By Brian Murphy
Boise's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is talking with the Big East, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt about an affiliation for 2013 and beyond, executive director Kevin McDonald told the Idaho Statesman.
The bowl needs a new conference affiliation in 2013 because the WAC will not sponsor football next year. The bowl has an affiliation with the Mid-American Conference for 2013.
McDonald said the bowl has interest in a backup agreement with the University of Idaho, which will play the 2013 season as an FBS independent.
"We don't have a deal in place (with Idaho). We've talked about the face that it makes sense to have something in play if they're going to be an independent school," McDonald said. "We're just trying to work the deal out. We definitely have interest in having a backup agreement with the school."
Idaho has been bowl eligible once in the last 13 years, making it difficult for the bowl to rely on getting the Vandals.
McDonald said the Big East and Mountain West are the two leagues that "make the most sense for us." Boise State is joining the Big East in football in 2013. The conference will also have San Diego State, Houston and SMU. The Mountain West will have several close regional schools.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has the first pick from the WAC and the No. 3 choice from the Mid-American Conference this season for its Dec. 15 game.
If Louisiana Tech (6-1) is the WAC champion, the league could make a deal that would keep the Bulldogs closer to home for bowl season. That would allow the Potato Bowl to select Utah State (6-2) or San Jose State (5-2). Utah State played in the game last year.
"The school (Louisiana Tech) and the conference would probably like the opportunity to not have to travel that team a far distance. I think they'll be attractive to somebody," McDonald said. "If it ends up that we get them, we'll be excited to have them."
On the MAC side, four teams are viable contenders — Ohio (7-0), Toledo 7-1), Northern Illinois (7-1) and Kent State (6-1). Kent State, which has not been to a bowl game since 1967, is already bowl eligible.
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