Florida Citrus Sports President Tony Massey and Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that the Big 12 will participate in the Russell Athletic Bowl beginning with the 2014-15 season. In an agreement that runs through 2019, the selection from the Big 12 will matchup against a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference (inclusive of Notre Dame).
“The addition of the Big 12 conference, with a high post-playoff selection from the ACC or Notre Dame, will cement the Russell Athletic Bowl as one of the country’s premier bowl games,” said FCSports President Tony Massey. “With a reconstructed stadium starting next year to help host top schools from the Big 12, ACC -- and potentially Notre Dame -- Big Ten, SEC, Orlando Bowl Week will be one of the most exciting destinations of the postseason.”
The new pairing, providing the ACC’s first selection after the College Football Playoff series and the Big 12’s second selection, continues the trajectory of the Russell Athletic Bowl. Since moving to Orlando in 2001, the game has elevated its selection status through four consecutive cycles.
“Our partnership with the Russell Athletic Bowl provides our members with a very desirous Florida postseason destination,” said Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “There is great anticipation amongst all our constituent groups to access Orlando, and all its world-class attractions. The opportunity to face a quality ACC opponent is sure to position the game extremely well in the marketplace.”
In 2012, Russell Athletic announced a new partnership with Florida Citrus Sports, with the inaugural Russell Athletic Bowl this past season featuring Virginia Tech defeating Rutgers, 13-10. As the new postseason model begins in 2014, Russell Athletic and FCSports have agreed to extend the partnership through 2017.
“We’re pleased to announce the extension of our relationship with Florida Citrus Sports and the bowl game through 2017,” said Gary Barfield, Senior Vice President for Russell Athletic. “The college football bowl system is entering a very exciting era and, as a brand whose heritage is so closely tied to the sport, we’re thrilled to have top teams from two premier conferences associated with our game.”
The 2014 game, the first to feature the top non-playoff pick, will also be the first played in a new Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium following a major reconstruction of the facility planned for spring and summer of next year.