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The Mid-American Conference will still likely have three bowl tie-ins for football in 2010, but one trip is going to be a lot further west.
MAC spokesman Ken Mather confirmed Monday that the MAC is pursuing a partnership with the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, and will no longer have a tie-in with the bowl Northern Illinois went to this past season, the International Bowl in Toronto.
“We’re in conversations to solidify our bowl agreements for this 2010 season…We’ll be replacing the International Bowl with the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl,” Mather said in an e-mail.
MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher told the Daily Chronicle in December that the conference was looking into a tie-in with the Humanitarian Bowl. A MAC team, Bowling Green, ended up playing in this year’s Humanitarian Bowl, with the Falcons losing an exciting 43-42 game to Idaho in the final seconds.
“That’s something we’d be very interested in,” Steinbrecher said. “We’ve talked with other conferences and they’ve said the student-athlete experience there is just phenomenal.”
An International Bowl spokesman said he could not comment on the future of the International Bowl and referred questions about the relationship between the bowl and the MAC to the MAC. The future does not look bright for the bowl now that it is without any conference tie-ins after the Big East opted out to play in the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl against a Big 12 opponent.
Attendance for the International Bowl this year was an all-time low at 22,185. The Huskies lost to South Florida, 27-3.
Should the International Bowl cease to exist, it will mark the third of five bowl games that NIU has played in that will be defunct. The Huskies played in the 1983 California Bowl and the 2004 Silicon Valley Classic, both of which no longer exist.
NIU also played in the final Silicon Valley Classic.
Only the Poinsettia Bowl and Independence Bowl are still in existence and on apparently solid footing.