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Papajohns.com bowl moves up in SEC pecking order


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Looks like we will be getting a slightly better opponent in PJ.com bowl.  Previously, the BE played the SEC #9.  Now we will get the SEC #8.  It is actually a shared #8 with Liberty, where they will agree/work together on the picks.  If the PJ.com and Liberty can't agree on SEC team, they will alternate who get's the #8 pick.


Papajohns.com Bowl and SEC agree to four-year deal

By Jon Solomon -- The Birmingham News

March 31, 2010, 8:07AM

The SEC confirmed Tues­day the Papajohns.com and Liberty bowls will share the conference's final two bowl picks, using an arrangement that asks them to agree upon team selections before a rotation process occurs.

As part of their four-year agreements through 2013, the Papajohns.com and Lib­erty rotate who gets an SEC team when the conference doesn't have enough eligible teams. If there are enough teams, the two bowls will at­tempt to work through their picks together.

This marks the first four­-year contract between the SEC and the Papajohns.com Bowl after they previously worked under a two-year deal.

"We certainly sense more and more community involvement with the bowl, which in our view is essential to the success of a bowl," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "We're very pleased that we're able to enter into a more formal and longer agreement with the bowl and to hopefully make a contribution to the community in which the conference office is located."

The Papajohns.com previously had the last SEC pick by itself.

"Assuming we have a team to fill every year, there's a process where (the Papajohns.com and Liberty) will mutually discuss the teams that fit best and hopefully reach a mutual agreement," SEC Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack said. "Some­times it may be logical. Sometimes it may not be. It just depends on who the teams are."

If the bowls can't agree on teams, they take turns on who picks first, Womack said. Letting bowls settle a debate over one team marks a change for the SEC. When the Music City and Liberty previously shared a pick and coveted the same team, the school determined where it wanted to play.

The contingency plans re­main unclear for the Papa­johns. com and Liberty if they don't get an SEC team.

The Papajohns.com pre­viously had a backup plan with the Sun Belt to play the Big East under certain con­ditions if the SEC didn't qualify. The Big East wants to annually play the SEC, and the Liberty has been trying to secure the Big East as a backup in its game against Conference USA.

Womack said ESPN Re­gional Television senior vice president Pete Derzis, whose company owns the Papajohns.com Bowl, has been trying to accommo­date every party's needs. At­tempts to reach Derzis for comment were unsuccess­ful. ESPN said it hasn't finalized the necessary agreements to comment.

"From the SEC's perspec­tive, the focus that we had was trying to maintain nine bowl opportunities for our institutions," Womack said.

The Capital One Bowl keeps the SEC's first pick outside the Bowl Champi­onship Series. The Cotton and Outback share the Nos. 3 and 4 picks, followed by the Chick-fil-A, Gator, Mu­sic City and the shared Papajohns.com/Liberty picks.

The Independence Bowl left the SEC lineup and was replaced by the Gator, which jumped ahead of some bowls in the confer­ence's pecking order.

"Certainly there were some difficult discussions," Slive said. "We're obviously sensitive to the issues that each of our bowls has in their own communities. But the overriding principle that we have to be governed by is: What's in the best inter­est of the Southeastern Con­ference?"

Womack said the Papa­johns.com Bowl's payout to the SEC will increase, declining to reveal the amount. Last season, the bowl paid $900,000 for the No. 10 SEC team and $600,000 for the No. 4 Big East team.

"In essence, their selec­tion (with the SEC) has in­creased," Womack said. "In certain years they will have a higher selection than what they were paying. Whereas they were always ninth, now they could get eighth."

If the SEC continues to place two teams in the BCS, the Papajohns.com and Lib­erty essentially share the ninth and 10th picks. The SEC moved two teams up in each of the four years since the BCS expanded from eight to 10 teams.

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Good news.

And let me get this straight.  Liberty wants the Big East as a backup.  That's cool by me.  So if there's a year when the BE has seven qualifiers and the SEC comes up one short that it might be possible for a BE team to play a SEC squad in Birmingham and another to play in the Liberty Bowl?  That wouldn't be so bad. 

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If the BE had 7 bowl teams and the SEC couldn't fill their slots, the BE would replace the SEC in the Liberty bowl, so the BE would play the SEC in the PJB, but they would play the C-USA champion in the Liberty Bowl, which wouldn't be a bad game either, since usually the C-USA champ is ranked or almost ranked, and is still better than playing a MAC team or something.

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