Whatever acrimony may have existed between the Big 12 and the SEC after the latter raided the league for Texas A&M and Missouri last summer, sending the former to the brink of extinction, has apparently been set aside, as the two conferences announced a major new partnership on Friday morning that will ensure that the league champions will meet in a bowl game if they are not selected for the proposed four-team playoff.
The Big 10 and the Pac-12 already have a similar deal with the Rose Bowl.
At this time, the most likely affiliate appears to be the Sugar Bowl, while the agreement also puts pressure on the Big East and ACC to find a similar affiliation, or risk being completely left behind -- as if the Big East wasn't being left behind enough as it is.
In the immediate aftermath of the news, there was plenty of speculation that the agreement could provide a further push to Florida State to seriously consider moving to the Big 12, as well as for Notre Dame to more seriously consider giving up their independence.
Here's the official release:
The Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences have announced a five-year agreement for their football champions to meet in a postseason bowl game following the 2014 season.
The champions of the two conferences will be in the matchup unless one or both are selected to play in the new four-team model to determine the national championship. Should that occur, another deserving team from the conference(s) would be selected for the game.
"A new January bowl tradition is born," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "This new game will provide a great matchup between the two most successful conferences in the BCS era and will complement the exciting postseason atmosphere created by the new four-team model. Most importantly, it will provide our student-athletes, coaches and fans with an outstanding bowl experience."
"Our goal is to provide the fans across the country with a New Year's Day prime-time tradition," commented acting Big 12 Conference Commissioner Chuck Neinas. "This is a landmark agreement between two of the most successful football conferences during the BCS era to stage a postseason event. The creation of this game featuring the champions of the Big 12 and SEC will have tremendous resonance in college football."
"I am very excited by the prospects for a game between our champion and the champion of the Southeastern Conference," added incoming Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
During the 14-year history of the Bowl Championship Series, the Big 12 and SEC lead the nation with 11 seasons in which each conference has had at least one team ranked in the top four of the final BCS standings. Both conferences share the top spot all-time with 14 teams each that have finished in the top four of the final BCS standings. The two conferences have combined for 16 appearances in the BCS National Championship Game, with the Big 12 ranking second behind the SEC's nine appearances with seven trips to the National Championship Game.
The two league champions have met twice in BCS bowl games since 1998, both in BCS National Championship Games. In 2010, Alabama defeated Texas, 37-21, in Pasadena, Calif., and in 2009, Florida defeated Oklahoma, 24-14, in Miami, Fla.
Specific details, including host site(s), will be announced at a later date.