Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More thoughts on the bowls

I had this great post written in my mind about the bowl situation, Georgia 'falling' to the Independence and how all this came about. The Senator beat me to the punch (which should make me feel good about my thought processes or make him nervous about his).
  1. Bowls care about fans having a good time. Bowls want fans that are excited about being in their city. I am not talking about Shreveport, I am talking about Tampa, Atlanta and Nashville. The collective mindset of Dawg fans in the blogosphere, message boards, newspaper comments, and in real life would easily make a bowl selection committee assume Georgia fans are not up to finding things enjoyable about a trip to their city. Hell, there have been times I have been embarrassed by what my fellow fans have said and done (and am as guilty as others, as well).
  2. Bowls need to sell tickets. Some care about hotel rooms, some don't. If you want to be considered for the 'better' bowls, you have to show you can do both (call this the 'we don't want to host two ACC Championships' rule). The Outback doesn't care that Auburn struggled to the finish line. They don't care that they arguably finished ninth in the SEC. They don't care that they lost to Georgia and Kentucky or beat Tennessee. They care that the fan base is jazzed about going someplace new, with a new coach, with a new direction and are eligible under the agreements to be picked. Auburn fans will own Tampa for four days. Anyone think you could say the same about Georgia fans going to Tampa this year?
  3. When faced with selling tickets to fill your stadium vs. having a 'better' program, bowls will universally take the team that will sell the tickets. In the end, Georgia's competition for the Chick-fil-A and Music City Bowls were Kentucky and Tennessee. Chick-Fil-A cares very much about hotel rooms and tickets (thus making Tennessee a better choice than Georgia this year). Music City cares much more about tickets. I don't know what the pre-order numbers are for either bowl, but there is no mystery why UK has been invited three of the last four years to Nashville. The Cats travel well to Nashville, considering it is only a four hour drive from 75% of the state of Kentucky. With the Independence Bowl likely taking Texas A&M, the folks in Shreveport are less worried about selling tickets to Georgia people.
  4. When you don't separate yourself from the field, you stand to lose some very close races. The Senator hit on this, but you have to win the games you have won. Georgia gave away the Kentucky game and arguably the LSU game. Win either one, and the only discussion we are having is the likelihood of Tennessee getting to go to Tampa instead of us, but the Chick-Fil-A is the only other option we are looking at. In fact, I still think we would face similar discussions about point 1 above. The SEC is bunched like a Fall race at Talledega behind the two clear top teams. In that regard, Georgia probably just got caught up in 'The Big One.'
I am as chi about this as the Senator. I do see some upside to Georgia playing in the Independence Bowl, especially after the way this team and coaches responded to the 'disrespect' during the buildup to the Tech game. Coach Richt was right saying the team would be happy to play in any bowl. While I am disappointed we are playing in one that I cannot make it to, I do want to see us Elin Nordegren whatever team we play, regardless of who we play or when we play them.

What, too soon?

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