Bowl alliance saved, as Big East, ACC reject Blockbuster offer

January 24, 1992|By Jerry Bembry

A bowl alliance formed to enhance the chances of a national championship game in college football was completed yesterday, with the Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference declining a lucrative invitation to have their champions meet in the Blockbuster Bowl.

Signing was expected last month of the alliance among the Sugar, Orange, Cotton and Fiesta bowls, but that was postponed when the Blockbuster Bowl tried to muscle in with a record $4.3 million-per-team offer for a matchup of the Big East and ACC champions. The Big East turned down the offer yesterday, and the ACC made its decision Wednesday. Votes from both leagues were unanimous.

"Once we began to look at everything, our people felt we had become a part of this creative team of the coalition and leaving was very, very bothersome to them," said Mike Tranghese, commissioner of the Big East, which has been a part of the talks for the past 11 months. "We weren't going to have the game that the public wanted. The fact that this increases the possibility of a 1 vs. 2 game makes this special."

In addition to the Big East champion, the ACC champion and Notre Dame, the champions of the Big Eight, Southwest Conference and Southeastern Conference (with two at-large teams) will be part of the pool. Teams would be seeded according to the final Associated Press rankings.

"We're just absolutely delighted to be a part of this," said ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan. "The Blockbuster Bowl made a nice offer, but in the end, our schools overwhelmingly felt we wanted to be a part of this association. We're delighted."

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