Holiday Bowl still features Pac-12 and ACC teams, but changes coming

The Holiday Bowl is in the middle of a six-year contract with the Pac-12 and the ACC that runs through the 2025 bowl game. The departures of UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah to the Big 12 for the 2024 season leaves the Pac-12 with only Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State.

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August 11, 2023 - 2:46 PM

Oregon players celebrate with the trophy after the Ducks defeated North Carolina, 28-27, in the Holiday Bowl at Petco Park on Dec. 28, 2022, in San Diego. (Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

The latest round of conference realignment, which came to a boil with last week’s implosion of the Pac-12, will not impact the 2023 Holiday Bowl.

This year’s game will pair Pac-12 and ACC teams Dec. 27 at Petco Park as scheduled.

Next year?

That’s another matter.

“Next year, yes, there are going to be changes,” said Mark Neville, CEO of Sports San Diego, which produces the Holiday Bowl. “With what has happened with the Pac-12, we’re going to explore all of our options.

“We have good relationships around the country with conferences. We’re going to work this out where the bowl game continues to thrive for years and years.”

Neville emphasized in a recent email to the bowl’s RedCoat volunteers that the Pac-12’s situation has “zero impact on this year’s Holiday Bowl.”

A Pac-12 team has participated in every Holiday Bowl since 1998, with nine of the conference’s 12 members coming to San Diego through the years.

The Holiday Bowl is in the middle of a six-year contract with the Pac-12 and the ACC that runs through the 2025 bowl game.

The departures of UCLA, USC, Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah to the Big 12 for the 2024 season leaves the Pac-12 with only Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State.

For the moment, anyway.

The final four are exploring all of their options, which include anything from finding other landing spots themselves to recruiting additional new members to the 108-year-old conference.

The Holiday Bowl is exploring its options as well.

It would have been able to renegotiate its tie-ins regardless of what happened last week.

One stipulation included in the Holiday’s contracts is an opportunity to renegotiate if the NCAA playoff expands, which it will do in 2024 when the field increases from four to 12 teams.

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