Independence Bowl tie-ins get an upgrade, adding Big 12 as a primary partner

BACK SOON?:  The Houston Cougars, shown celebrating a touchdown in last December’s Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl, could return to Shreveport as a new member of the Big 12 Conference, which has a tie-in this year and in 2025 with the I-Bowl. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)


It’s back to the future for the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl, renewing a primary tie-in with the Big 12 Conference for the 2023 and 2025 editions of north Louisiana’s biggest sporting event.

That should lead to the first Power 5 Conference confrontation in Shreveport since 2016. The Pac-12 Conference is slated to send a bowl-eligible representative to the local bowl this December.

The I-Bowl had a deal to feature BYU in 2023 and 2025, but the Cougars – here two years ago – are entering the Big 12 in July and are obligated to follow the conference’s bowl assignments. The local bowl confirmed Wednesday it will get the Big 12’s No. 7 bowl-eligible team in 2023 and 2025, while maintaining its contract to invite West Point Army in 2024, assuming the Black Knights are bowl-eligible then.

The other side of the I-Bowl’s matchups does not change. A Pac-12 Conference bowl-eligible team will be invited in the next two years, and a Conference USA squad will be in the 2025 matchup.

Backup agreements with C-USA and the Sun Belt Conference remain in place. The SBC deal brought UL Lafayette to Shreveport in December, when the Ragin’ Cajuns were edged by Houston – like BYU, an incoming Big 12 member, along with Cincinnati and UCF.

“We are very excited to get the Big 12 Conference in our lineup for 2023 and 2025,” said Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl Executive Director Missy Setters. “The Big 12 was a staple in our game for a long time, and our footprints match tremendously. They are a conference of great teams, rich tradition and passionate fan bases, so we could not be happier to feature them once again.”            

A matchup of the Big 12 vs. Pac-12 in 2023 would be the first Power Five matchup in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl since North Carolina State faced Vanderbilt in 2016. The Big 12 was a primary tie-in for the Independence Bowl for 11 years from 1999-2009. The last time the Big 12 played in the Independence Bowl was 2009 with a visit by Texas A&M – now in the Southeastern Conference.

The date and time of the 2023 game will be set this summer. The ticket renewal process for current ticket holders is underway, and public tickets will go on sale later this year, said bowl officials.