The Big Ten is contracted to send a team to Detroit for the Little Caesar's Bowl. In most years, it doesn't happen.
Only three times in the bowl's existence has the Big Ten competed in the game. It's likely with this new partnership the league will furnish a team in most -- if not all -- seasons.
Here's the league's release:
The Detroit Lions announced today that they have entered into a six-year partnership with the Big Ten Conference for a bowl game that will be played at Ford Field beginning in 2014.
The game will be officially named once sponsorship agreements are in place. The inaugural game is tentatively scheduled for December 30, 2014 (pending TV broadcast schedule).
“We are thrilled to be hosting a new bowl game in Detroit that will be anchored by an annual commitment from the Big Ten,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “In addition to showcasing our city and its rich football tradition, this game will be an opportunity for fans to enjoy a postseason match-up featuring one of college football’s best conferences.”
At the end of each college football season, the Big Ten and a conference to be named will determine their team representatives after discussion between bowl and conference officials to create the best possible match-up.
“We are pleased to join with the Detroit Lions in creating this new postseason bowl game in Detroit,” Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. “The city of Detroit has played host to as many big-time sporting events as any other major city in America, from NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and Regional games to the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals. The support of the business and community leaders of Detroit coupled with a world-class facility in Ford Field and Detroit Lions’ management of the game will result in a meaningful experience for Big Ten teams and their fans.”The Big Ten has sent a representative to Detroit for a bowl game three times (Northwestern, 2003; Purdue, 2007 and 2011) for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, also played at Ford Field.