The future of the Little Caesars Bowl hangs in the balance

Mark A. Cunningham

The contract for the bowl in Ford Field runs for one more year. Who knows what happens after that, but there are plenty of Options! Options!

Yesterday ESPN first reported that the Little Caesars Bowl would likely get replaced with a Big Ten-ACC bowl matchup in Ford Field starting in 2014. So maybe it's a dead game. Then the LCPB executive director tossed out the idea of the game moving to the Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park. So maybe it's an outdoor game.

I wasn't aware the Little Caesars Bowl contract ran out after this season, but then again it's not something I think about all that much. You just expect bowl games are always going to be there, especially the one that, at one time, was the MAC's only pathway to the postseason. Dating back to the Motor City Bowl in the Silverdome, it's the only game that would have an undefeated 1999 Marshall team.

For one, it's a little hilarious that the Big Ten wants to play a different bowl opponent in Detroit, given that they've been an MCB/LCPB primary conference tie-in since 2002 and they've only been able to fill that slot three times — twice by Purdue, who in fairness won both times.

Filling bowl games isn't always easy, but the LCPB had the advantage of bringing in teams close to home, which is exactly why they sidestepped much better MAC teams to select 6-6 but proximally beneficial Central Michigan. A Big Ten school, assuming it's someone like Purdue, makes a lot of sense in this game as well, but the closest ACC teams geographically would be either Louisville or Pittsburgh. But that's this new bowl's problem; good luck with that.

The question would then be: does the MAC still need the Little Caesars Bowl? They qualified for the Orange Bowl, fer cryin' out loud. "Need" may be the wrong word, but it would be quite nice to have these days. All the MAC's other games take them to exotic, far away places such as Boise, Mobile and Tampa. They really could use a game close to home. If it can't be Ford Field or Comerica Park, play it in Cleveland Browns Stadium or Columbus Crew Stadium. Or even take it to the campus and play it in Toledo or Akron. If they're afraid of bitter cold and a snow football game, play it in Indy. Just because the MAC Championship Game is in Detroit doesn't mean this home bowl game has to be there.

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