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SEC Announces Bowl Agreements

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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With its new bowl partnerships, the 14-team SEC will continue to be prominently showcased throughout the holiday season in the deep south.

"This bowl process gives us the best opportunity to address several issues that impact SEC fans, including the creation of intriguing matchups, the accommodation of travel for fans, reduced ticket obligations for our schools and a variety of assignments to help prevent repetitive postseason destinations."
~SEC Commissioner Mike Slive

College football's postseason structure is poised for groundbreaking change in 2014 as, for the first time ever at the game's highest level, a true tournament will determine the national champion. The goal of the highly-anticipated College Football Playoff is to produce a format that better matches the growing depth and parity at the NCAA Division I FBS level. Even as the tectonic plates in college football shift, recent negotiations by the Southeastern Conference have ensured rock solid placement throughout the historic restructuring.

With transformation on the horizon, the SEC announced on Monday an updated system of newly-apportioned bowl tie-ins that will begin next season and carry through for six years. Outside of schools that qualify for the College Football Playoff and, in certain years, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and Discover Orange Bowl, the league will have annual relationships with nine bowl games. The Capital One Bowl in Orlando, which has hosted a team from the SEC every season since 1992, will then have the first choice of eligible programs available.

In the new alignment, a pool of six bowl games will then have selection options: the Outback Bowl, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Texas Bowl and Belk Bowl. Of the aforementioned, the latter two are new affiliations. This structure will help promote site diversification. The Birmingham Bowl, then the Advocare V100 Bowl, will have the final options.

"We are pleased to have established a lineup of premier bowl games that will give our student-athletes a wonderful postseason experience and our fans the opportunity to travel to venues in the geographical footprint of the conference," explained SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.

With these partnerships, the 14-team SEC will continue to be prominently showcased throughout the holiday season in the deep south. North Carolina and Texas, the second-most populated state in the country, provide two new bowl game hosts. A conference that has won seven straight national championships will once again have prime postseason positioning from the top down.

"This bowl process gives us the best opportunity to address several issues that impact SEC fans, including the creation of intriguing matchups, the accommodation of travel for fans, reduced ticket obligations for our schools and a variety of assignments to help prevent repetitive postseason destinations," Slive added.

Through its latest wave of contracts, the SEC has assured itself the best possible scenarios for its member institutions. As the college football world turns, the SEC has done just what it needed to make sure its role doesn't budge one bit.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports