The A-Line It is what it is, unless it is not
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2006
30
Nov

Bowls and the Legend

The ACC seems to have one more conference game remaining. That would be Saturday’s ACC Championship Game. Plenty of good seats still remain. Between that, the conference bowl jockeying [and griping] and the latest from the Great NFL Legend, there was quite a bit of football news during these days of the ACC-Big 11 Challenge.

The Jax paper has devoted much space this week yapping about slow ticket sales for Saturday’s game. Whether Wake can finish its Cinderella run, John Tenuta can figure out that misdirection as easily as Bud Foster did, or Reggie Ball can return to his mid-season form rather than continuing to act like, well, Reggie Ball has taken a back seat to the ticket story. At least all of those Jackets that I have been reliably informed [many times] are the country’s absolute best traveling fans can now pick up tickets cheaply on Ebay.

The snarling by the Jax movers and shakers would seem to indicate the ACCCG is not long for their fair city. The question does arise as to where to put it. Charlotte pops to mind, but the privately-owned Bank of America Stadium did not seem particularly hot for it last time around. The terrain of ‘Uptown’ Charlotte is not nearly as conducive to post-season football activity as is the Jax riverfront, either. And it can be assumed that the very instant the ACCCG goes to Charlotte , or anywhere outside of Florida [does anybody really want to go to FedEx the first weekend in December?] will be the time we get that much-anticipated Miami-Florida State championship game that never seems to come to fruition. It is a hard life lived by Little Johnny.

Then there is what will happen Sunday when the bowls get around to selecting the ACC teams. The Gator boys in Jax aren’t overly thrilled in this regard, either. GT AD Dan Radakovich has been displaying a remarkable faith in his team’s abilities as he spends many hours attempting to find a suitable bowl for the Jackets should they lose to the Deacs. Think positive, Dan.

With the Chicken Bowl having no desire for mass hotel cancellations by all of those fans of the ‘other’ Tech, it would seem Dealin’ Dan has set his sights on the Gator should Ball throw another 5-6 interceptions. It is not often an AD begins deliberations with bowl committees with, “When we lose, you have to take us,” but that seems to be the attitude of Dealin’ Dan. Well, it is his team.

The problem here is that the Gator has discovered that some fans that have just gone to Jax in early December and watched their team lose the ACCCG are not hot to return a month later for the Gator. That was determined just last year, in fact. Plus, the Jacksonville area hoteliers, like their counterparts in Atlanta , have been steadily accepting hotel reservations, the Jax lodging folks from fans of Clemson. They are no keener than those in Atlanta to lose them.

Dealin’ Dan seems to be much more concerned with rewarding his football team for a fine season than he is with the health of the Jacksonville economy. Well, that is what he is paid to do. He does work on the Flats rather than in the offices of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

He spent much time reading the fine print of the ACC’s bowl agreements and noticed that if, as he seems to expect, his boys fall to mighty Wake, the conference’s new ‘Fredo Rule’ bestows the plum bowl pickings on those with the better records. ACC records this year don’t get any better than GT’s 7-1.

After an extended gripe session with ACC officials, the Gator has caved and agreed to a return engagement by Georgia Tech should Wake prevail Saturday. You can bet that nobody in Alltel, even the GT cheerleaders, will be rooting harder for the Jackets than the Gator brass.

A Georgia Tech win will maintain something close to a natural order in the football universe. Georgia Tech would go to the Orange , a suitable reward for being the ACC’s best team over the course of the season, not just the last six weeks. The ACC’s two top non-BCS bowls would then get the ACC’s two top fan bases, Virginia Tech and Clemson. That would make life considerably easier for Little Johnny in future bowl negotiations.

Well, maybe not in Orlando . The choice of Wake or Fredo would seem to be akin to that of lethal injection or electrocution. Things never seem to quite work out for the Champs guys. Whether it’s the lousy dates not convenient at all for fans most anywhere outside of town or problems getting teams that actually have fans- the Orangepersons sure packed them in back in 04, eh?- the junior Orlando bowl sees a rough time.

But, it could be worse. Bowl committees in the Southeast gnashing their teeth at the possibility of small crowds need only hear two words to feel much better about their own games. Those two words would be: Boise , Idaho . With the hometown heroes off to the BCS, it can be expected that the crowd at the blue field might be thinned down just a bit. Fester’s Last Stand will perhaps not prove to be a strong draw. Miami and Nevada playing in Boise is certainly a strong argument for keeping the bowl system intact.

Once all of the bowl dust has settled Sunday night, there will be eight ACC teams playing somewhere. That is because a ninth did not qualify. The ninth would have been the Hoos, but most seem to be aware of how that worked out.

For his part, algroh didn’t seem too concerned about not qualifying for a bowl. The Great NFL Legend claims that not having the advantage of extra bowl practice time will enable his crew to get a jump start on the long-awaited Really Big Year in 07. Perhaps he has a point, as it was very difficult to discern how much all of the 2006 practices accomplished. Maybe the less time algroh gets to spend with his team the better.

As this is being typed, word comes that Hoo Athletic Director Craig ‘Was algroh coaching the basketball team against Purdue, too?’ Littlepage has elected not to add another year to the contract of the Great NFL Legend. I’m sure that fans are gathering on the Lawn at this very moment, shouting, ‘[only] Four More Years.’

The Hoo AD is receiving much acclaim around the Grounds for the talents he displayed in not being able to sign Tubby while locking up algroh to a long-term and expensive contract. He does have an excuse. After the Tubby deal fell through, the huge contract was still on Craig’s desk. When algroh came in with his hand stuck out, Littlepage mistakenly handed him Tubby’s. Hey, it might have happened.

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