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"In what could turn into a major windfall" for the Big East Conference, Mobil Cotton Bowl officials made a "tentative and conditional" offer to include the No. 2 Big East team and the Big 12 runner-up in a game beginning January 1, 1996. In the first year of the agreement the Big East team would play any team other than the champion of the Big 8 or the SWC. That would change in '97 when the Big 8 becomes the Big 12. Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese said he is interested, but he wanted specifics about ticket guarantees, revenue from bowl officials and TV arrangements. Since being excluded from the USF&G Sugar, FedEx Orange, and Dial Fiesta champsionship rotation, Cotton Bowl officials have been looking for an "acceptable" alternative. CBS has been "pushing" the Big East to join the Cotton because the network holds the rights to the game and the Big East for football (Mark Blaudschun, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/13). BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SEC? Cotton Bowl officials have offered the same spot to the SEC runner-up, according to the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The SEC also has an offer for its runner-up from the Florida Citrus Bowl. If the SEC rejects the Cotton offer, then the Cotton is likely to go after the Big East or Pac 10 runner- up. Meanwhile, a Big 12 commitment to the Cotton bowl "likely will preclude" holding a Big 12 championship game in Dallas. Texas A&M Athletic Dir Wally Groff said St. Louis or San Antonio are the most "viable alternatives" (Jonathan Feigen, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/13). The SEC Presidents held a conference call yesterday, but no decision was made. Officials at the SEC expect to make an announcement "pretty quickly" (THE DAILY). OTHER BOWLS: The Big 12 is also trying to secure bowl deals for their 3rd and 4th place finishers. The Thrifty Car Rental Holiday Bowl is "considered almost a lock to get the second choice of Big 12 teams." Three bowls are competing for the next choice: The Builder's Square Alamo Bowl, the John Hancock Sun Bowl and the Weiser Lock Copper Bowl (Jonathan Feigen, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/13).