Cotton Bowl berth worth at least $4 million to USC Trojans and Pac-12

The USC Trojans received an at-large berth to the Cotton Bowl on Sunday. They will play AAC champion Tulane at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on January 2.

The Cotton Bowl is a New Year’s Six bowl game, along with the Peach Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl.

A non-playoff New Year’s Six bowl game – like the Cotton Bowl – comes with a significant payout for the teams and conferences involved. Here’s a look at the windfall for USC and the Pac-12:

– A conference will receive $4 million for each team that plays in a non-playoff bowl.

– Each conference whose team participates in a playoff semifinal, Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach Bowl, or in the national championship game will receive $2.74 million to cover expenses for each game. 

A College Football Playoff berth would have been worth $6 million for the Pac-12 and USC. 

The Big Ten – the conference USC and UCLA will play in beginning in 2024 – was the biggest beneficiary of the New Year’s Six payouts. Ohio State and Michigan made the CFP, and Penn State was given a berth in the Rose Bowl. That’s a guaranteed payout of $16 million for the Big Ten.

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