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Sun Bowl Officials Announce New Conference Affiliations

By ABC-7 Reporter Darren Hunt

EL PASO, Texas — Starting next year, El Paso will get to see some new schools play in the Brut Sun Bowl. A new tie-in with the Atlantic Coast Conference could bring traditional powers like Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech to the Sun City.

“It’s been a busy year for us at the Sun Bowl,” said Sun Bowl president Frank Bates. Sun Bowl officials have had a lot to do this off-season, like securing new conference affiliations for the 76-year-old game.

“One of the thing’s that’s complicated our year this year was the fact that our contract for the bowl game expires following this year,” Bates said.

On one sideline, we will have the third selection, after the Bowl Championship Series, from the Pac-10 and on the other sideline, we’ll have the third selection after the BCS from the ACC. So it’s East vs. West meeting right in the middle of the country in El Paso for the next four years.

“The exposure we’re going to get from having the East Coast and their power versus the West Coast and their power on CBS is going to be really good and really good for our community,” said John Folmer, Sun Bowl football chairman.

The key word in the new deal is selection. Getting a selection instead of being tied into a place should help the Sun Bowl avoid repetitive visits from the same teams.

“It seems like the last four, five, six years, it’s been pretty much the same teams coming in … be nice to see some different teams,” said one El Paso resident.

The past three games have featured a team from Oregon.

The Pac-10 vs. ACC match-up is also attractive in other ways.

“The menu we get from the ACC is probably better name schools than we could have gotten here,” said Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas.

Olivas said he is thrilled with the new agreement.

“We will be the only bowl that has an ACC-Pac-10 matchup for the next four years and that kind of sets us apart from everybody else.”

Sun Bowl officials said the new agreement also secures the survival of the game during difficult economic times for at least the next four years.

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