Texas Bowl to be played Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. CT

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ESPN Regional Television and the Texas Bowl Committee announced today that the 2010 Texas Bowl will be played Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 5 p.m. CT and will be nationally televised on ESPN. The Texas Bowl, now in its fifth year, annually features a matchup of a Big 12 Conference team against a team from the Big Ten.

"This is a brand new day for the Texas Bowl. It's the first game with our new partners, ESPN Regional Television and the Big Ten Conference," said Heather Houston, executive director of the Texas Bowl. "With a new date and an improved selection in the Big 12 Conference, we are truly excited about the quality experience that we will be offering our fans this year."

The Texas Bowl saw a record three alumni selected in the first round of last weekend's 2010 NFL Draft, and a record seven bowl alumni drafted overall.

Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon (2009 Texas Bowl) was selected 19th overall by the Atlanta Falcons, Rutgers CB Devin McCourty (2006 Texas Bowl) went to the New England Patriots with the 27th overall pick and TCU DE Jerry Hughes (2007 Texas Bowl) was the 31st overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. TCU LB Darryl Washington just missed out on the first round, going 47th overall to the Arizona Cardinals.

The quartet represented the continuation of a recent trend of Texas Bowl alumni going early in the draft. In 2008, Houston WR Donnie Avery (33rd overall, St. Louis) and Rutgers RB Ray Rice (55th, Baltimore) were selected in the second round; and the 2009 Draft saw Kansas State QB Josh Freeman (17th overall, Tampa Bay) and Rutgers WR Kenny Britt (30th, Tennessee) become the first two Texas Bowl alums drafted in the first round.

The Texas Bowl's affiliation with the Big 12 and the Big Ten promises even more high-round draft picks in the years to come. The Big Ten saw 34 of its players drafted, while the Big 12 was close behind with 30 draft picks.

The event's transition in 2009 to be televised on ESPN resulted in the most viewed game in Texas Bowl history, up from 144,000 viewers in 2008 to 2.4 million in 2009, when the Navy Midshipmen defeated the Missouri Tigers 35-13.

In 2008, Rice captured the school's first win in a bowl game since 1954, defeating Western Michigan 38-14. In the 2007 Texas Bowl, TCU defeated Houston 20-13. The inaugural Texas Bowl was played Dec. 28, 2006, at Reliant Stadium. Rutgers defeated Kansas State, 37-10, in front of a crowd of 52,210 – the largest crowd since 1972 to witness a bowl game in Houston not involving a Texas team.

The Texas Bowl is an NCAA-certified college football game operated by ESPN Regional Television, which operates these other bowl games: the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, New Mexico Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl and Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

The Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field through its first four years. The bowl has generated an average of $25 million per year for the Houston economy and has donated more than $300,000 to DePelchin Children's Center, the bowl's official charitable beneficiary, and has generated more than $5 million in promotional support and publicity for DePelchin. The bowl boasts more than 25,000 season ticket holders and sold more than 50,000 tickets before the team announcements last year.

For more information, visit the bowl's official Web site: http://www.texasbowl.org.

About ESPN Regional Television/Event OwnershipThe nation's largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (e.g. – SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC).

ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate football events: the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Papajohns.com Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl (Honolulu); Texas Bowl (Houston); the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards; collegiate basketball events: the 76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Cancun Governor's Cup; Charleston Classic (S.C.); DIRECTV SEC/BIG EAST Invitational; Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tipoff (San Juan); SONIC All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City) and BracketBusters; as well as the new ESPNU Warrior Classic (Lacrosse) and the ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway. For more information, visit ESPNPlus.com.

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