There are more than 300,000 alumni of Big Ten schools living in California, most of them in Southern California. The Pac-12 Conference has 33 percent of its schools in California and a boatload of alums in So-Cal, as well.
So, it just makes a whole lot of sense for the Big Ten to play the Pac-12 in as many Southwestern bowl games as possible. The Rose Bowl has had an agreement to do just that since 1946.
The National University Holiday Bowl is doing it, as well. On Thursday, "America's Most Exciting Bowl Game" signed a six year agreement to host the 2nd-place team from the Pac-12 and a Big Ten team determined by the conference and the bowl committee to provide the best possible match up.
The Pac-12 has sent a team to San Diego every year since 1998. The Big Ten last had a team play at Qualcomm Stadium in 1994.
The first installment of their new rivalry comes at a new time for the Holiday Bowl. It'll be played on Saturday, December 27 at 5:00 pacific time. It's the first time the game will be held on a Saturday since 1990, when Texas A&M beat BYU.