May 24, 2006
Park Ridge, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference announced a four-year extension with the Motor City Bowl today to send a seventh bowl-eligible team to face a team from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. The Big Ten now has seven bowl tie-ins for the 2006-09 college football seasons including the Rose Bowl/Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game and the Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports and Insight Bowls.
"The Big Ten Conference is looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Mid-American Conference and the Motor City Bowl," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "Detroit is in close proximity to most conference schools and both the city and surrounding areas feature the unbelievable support of Big Ten alumni and fans. The conference is also extremely pleased to build on our relationship with the MAC, which has produced exceptional regular-season matchups over the years - a rivalry that will continue in the postseason environment at a premier venue like Ford Field."
"The Motor City Bowl cannot think of a better way to celebrate its 10-year anniversary than to announce the extension of its contract with the Big Ten Conference for 2006-2009," said Motor City Bowl Executive Director Ken Hoffman. "The success of the Motor City Bowl is a tribute to the auto industry, the City of Detroit, and the two conferences that dominate our regional geography . . . the Big Ten Conference and the Mid-American Conference."
The 2006 Motor City Bowl is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 26, with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff to be televised by ESPN. The Big Ten has been a partner with the bowl since 2002 but has only sent one team to Detroit in the first four years of the agreement, with Northwestern being edged by Bowling Green in 2003. The Motor City Bowl was first played in 1997 at the Pontiac Silverdome and will be celebrating its tenth year in 2006.
Big Ten teams will square off against MAC opponents in 17 regular-season games in the 2006 campaign with all 11 conference programs challenging at least one MAC school. The two leagues have met on 55 occasions over the last five years, including 54 regular-season contests and the 2003 Motor City Bowl.
The Big Ten's current bowl lineup will run concurrently with the latest BCS contract, which will expand to five games during the 2006-09 seasons and provide two additional at-large berths each year. Each of the four BCS-affiliated bowl games will once again welcome their traditional partners on an annual basis, along with hosting a stand-alone BCS National Championship Game one week later in one of those four years.