Courtesy of the Sun Belt Conference
NEW ORLEANS - The Sun Belt Conference and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl have agreed to a secondary tie-in that will allow a Sun Belt Conference team to play in the Detroit based game should the Big Ten Conference not have an available bowl-eligible team to play.
"The Sun Belt Conference is delighted to enter into this agreement with the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl as it strengthens our ability to have teams play in the postseason and validates that the Sun Belt Conference is a well established football conference," said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters. "We have placed teams in this bowl game twice previously and those schools enjoyed a first-class experience."
The agreement is effective for the 2010 football season and will run through the 2013 season. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl has featured a team from the Big Ten Conference only twice since the league and the bowl game began their partnership in 2002. The Sun Belt Conference shall provide a bowl eligible team (one with a 6-6 record or better) to the game should the Big Ten be unable to provide a bowl eligible team.
"The Sun Belt Conference has a history in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, having participated in two exciting games in the last four years," said Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Chairman and Executive Director Ken Hoffman. "We look forward to growing the relationship with the conference, its member institutions, coaches and outstanding football players and teams.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl now joins the primary agreements with the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and the GMAC Bowl to form the Sun Belt Conference's bowl line-up. Additionally, the Sun Belt Conference champion will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if that team is the highest ranked non-automatic qualifying team and is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings or if that team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and its ranking is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the of BCS bowls.
The Sun Belt Conference has a 1-1 record in the bowl (formerly known as the Motor City Bowl) in its two appearances. Central Michigan defeated Middle Tennessee (31-14) in the 2006 bowl, while Howard Schnellenberger-led Florida Atlantic toppled Central Michigan (24-21) in the 2008 bowl.
Over the last three seasons the Sun Belt Conference has represented itself well in the postseason. In fact the Sun Belt Conference boasts a winning record of 4-3 in its seven bowl appearances in the last four seasons.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl will again be televised on national cable TV via ESPN. The bowl website is located at www.littlecaesarspizzabowl.com.
The Sun Belt Conference is currently comprised of nine football playing members - Arkansas State (founding football member in 2001), Florida Atlantic (joined league as football member in 2005), FIU (joined league as football member in 2005), Louisiana-Lafayette (founding football member in 2001), Louisiana-Monroe (founding football member in 2001), Middle Tennessee (founding football member in 2001), North Texas (founding football member in 2001), Troy (joined league as football member in 2004) and Western Kentucky University (joined league as football member in 2009) The league will expand to 10 football playing members when South Alabama enters in 2012.