New bowl game would precede Holiday Bowl

Updated: April 14, 2005, 9:11 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Holiday Bowl officials will go before the NCAA on Tuesday to seek certification for a second bowl game in San Diego.

If approved, the game will be played Dec. 22 at Qualcomm Stadium, and likely will be called the Poinsettia Bowl. The Holiday Bowl is scheduled for Dec. 29.

"I'm going in thinking we've got a 50-50 chance," Holiday Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski said on Thursday. "We're confident, but we don't want to go beyond 50-50. We've got all the pieces in place. We've just got to see what the committee thinks."

Binkowski and other Holiday Bowl officials will make their presentation to the Football Certification Subcommittee in Phoenix.

If the game is approved, it will be sponsored by a local company that Binkowski wouldn't identify. No TV contract has been finalized, but Binkowski expects that the game would be shown nationally. ESPN televises the Holiday Bowl.

The Mountain West Conference has pushed hard for a pre-Christmas bowl game in San Diego, to match one of its teams against an at-large team. Binkowski said he's received letters of support from the Western Athletic Conference -- which used to send its champion to the Holiday Bowl -- Conference USA and the Naval Academy.

If approved, the new bowl could take the Mountain West team of its choice, meaning San Diego State could play in a hometown bowl, if eligible. The Aztecs haven't been eligible for postseason play since going to the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl.

"There's the possibility not only of San Diego State, but also for BYU, Wyoming, Colorado State and all those old Holiday Bowl teams to be back," Binkowski said.

BYU played in 11 Holiday Bowls and always was a big draw.

The Holiday Bowl has matched teams from the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences since 1998. In 1999, BYU, San Diego State and six other teams left the expanded WAC to form the Mountain West Conference.

The new bowl would pay each team close to the old bowl minimum of $750,000. "At this point it's a moving target, but the key is to approach $750,000," Binkowski said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press