SAN DIEGO — USC will face Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl Dec. 27, the Trojans’ first appearance in the game, the San Diego Bowl Game Association announced Sunday.
Nebraska will be the first Big Ten team to play in the game since 1994. It played in the Holiday Bowl three times while it was a member of the Big 12 Conference, most recently in 2010.
The Cornhuskers are 9-3 and Trojans 8-4. The teams have one common opponent, Fresno State, which USC defeated 52-13 and Nebraska defeated 55-19.
The San Diego Bowl Game Association, which conducts the game, announced in June 2013 that it had signed a six-year agreement with the Big Ten Conference to supply a team beginning with the 2014 game, replacing the Big 12, which had annually supplied a team since 1995.
“We’ve had a great relationship with the Big 12, but we felt it was time for a change,” Holiday Bowl Executive Director Bruce Binkowski told City News Service in a 2013 interview. “We just thought it was time for a fresh look.”
One reason for the change — “the Big Ten has a lot of alumni in Southern California,” Binkowski said.
When the agreement was announced in June 2013, Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said, “during the bowl evaluation process, we heard our directors of athletics and head coaches tell us that the Holiday Bowl was a reward destination they wanted the conference to be part of.”
The agreement includes the stipulation that the Holiday Bowl will not have the same Big Ten team in the game more than twice in the six-year span.
The Holiday Bowl had an agreement with the Big Ten Conference to annually supply a team from 1992-94. Big Ten teams played in the Holiday Bowl six times between 1979 and 1991 when an at-large team was chosen to play the Western Athletic Conference champion.
Holiday Bowl organizers have the second selection from the Pacific-12 Conference after participants in the College Football Playoff and four other bowls whose matchups are determined by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. A Pacific-12 team has annually played in the Holiday Bowl since 1998.