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College Sports

Sugar Bowl will match Big 12 and SEC

(MCT) — The Big 12 football champion will have a new destination starting with the 2014 season — the Sugar Bowl.

And Nebraska could return to Arrowhead Stadium for a regular season game next season.

Football scheduling was the talk of college football on Tuesday as the future landscape begins to take shape.

The Big 12 and Southeastern Conference announced that their champions will meet in New Orleans, if they’re not involved in the four-team playoff for the national championship.

“It’s a good day for us,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “We’ll play our champion against the champion of the SEC, and that’s no small task taking on the best league in the country.”

The first Sugar Bowl between the leagues will be played Jan. 1, 2015, and be broadcast on ESPN after the Rose Bowl. The agreement is for 12 years and runs concurrently with the contract of the college football playoff.

The Sugar Bowl becomes a game that had been unofficially known as the Champions Bowl when the agreement between the conferences was announced in May.

If this were 2014, the top four BCS teams — Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame — would be in the playoffs at bowl sites. The Sugar Bowl would pit the second-place teams from the Big 12 and SEC, and that would be Georgia vs. Oklahoma.

That is, if the Sugar Bowl isn’t one of the national semifinal games. In such a year, the game would not host a Big 12-SEC matchup.

When it all shakes out, college football is expected to have six major bowls. The Sugar, Rose and Orange bowls have been identified for the semifinal rotation, and the Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls are expected to fill the lineup. Each year, two of those six will host the semifinals and the other four will pair highly rated teams.

With Tuesday’s announcement, the Sugar Bowl essentially becomes for the SEC and Big 12 what the Rose Bowl is for the Big Ten and Pac-12.

The Fiesta Bowl will lose the Big 12’s automatic tie-in, a relationship it has held since the league was formed in 1996.

Arlington, Texas, and Cowboys Stadium expressed interest in holding the SEC-Big 12 game. Look for Cowboys Stadium to be a front-runner for college football’s first national championship game, after the 2014 season. “More than any site in college football, Cowboys Stadium will be a regular site for the national championship game,” Bowlsby said.

ESPN will pay $80 million a year to televise the event, the network reported.

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