Sun Belt looks to renew, alter bowl deal

NEW ORLEANS -- The Sun Belt Conference expects to extend its affiliation with the New Orleans Bowl, and wants to be able to send a team other than the conference champion to that game.

"We're going to have to have some flexibility to make sure we're providing the best team for not only this bowl, but other bowls," Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters said Tuesday as the conference wrapped up two days of online and telephone interviews with its member football teams, known as "media days."

Waters said it is increasingly important to have bowl matchups that "make geographic sense" as the Sun Belt seeks to boost attendance and thereby make its teams more attractive to bowl committees.

It is not yet clear if that will become much of an obstacle to the Sun Belt renewing its current agreement with the New Orleans Bowl, which runs out after this season.

For now, New Orleans Bowl officials do not appear to be on board with the idea of hosting any other Sun Belt squad but the league champion.