In light of Army announcing games in the Bronx against Notre Dame in 2010, Rutgers in 2011, Air Force in 2012 and Boston College in 2014 there's talk of a new bowl game coming to Yankee Stadium. According to the New York Daily News, the 2011 bowl season seems to be the target date:
Among the details that would have to be worked out are a date (likely early December) and the minimum $2-1/2 million guarantee the NCAA requires for the participating schools.
It's a no-brainer that the Big East would be the heavy favorites to receive the conference affiliation for one of the spots, considering the general closeness of participating schools to the metropolitan New York area.
But what about the other affiliation? The first guess is pretty obvious: Army. Who knows if "America's Team" will going to be consistently bowl eligible in the future though? The last season where they had more than 4 wins was 13 years ago where they went 10-1 through the 1996 regular season with an (you guessed it) Independence Bowl loss to Auburn.
That's where the Mid-American Conference steps in. Being Army's backup in a bowl game isn't that bad of a situation at all, unless new HC Rich Ellerson's triple option attack becomes as effective as Navy's these past few years.
The MAC is a great choice because of a few reasons.
In terms of where schools are located, the MAC has more of an advantage than the Big 10 in that they have more schools located closer to the East Coast. Temple and Buffalo are perfect examples. Buffalo won the MAC last year and proceeded to lose to Big East power UConn in the International Bowl in Toronto. Temple is one of those schools that has been showing signs of improvement, but still has yet to yield serious winning results. Imagine how many fans of either of these squads would have showed up at Yankee Stadium to watch a bowl game!
Even looking in Ohio, Akron, Kent State & OU Athens are all further East than Columbus.
Of course this promotes some problems, as the MAC West division is the greater side football-wise at the moment. It's all in a name, really. Do you really think unruly Yankee fans will want to watch or care the least bit about a directional Michigan school or Northern Illinois playing at their stadium? I mean it's a nice story and all for these mid-major teams to get big exposure in Yankee Stadium. That's all part of the charm this bowl could have. The MAC East really needs to step up to get some bowl-eligible teams that can be attractive to fill this spot.
Another issue is "Do we really need another bowl game?" We look to the Doc for his opinion:
The bigger question, as always regarding new bowl games, is: Who's going to play in this game? All 34 bowls from last season have been renewed for another year despite the economic downturn, and outside of the 68 teams already represented in those games, only four eligible teams (Bowling Green, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State and San Jose State, all limping to the finish at 6-6 in the worst conferences in the country) were left at home last year. The proposed "Cancer Bowl" in Orlando to raise money for medical research is still in the hopper. I'm sure nothing will help sell the sport to one of its most competitive and indifferent markets like "Bowling Green vs. San Jose State ... next!" Thank god that never happened on Babe Ruth's field.
Like Matt says, these bowl games are getting out of hand. 68 teams? That's over half of the 120 teams in the nation making a post-season appearance. Last year seemed really unusual by the amount of BCS teams that didn't obtain that bowl eligibility. Eventually the perfect storm even hit for 6-6 NIU to get a bid in the Independence Bowl last year.
5 MAC teams went bowling. The MAC has 3 bowl tie-ins with the Motor City Bowl, the GMAC Bowl and the International Bowl. Along with NIU's bowl appearance, Western Michigan also continued on to play in the Texas Bowl where they got smoked by the Rice Owls 38-14. Bowling Green had already fired their head coach after their 6-6 season but hey they were 'bowl eligible'!
The MAC consistently produces schools that have winning records that don't always get their chance at postseason play, so a 4th spot wouldn't be a bad thing. Last year I believe that if this new bowl game existed, Buffalo would have gone to NY, and the 9-3 WMU Broncos would have went up to play in Toronto. Syracuse Blogger Nunes predicts that if the Big East were approached for the opportunity for a new bowl game, they would scrap their International Bowl affiliation. This could potentially send the Int'l bowl into a tailspin.
As the current economic downturn continues, it will be difficult for every single bowl game to keep living and breathing. I'm extremely surprised that every single contract was renewed for this upcoming season. If one bowl game were to go down, this would be the first to pop up and take its spot, most likely the International Bowl.
With all this talk about adding a fancy new bowl game to Yankee Stadium and every bowl game from last year about to happen again, are you really still for a playoff? I could see a 'plus one' model work eventually to determine the National Champion, but dumping the bowl system entirely would be financial suicide. Apparently the investment in all these bowls is showing a return, hopefully silencing a few critics out there.
I for one, would enjoy the pleasure of watching my Huskies take the field to take on a team like Rutgers or Syracuse in Yankee Stadium. I'm a big fan of big games in cold-weather. You just don't see those any more and this new potential bowl game in New York would be great for everybody involved. They tried it before in the early 60's, but The Gotham Bowl didn't catch on.
Now, its just up to MAC teams like Eastern Michigan, Ball State & Temple to beat the Black Knights this upcoming season and in future ones to keep them from being bowl eligible.
This brings up another question: Will Army ever join the MAC?