The Alamo bowl made a proposal of about $3 million per team and would put the Pac-10 runner-up against a Big 12 team for four years

In what one bowl official called a “sea change” in the postseason football structure, the Pac-10 is on the brink of hooking up with the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio for a four-year deal that carries the likelihood of dropping the league’s other bowl partners down a notch in their order of picking teams.

Sources say the Alamo, which expressed interest last spring, made a proposal of about $3 million per team this week, and Pac-10 officials were receptive. The Holiday Bowl, which has had the league’s runner-up team at $2.35 million, is unlikely to be able to match that.

Other Pac-10 bowl partners were notified of the proposal and the dominoes are likely to fall from there. New arrangements, which would begin with the 2010 season, may be in place by the end of August.

Current Pac-10 agreements, which expire after 2009, are with the Rose, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas and Emerald (which alternate Nos. 4 and 5) and Poinsettia.

The Alamo would match a Big 12 team with a Pac-10 opponent.

Meanwhile, Sun Bowl selection committee chairman John Folmer says he expects the El Paso bowl to assume the No. 4 position with the Pac-10.

“We don’t like to get bumped out [of No. 3],” said Folmer. “But we’re not shocked. Cash is king. It’s the nature of the game. We’ve had a great ride with the Pac-10.”

One source said that in a tight economy, conferences are asking for bigger payouts and a small group of bowls, including the Alamo and Insight, are driving some changes by drawing on reserves and tapping title sponsors and TV.

With a push by the Insight to pick off a No. 4 Big 12 team, the Holiday would take the biggest hit, going from having the Pac-10 runner-up and Big 12 No. 3, to Pac-10 No. 3 and Big 12 No. 5.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com