Envisioning the Spurned PAC 2-Sun Belt Alliance’s Affect on Sun Belt’s Bowls

The proposed PAC-2/Sun Belt alliance could have caused multiple unhappy Sun Belt bowl partners.

The PAC-2 reached out to the Sun Belt to form a scheduling alliance this week.
Source: Young Kwak/AP

Esteemed college football writer Ross Dellenger nestled one of the more bizarre turns in the PAC-2 saga in his update on Washington State and Oregon State's future. His report stated the two schools contacted the Sun Belt to form a scheduling alliance. The conference respectfully declined.

For obvious reasons, this idea was far-fetched and contained many hurdles. Scheduling alliances in college football are nothing new. Notre Dame is the most famous instance of this with their ongoing partnership with the ACC. In exchange for membership in Olympic sports, the Fighting Irish play five ACC schools a year.

More importantly, Notre Dame has access to the conference's non-New Year's Six bowl lineup. A Sun Belt-Oregon State/Washington State alliance likely would have done the same. Having two former PAC-12 members could have significantly boosted the TV ratings for the Sun Belt's bowl partners.

However, like the regular season games between Sun Belt schools and PAC-2, geography was the most substantial obstacle. The Sun Belt works closely with several of the 17 bowls ESPN owns. Most of those bowls are east of Texas. The only ESPN-owned bowls close to Oregon State or Washington State are the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and LA Bowl.

Few Cougar or Beaver fans would travel across the country on less than three weeks' notice to see their team play a Group of Five school.

One Sun Belt bowl that the PAC-2 schools would have enjoyed is the New Orleans Bowl. Neither Oregon State nor Washington State ever played Tulane when the Green Wave called the Superdome home. Fans of both schools would have cherished the opportunity to play a game in one of the world's most famous stadiums, "The House That Chuck Muncie Built."

Without the alliance with the Sun Belt, Washington State or Oregon State will have to make the 12-team playoff, win their first-round game, and hope to get paired against an SEC team in the Sugar Bowl in the quarterfinal or semifinal rounds to play a game in the Superdome.

Aside from the New Orleans Bowl, the other Sun Belt bowl not owned by ESPN is the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile. Unfortunately, for some college football purists, this bowl loses its luster after its move from historic Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

It is probably best for both parties that the Sun Belt declined the PAC-2's request for a scheduling alliance. The Sun Belt's bowl partners would have taken a significant attendance hit, and Washington State and Oregon State fans would have had few bowl destinations to look forward to.

Now, we may never see the diehard college football fan's dream of seeing Oregon State in the Mytrle Beach Bowl or Washington State in the Camellia Bowl.