April 12, 2011
ESPN Regional Television (ERT), Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, and Meineke Car Care Centers announce a three year title sponsorship deal of the Texas Bowl, beginning for the 2011 event. The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas will be played in December on an ESPN network at Reliant Stadium in Houston — home to the NFL's Houston Texans.
The annual game will match up the Big 12 versus the Big Ten. In 2010, Illinois beat Baylor 38-14 on Dec. 29 at Reliant Stadium, and with 68,211 fans had its second-highest attended game in bowl history.
"We are proud to have a company which began in Houston return and become the title sponsor of the new Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas," said Clint Overby, ESPN Senior Director of Events. "The strong brand presence of Meineke combined with the football history in Texas makes this a natural partnership."
Alas, a Meineke Car Care Bowl divided against itself cannot stand. The original Meineke Car Care Bowl, which has pitted an ACC team against a Big East foe in Charlotte, N.C., every year since 2004, will henceforth be known as the Belk Bowl, after the Charlotte-based chain of department stores. The new Meineke Car Care Bowl assumes the history and records of the former Texas Bowl, a Houston institution since 2006 — which is not to be confused with its predecessor, the Houston Bowl, which began life in 2000 as the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl and fizzled out in 2005.
Confused? Obviously. Maybe this map will help:
All hail the sanctity, dignity and tradition of the bowl system.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.