Updated: Capitol One Bowl CEO calls rumors of Big Ten meddling ‘blatantly false’

Source: Capital One Bowl

Capital One Bowl CEO Steve Hogan has denied that individual conferences pressured the bowl into picking any teams. Northwestern plays Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day.

Josh Walfish, Gameday Editor

The Capital One Bowl has put on a full-court press to deny rumors that the Big Ten intervened in the bowl’s team selection this season.

Capital One Bowl CEO Steve Hogan told The Daily on Saturday that the Big Ten did not express any opinion to the bowl selection committee about which conference team should go to the highly acclaimed bowl.

“(The Big Ten) didn’t have input on who we selected,” Hogan said. “The thought that the Big Ten pressured us on any pick is blatantly false.”

Hogan made a similar assertion in a statement Friday, saying the selection committee “has the sole authority to select and invite the two most deserving teams each year.”

That’s not to say the bowl did not communicate with the Big Ten offices, but Hogan said those discussions revolved around the obligations of the conference. He said the lengthiest discussions surrounded the Big Ten’s selection rules for bowl games.

The conference mandates that the Capital One Bowl cannot select a team with two fewer losses or two more wins than any other team still available. This rule eliminated Michigan from consideration for the bowl spot, leaving Northwestern and Nebraska as the only eligible alternatives.

NU athletic director Jim Phillips swapped text messages and emails with Hogan over the weekend, and Hogan said he has a lot of respect for Phillips and what he’s done for the NU football program. The selection committee met Dec. 2 for a last-minute hourlong debate about which teams to pick. By mid-morning, the bowl had selected the Cornhuskers to represent the Big Ten in the bowl. Still, Hogan said there was a lot of discussion about selecting the Wildcats.

“We have a lot of respect for Northwestern from 1997 and how they traveled,” Hogan said. “We just felt that based on their resume, (Nebraska) deserved (the spot).”

This blog post has been updated to reflect Hogan’s statement.

— Josh Walfish

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