It’s conjecture at this point, but its very much within the realm of possibility that you could see BYU returning to the Holiday Bowl beginning in 2014.
BYU announced this week that they have inked a deal to play in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl and the 2013 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Poinsettia Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski expressed his enthusiasm to the media about the Cougars’ return to San Diego during the bowl season.
“Our mission in December is to bring as many people to town we can get based on the matchups,” Binsowski told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “BYU brings thousands of people. That’s a good reason to grab BYU if you can.”
Binkowsi was the one that apparently approached BYU with the opportunity to play in San Diego in 2012 shortly after the Cougars announced that they were going independent in football.
Now here’s the interesting thing, Binkowski is also the executive director of the Holiday Bowl. In fact, he was the first employee the bowl hired back in 1978.
In a interview published this Saturday in the North County Times, Binkowski was asked which of all the Holiday Bowls over the years were his favorite.
“Well, they’re all favorites,” he answered. “But the one game that stands out and always has is the 1980 game, when BYU was playing SMU, and BYU was trailing 45-25 with 3 minutes and 58 seconds remaining in the game. And BYU came back to win 46-45.”
When asked about which game put the bowl on the map, Binkowski replied,”There are a couple of games that put us on the map. The 1980 game because it was one of the most exciting finishes in college football history, and 1984 when Michigan played BYU. BYU was undefeated and by beating Michigan they won the national championship. We now have that reputation around the country as one of the more exciting and hospitable bowl games.”
BYU played in the first seven Holiday Bowls from 1978 through 1984 and 11 of the first 16.
It’s no secret that the folks at the Holiday Bowl have had an interest in seeing BYU return to the game that it helped put on the map. You can bet that Binkowski and BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe didn’t stop their conversations at the Poinsettia Bowl.
It’s also not insignificant that BYU’s new media partner, ESPN, also own the rights to broadcast the Holiday Bowl.
Since 1998, after the WAC failed to renew its agreement with the bowl, the Holiday Bowl has played host to schools from the PAC-10 and the Big 12. The PAC-10 sent it’s second-place finisher to San Diego to face the third-place team from the Big 12.
In 2009 though, the two conferences moved the Holiday Bowl down a notch by awarding the Alamo Bowl the matchup between PAC-10 No. 2 and Big 12 No. 3. The Holiday is now relegated to a PAC-10 (12) No.3 vs. Big 12 No. 5 match up.
The Big 12 only has 10 teams now, so from here on out the Holiday bowl will be getting the very middle of the pack when it comes to the Big 12 representative.
In years when the Big 12 has a team in the BCS championship game, its possible that the conference may not have enough teams to fill its slot in the Holiday Bowl.
This current arrangement, which has to leave the Holiday Bowl committee feeling a little left out in the cold, expires after 2013. We’re just connecting some interesting dots here, but that could possibly open the door for BYU beginning in 2014.