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MAC announces creation of Bahamas Bowl, debuting in 2014

Get your passports ready because Lizzie McGuire college football is going to the Bahamas.

http://youtu.be/SEKzcIOwcgc

(play this to set the mood)
The MAC announced Monday the creation of the Bahamas Bowl, a matchup against a rotating group of conferences (including the AAC, C-USA, Sun Belt and Mountain West) for the next six years starting in 2014. The first year of the bowl will feature a MAC team against an AAC team, then MAC vs. C-USA in 2015.

"It's symbolic of the growth of this conference in terms of the quality of what's on the field and what people in the industry think of what our teams are capable of," MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. "Each year, our student athletes and our coaches continue to grind and grind to build this organization, so it's really been a collective effort of all involved to get us to this point."

This comes on the heels of the announcements of the Boca Raton Bowl and the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, giving the MAC a minimum of five guaranteed bowl games through 2019.

“Last year was a great year,” Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said during the MAC teleconference Monday. “We got seven teams in bowls. But the reality of it is, if there weren’t so many teams outside our conference that were ineligible to go to bowls, we wouldn’t have gotten seven teams in. … Now if you take care of your own product, there’s a very good chance you’re going to go to a bowl. You’re not dependent on other teams losing games to open up spots.”

The game in Nassau, Bahamas, will be played at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, which was renovated in 2011 and holds up to 30,000 people. Lea Miller, the tournament director for the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament, was brought in to assist the process, and the teams and most of the fans will stay at the Atlantis resort.

The Bahamas Bowl and the Boca Raton Bowl might give way to coining the phrase "destination bowl game," where even if the pairings aren't the most intriguing, the opportunity to go somewhere warm and take a vacation with the bowl as an additional item on the itinerary makes for a fun winter trip.

While travel costs certainly are a concern, and the bowls are a lot harder to get to from the Midwest than say, traveling to Detroit, lots of people go to the Bahamas and to Florida in the winter anyway.

"We will be very aggressive in ways we have not been done before in terms of the packaging of the event in providing preset packages to that participating team," Steinbracher said. "It hopefully will manage the cost. It's not a particularly long flight quite frankly. We're here on the East Coast. If you're connecting through Miami, for example, you're less than 30 minutes from Miami. It's a shorter trip than going to the West Coast. I didn't realize until I had come out here a time or two. We're hopeful we can manage it in ways that will make it attractive. It will truly be for many of our kids a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Steinbrecher said the MAC will have more bowl announcements in the next 14 days and that the Bahamas Bowl will likely be before Christmas but that is still yet to be finalized.

I'm ultimately intrigued by the logistics of the Bahamas Bowl. Will the players take a cruise down there? How will the SIDs wrangle up all the passports when I have a tough enough time remembering mine to go to the Canada side of Niagara Falls? Will the primary bowl sponsor be Banana Boat® Sunscreen?

Oh my gosh on second thought, please please please make it the Banana Boat Bahamas Bowl.

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