Big Ten’s dumping of the Little Caesars Bowl is fine … unless it partners with new Ford Field bowl

If the Big Ten chooses to partner with Ford Field’s new bowl game, it’s behaving like a bully. And not an intelligent one.

Ford Field execs notified Little Caesars Pizza Bowl CEO Ken Hoffman months ago that they were creating their own bowl game, Hoffman said Wednesday on “Staudt on Sports” on WVFN 730-AM in Lansing, leaving the Pizza Bowl without a home.

Hoffman and Little Caesars Bowl co-founder George Perles said they plan to continue their game, with the Mid-American Conference, without the Big Ten and at a new venue, perhaps Comerica Park.

Comerica Park in December for MAC football is dumb.

But so is the Big Ten in this, if it bites on Ford Field’s proposal, choosing the Fords over Mike Ilitch (who owns Little Caesars) and for what ESPN reported to be an ACC foe over the MAC.

The Big Ten has only three times supplied the Motor City-turned-Little Caesars Bowl with a team — twice Purdue, once Northwestern — because the game usually fell in the pecking order beneath its bowl-eligible teams.

The draw, however, was never the Big Ten. It was Central Michigan and Western Michigan and Toledo that brought in the best crowds, often north of 50,000 fans. Regionally, certain years, the game was a big deal to those schools.

And, if a Big Ten team was the opponent, all the better. But the fans came from the MAC. They won’t for N.C. State or some other middling ACC program.

Certainly for television dollars and perhaps for the Big Ten’s new anti-pecking-order bowl system — an affiliated bowl has to select five different teams over six years — this makes more sense. After all, if the third- or fourth-place team is going to be shipped to Detroit in December, facing the MAC wouldn’t be acceptable.

But there is no reason the Big Ten, if it wants a Detroit postseason presence, couldn’t make that game exempt from the new bowl slotting system, having its seventh or eighth team always there.

This much I know: Purdue vs. Wake Forest won’t draw what Purdue-CMU or Purdue-WMU did.

The Big Ten ought to be able to see that.

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22 Responses to Big Ten’s dumping of the Little Caesars Bowl is fine … unless it partners with new Ford Field bowl

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Graham, do you think more fans would pay to see an Alex Carder say at Western Michigan than a 6-6 Big Ten Team?

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      It’s not about the MAC or the Big Ten. It’s about the MAC or the ACC. I’d bet there are more folks in Michigan who’d pay to see Carder and WMU vs. Purdue than Duke vs. Purdue.

  2. avatar A very Anti-Couch poster says:

    The fans of MAC don’t show up, it was the lowest pay out of any Bowl game, good for the B1G to dump it.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      There’s almost no money in any of the non-BCS bowl games. In fact, the Little Caesars Bowl had gone to a no-BS cover-expenses payout, making it one of the few bowls that didn’t wind up costing schools money. And check your attendance numbers. They did show up for this game, more often than not.

      • avatar A very Anti-Couch poster says:

        The Orlando/Tampa games have $1M pay out or so it’s purported. As for the MAC showing up, 40k average attendance may be good for MAC teams, but not where real football is played at the college level. B1G schools NEVER wanted this Bowl game, NEVER. So unless the rest of the media are making stuff up, Gram, I’d check YOUR facts

        • avatar cfb post season executive says:

          The little Caesar’s pizza bowl formally the motor city bowl was wanted by the BIG ten. It has always had good tv ratings and is up there in attendance when it comes to bowl games. It has been good for the mac as well and helped them gain more national recognition. Its a shame ford field is going to mess up something that’s been so good for everyone. All they are doing is essentialy stealing the game they have watched George Perles, Ken Hoffman, Gary VanDam, John Perles and James Jensen build over the past decade and a half

          • avatar A very Anti-Couch poster says:

            YUP, you’re right, every B1G team really wanted to play at Ford Field – NOT!

        • avatar Graham Couch says:

          Anti-Couch, those reported numbers are bogus. Most “$750,00 payouts” wind up with the school losing at least a couple-hundred grand. And if you look at bowl attendance across the country, you’ll see the MAC-headlined Little Caesars and Motor City games did pretty well comparatively. I know my facts on this one. I’ve written a lot on this.

          • avatar A very Anti-Couch poster says:

            As you have so much access with the coaches and athletic departments, I’m sure you’re correct. Please, don’t site anything people in KZoo told you as being gospel, it is different at the bcs level.

        • avatar BruceMcF says:

          Don’t be conned by publicity payouts ~ if there is a payout of $600,000 and the school is on the hook for $200,000 in tickets it can’t sell, its not a real $600,000 payout … its $400,000 payout and $200,000 transfer from the school to its own conference.

          The Pizza Pizza Bowl Bowl was a safety bowl for the Big Ten, letting a 7-5 or 6-6 school go bowling that would otherwise be scratching for a place at another bottom tier bowl. You may reckon that 40K to 60K is not good attendance, but its as good or better attendance than the actual alternative bowls for that 9th or 10th best bowl eligible Big Ten school.

  3. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    i remember going to the cherry bowl in pontiac and the dave yarema led spartans lost to army..i think we got shut out or lost 7-6.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      I was at that game with my Dad Jersey , we had Lorenzo white as a freshman we lost 10-6 and I remember saying wtf how could we not get 10 points against Army?

  4. avatar A very Anti-Couch poster says:

    The reason BIG fans go to bowl games is to get out of winter more than it is to see a football game, it’s more like a Spring Break trip for families where a football game breaks out. It’s why Northern bowl games will never work. let me see Chicago in January or Orlando in January? hmmmm

    • avatar a very pro couch poster says:

      have to disagree with you their Chief.

    • avatar BruceMcF says:

      For a holiday, sure, but Detroit is in driving distance for a number of Big Ten schools. Its no accident that some of the bigger crowds the Motor City Bowl ~ aka Pizza Pizza Bowl Bowl ~ got were when Purdue showed up.

      If the Buckeyes ever flamed out so bad to go to the last bowl in the ladder, there wouldn’t be many Buckeyes fans at the game, but that’s a game almost any MAC fan would love to go see.

  5. avatar CMUAlum says:

    AntiCouch, Do you watch the Non NYD games? The attendence is awful! Furthermore, have you watched any MAC Football? Remind me where the Number 1 OVERALL pick this year was from? The 40k is the MAC schools doing their part, it is the “big” 10 that isn’t supporting their part. UT, CMU, WMU, EMU, OU…they all bring crowds. Additionally, they always compete. Purpue was a kicker away from loosing to CMU and WMU. Maybe the big 10 was not interested in being embarrased by “fake football” NW lost to BGSU. Get a clue…This is game was built and supported by the MAC…Couchs point is the without the MAC, the big 10 will have a poorly attended bowl game…

  6. avatar JRS says:

    The last Little Caesars pizza bowl only drew around 23,000 fans, that may
    have been a big part of them wanting to dump it.

  7. avatar A very Anti-Couch poster says:

    Any Bowl with a MAC team in it is not one the B1G should bother with. Yea, every once in awhile a MAC team plays above it’s norm, or they have a player who gets drafted and does well in the NFL, but by in large the MAC is a step below the present AQ’s. It’s a Mid-Major league and for the B!G to get into a contractual Bowl appearance agreement with them is to only ensure that all the 6-6 teams in a given year have a place to go, but that said, fans don’t want to travel to detroit in Dec. when they can use the excuse of a bowl game to justify going to warmer clines.

  8. avatar NJ Rob says:

    Why did Golson leave ND?

    • avatar MSU Owns Beilien says:

      he didn’t leave ND, ND left him for academic issues, supposedly this was his third offense

  9. avatar William Jackson says:

    I agree with Mr. Couch on this issue. While the B1G doesn’t need this game as much as the MAC, it is still a bowl game that allows a lower tier B1G team an opportunity to play. If the B1G doesn’t have a team to field, the MAC still does and there is plenty of interest from Western, Central, Eastern or Toledo to come and bring their fans. As Michigan State or Michigan fans, we might view this as a game of no consequence, but for a MAC team, it could be the culimination of a great season. Finally, for everything that Mr. Ilitch has done for Detroit, this is a terrible slap in the face. Ford Field execs should be ashamed of themselves.
    William Jackson, Ph.D.

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