The Big 12 Conference's new postseason bowl lineup can be a bit confusing for football fans across the region, so let's keep it simple: If your team goes bowling, it's going to end up somewhere warm.
Beyond that, which bowls take which Big 12 teams will be a mystery right up until selection time, much of the uncertainty stemming from a unique agreement the league made with the Gator Bowl and the Sun Bowl last year.
This much is known: The Champs Sports Bowl and the Fort Worth Bowl no longer are affiliated with the Big 12. Taking their place is the Insight Bowl and a split agreement the Big East and Big 12 have between the Gator and Sun bowls.
Here's how the deal works: In the next four years, the Gator Bowl will get two Big 12 teams in its game and ultimately will get to decide when it wants them. In the two years it doesn't take a Big 12 team, the Sun Bowl will get a Big 12 team.
A look at the three new bowls affiliated with the Big 12 Conference:
Gator Bowl Date: noon, Jan. 1, 2007 Place: ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla. TV: CBS Pairings: Big 12, Big East or Notre Dame vs. ACC Payout: $2.5 million in 2006 Last year's result: Virginia Tech 35, Louisville 24
Sun Bowl Date: 1 p.m., Dec. 29, 2006 Place: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas TV: CBS Pairings: Big 12 or Big East vs. Pac-10 Payout: $1.5 million in 2005 Last year's result: UCLA 50, Northwestern 38
Insight Bowl Date: Dec. 29, 2006, time TBD Place: Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. TV: NFL Network Pairings: Big 12 vs. Big Ten Payout: $750,000 in 2005 Last year's result: Arizona State 45, Rutgers 40
Further confusing matters, the Gator and Sun bowls have different spots in the Big 12 pecking order. The Gator Bowl, played on New Year's Day in Jacksonville, Fla., will pick third behind the BCS bowl and the Cotton Bowl. The Sun Bowl, which is held in El Paso, Texas, goes fifth behind BCS, Cotton, Holiday and Alamo.
The Insight Bowl, located in Phoenix, will pick sixth every season, in front of the Independence Bowl (seventh) and Houston Bowl (eighth).
The arrangements with the new bowls were announced last summer following lengthy negotiations. The Houston and Independence bowls later renewed their contracts, creating a nine-bowl agreement and eight-bowl annual lineup that has been praised by outsiders.
"It was really a two-way process," Big 12 associate commissioner Bob Burda said of reaching agreements with new partners. "Getting feedback from the athletic directors and getting information on what bowls are interested in us. The coaches also have input.
"We think these are some very attractive bowls for us."
The Gator Bowl will decide whether to play or pass on the Big 12 right after the Big 12 championship game, held this year on Dec. 2 in Kansas City, Mo. That will make speculating on who goes where, an entertaining pasttime near the end of the regular season, much more difficult to pull off in the Big 12.
It's hard to argue, though, that the Big 12 didn't benefit greatly from the new agreements. Along with more than $2 million in added payouts, the new lineup has a desirable fit with the league - a splash of new opportunities mixed in with existing partnerships that schools and their fans have been fond of.
"It gives us additional exposure on New Year's Day with the Gator Bowl," Burda said. "Geographically, it gives us another appearance in Texas with the Sun Bowl and in Arizona with the Insight Bowl. And it allows us to maintain and build our relationship with our other bowls."