The final Holiday Bowl to include a team from the Big 12 conference for at least six years will be played tonight at Qualcomm Stadium when Texas Tech takes on Arizona State.
The San Diego Bowl Game Association, which conducts the game, announced in June that it had signed a six-year agreement with the Big Ten Conference to supply a team beginning with the 2014 game, replacing the Big 12, which had annually supplied a team since 1995.
"We've had a great relationship with the Big 12, but we felt it was time for a change," Holiday Bowl Executive Director Bruce Binkowski told City News Service last week. "We just thought it was time for a fresh look."
One reason for the change -- "the Big Ten has a lot of alumni in Southern California," Binkowski said.
When the agreement was announced in June, Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said, "During the bowl evaluation process, we heard our directors of athletics and head coaches tell us that the Holiday Bowl was a reward destination they wanted the conference to be part of."
The Holiday Bowl will get the third selection from the Big Ten Conference after participants in the College Football Playoff, which begins next season, are chosen.
The Holiday Bowl's choice will be made after discussions with the bowl and conference officials to create the best possible matchup, Binkowski said.
The agreement includes the stipulation that the Holiday Bowl will not have the same Big Ten team in the game more than twice in the six-year span.
The Holiday Bowl had an agreement with the Big Ten Conference to annually supply a team from 1992-94. Big Ten teams played in the Holiday Bowl six times between 1979 and 1991 when an at-large team was chosen to play the Western Athletic Conference champion.
In connection with the announcement that the Big Ten Conference would provide a team, a six-year agreement extending the bowl's relationship with the Pacific-12 Conference was also announced.
The Holiday Bowl will get the second selection from the Pacific-12 Conference after participants in the College Football Playoff are chosen.
Tonight's game will match two powerful offenses. Entering bowl play, Arizona State (10-3) was ninth in the nation in scoring, averaging 41 points per game. Texas Tech (7-5) was second in passing offense, averaging 392 yards per game.
The Sun Devils were ranked 16th in the final Associated Press media poll of the regular season and 17th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Red Raiders are unranked and have lost five consecutive games.
Arizona State had a seven-game winning streak snapped in its 38-14 loss to Stanford Dec. 7 in the Pacific-12 Conference Championship Game, its second loss of the season to the Cardinal. Its other loss was to Notre Dame, 37-34, Oct. 5.
Arizona State is making its fourth appearance in the Holiday Bowl and first since the 2007 game when it lost to Texas, 52-34. The Sun Devils are 0-3 in the Holiday Bowl.
Texas Tech's only other Holiday Bowl appearance came in 2004 when it upset California, 45-31. Sonny Cumbie was named as the game's MVP, completing 39 of 60 passes for three touchdowns a game-record 520 yards.
Cumbie is now the Red Raiders co-offensive coordinator. Two of his teammates from the 2004 team are also on Texas Tech's coaching staff -- co- defensive coordinator Mike Smith and safeties coach Trey Haverty.
The Holiday Bowl has the second choice among Pacific-12 Conference teams and fourth choice from the 10-team Big 12 Conference after the conference champions and any additional teams are chosen to play in Bowl Championship Series games.
Holiday Bowl officials expected a crowd of about 55,000 at the game. The opening kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m.
The Metropolitan Transit System announced it will expand its Green Line service beginning around 2:30 p.m. Trains will run every five to seven minutes after the final gun, but fans should expect waits of up to 40 minutes to leave, according to the agency.
—City News Service