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Orlando's loss could be BE's gain

From the Orlando Sentinel (ht: Dr. Saturday)

Hogan spent last week in California working to renew the certification of the Capital One Bowl and the Champs Sports Bowl played in Orlando. The NCAA recertified both games, but meetings with officials from conferences that send teams to Orlando gave Hogan a massive headache.

Leaders of the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten pounced, immediately asking Hogan about progress made toward renovating the Citrus Bowl.

Improvements to the dilapidated stadium projected to cost $175 million have been tabled indefinitely, with Hogan and several city officials agreeing it could be 10 years before the venue would be renovated because of the nosedive in tourism tax revenue.

Hogan said the SEC and Big Ten have grown tired of waiting for the renovation — especially with other cities such as Dallas, with a new $1 billion stadium, looking to muscle in on Orlando's bowl positioning.

That's a domino I hadn't anticipated, given the tremendous fan support from Big Ten and SEC schools. The Citrus (I will not use its other name) bowl currently gets first crack in both conferences of any team that doesn't get a BCS bid. Now, suppose this isn't just a negotiating ploy, because it might be. The reinvigorated Cotton Bowl wants a better matchup, and you might be able to say the same about the Texas Bowl in Houston.

If the likes of the Cotton, Hall of Fame, and Peach bowls can jump Citrus in the SEC's pecking order, the Big East suddenly has a realistic alternative to the Gator Bowl (and likewise, they could finally replace the Big East). Citrus is still a far more attractive destination than its cousin the Tangerine Bowl, which could very well be in play as a #3 game for the Big East if negotiations go South.

You'd think, with everything at stake, that cooler heads will probably prevail. Let's hope they don't. The Big East is starving for better bowl bids, and its now staring down a nice, juicy steak.