The secret had been out for quite some time but today it became official. The Detroit Lions officially announced the creation of a new bowl game to be played at Ford Field beginning after the 2014 college football season.
The game was announced on DetroitLions.com with a conference call scheduled for later this morning. From the release:
“We are thrilled to be hosting a new bowl game in Detroit that will be anchored by an annual commitment from the Big Ten,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “In addition to showcasing our city and its rich football tradition, this game will be an opportunity for fans to enjoy a postseason matchup featuring one of college football’s best conferences.”
The new bowl game will be a more high profile game, at least on the surface, than the Little Caesars Bowl. The Big Ten keeps the tie in to the game in Detroit but the MAC will be replaced by a conference yet to be named. Reports have suggested that will be the ACC. Still, the game will draw from the lower tier of bowl-eligible Big Ten teams.
December 30, 2014 is the tentative date for the first game, pending the finalization of the television schedule. The agreement with the Big Ten runs for six years and the game will be named after sponsorship is in place.
The new bowl game could help forge a relationship between the Detroit Lions/Ford Field and the Big Ten Conference that leads to a future Big Ten Football Championship Game in Detroit. The league’s title game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis through the 2015 season. The Big Ten has announced conference schedules through 2017 but a championship game site for ’16 or ’17 has not been determined.