One of the worst-kept secrets for several months has been that the Big Ten would add the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to its postseason lineup.
That will become official this afternoon, as the league and the bowl are expected to announce at least a six-year partnership beginning in the 2014 season, colleague Brett McMurphy reports. The Big Ten is expected to play the ACC in the bowl, which takes place annually at Yankee Stadium.
McMurphy reports that the Pinstripe will be in a pool with the Kraft Fight Hunger and Gator/Music City bowls to take the fifth through seventh selections from the Big Ten.
The league has worked hard to expand its presence on the East Coast, which was one of the major determining reasons to add Rutgers and Maryland to the league. It sure doesn't hurt in that regard to have an annual postseason showcase in New York City, and that might not be the end of the relationship with the Yankees. McMurphy writes that the deal to be announced today will "include additional future conference events held at the ballpark," according to sources. Can you picture Big Ten baseball and lacrosse games at Yankee Stadium, or perhaps even a neutral-site regular-season football game?
As for the bowl itself, the 3-year old Pinstripe may not own the most prestige, and some fret about the weather. Last year's game between West Virginia and Syracuse was played in arctic conditions, as was the inaugural installment between Syracuse and Kansas State. On the flip side, fans can enjoy New York City as their bowl destination, and the game makes an easy landing spot for Rutgers, Maryland and possibly Penn State, especially as the Nittany Lions come off probation. It would be a more difficult trip for teams in the soon-to-be Big Ten West, but every school would welcome some exposure in the Big Apple.
Plus, it's another bowl game in the North, to go along with the Detroit Lions-run bowl at Ford Field. Sure, the Pinstripe Bowl might cause fans to bundle up, but it will be a postseason game played in Big Ten weather for a change.
Today's announcement is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET.