interest of the alumni as well as recruitment as well as the fans traveling to a game," Delany said in July. "We need to be in Texas, we need to be in Florida, we need to be in California and out West because it's a national conference with a national alumni base and national recruitment."