Alamo close to topping Big 12 list

IRVING, Texas -- The Alamo Bowl is close to getting the first choice of Big 12 teams that don't have a chance to play for the national championship.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Wednesday the league's future bowl lineup wasn't complete but sounded confident the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio would replace the Cotton Bowl as the first destination for teams not in the four-team College Football Playoff that starts in 2014.

"We're not finished with that yet, but it looks like it's going to work that way," Bowlsby said at league meetings in the Dallas area. "We're not quite there, but we're not far."

Bowlsby said the league had agreed in principle with most slots after current agreements expire following the 2013 season, and indicated one of those would be a new alliance with a Florida bowl.

"I feel good, in fact, very good about the bowl alignments," Bowlsby said. "Our priorities are still in place. We want a home out West. We want to be anchored in Texas as much as we can. We want to find a home in Florida. I think those objectives are still intact, and I think we have a pretty good chance to realize them."

The Big 12 appears ready to trade the Holiday Bowl in San Diego for a spot in Florida, possibly the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. Bowlsby has said the league was talking to the Gator Bowl, as well.

The Liberty Bowl in Memphis jumped on to the Big 12's radar last season when a 25,000 Iowa State fans showed up after the Cyclones were picked to fill a spot the SEC had to vacate. Bowlsby says that experience led to the idea of having more destinations with realistic drive times.

Without the Holiday Bowl, the Big 12 would still have a presence near the West Coast with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.

The Big 12 also voted Wednesday to become the first conference with an eight-person officiating crew, expanding by one. The extra official would be opposite the referee on the offensive side of the ball.

The eight-person crew will be used in all league games and select nonconference contests.

"I really am excited about it," Bowlsby said of the one-year pilot program. "I think it will be a very interesting experiment."

Big 12 leaders also received updates on the class-action lawsuit by former players claiming the NCAA uses their images without their permission. Former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon is one the primary plaintiffs. Bowlsby said the case is probably years from being resolved.

Bowlsby said meetings with NCAA attorney Donald Remy also included talk of enforcement controversies that have dogged the association in recent months, and Big 12 officials were looking forward to hearing from NCAA president Mark Emmert on Thursday.

"The NCAA has gone through a rough time the last few months," Bowlsby said. "There's some level of anxiety among our governance groups."