"The addition of the St. Petersburg bowl would give the eight-team Big East seven bowls in 2008 along with the BCS, Gator/Sun, Meineke Car Care, Texas, International and Papajohns.com."
Wow! 7 bowls for a league with 8 teams - no conference can match that. Of course, how often would the Big East produce that many eligible teams?
Depending on whether ND makes a BCS bowl with a winning season, the BE could use all of these bowls and possibly one more believe it or not. The years that ND does not get a BCS bowl with a winning record they are eligible for the BE Gator/Sun Bowl bid 2 out of 4 years under the current contract. ND is also tied into the International Bowl if they have a mediocre season and the Gator/Sun connection cannot take them. Basically with the current BE/ND Bowl contracts there are 9 teams eligible for the BE bowls not 8. Also the Texas Bowl is not an annual bowl with the BE. The Texas Bowl slot rotates over the contract with Cusa to play a B-12 team in that bowl. With the current and proposed bowls on the horizon the BE can still have a bowl eligible team at 6 & 6 siting home with ND in the picture like they have for the last 3 years.
BCS auto Bid
Gator/ Sun - BE or ND
International - BE or ND
Mienkee - BE ( Navy has shown the ability to take this bowl too.)
Tropicana - BE
Texas Bowl - share 2 out of four years with Cusa
PJ Birmingham Bowl - BE
In a year without the Texas Bowl, with ND taking either the Gator/Sun Bowl or the International Bowl, that leaves the BE with only 5 bowls for that season. This year with only 5 bowls L'Ville sat home bowl eligible with a 6 & 6 record and that could still happen with 7 bowls with ND in the equation and the rotating Texas Bowl that the BE did not have this year.
In a great year for the BE with 7 bowl teams eligible with all the bowls in play this conference, it could fill the bowls with 6 & 6 bowl eligible teams if ND is not a factor by being in a BCS bowl or if they have a loosing season. If there are only 6 bowl eligible teams under this scenario then the Papa John Bowl could be cut loose for an at large bid for an eligible academy (Army / Navy), or for another conference as it is the lowest paying bowl at $300k.
Also if the Texas bowl is not available with 6 eligible teams and ND does not factor into a BE bowl then the slots will be filled anyway. The BE may not have quality with its bowl tie-ins but it still needs quantity the way the BE teams are playing now.
Currently the BE can use all seven bowls with ND factored in, and rotating bowl agreements like the Gator/ Sun and the Texas Bowls. With this collection of bowls the BE can still come up short on available bowls in a given season as noted above, it can fill all of the available bowls, or it can have one bowl too many that can be put up at large. By in large it is still not too many bowl commitments for the BE.