Could the Chick-fil-A Bowl replace the Fiesta in the BCS?

I'm pretty sure I know which way the cow would vote. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

BCS-wise, I'm pretty sure I know how the cow would vote. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

A column back in 2004 prompted the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s president to threaten never to offer this correspondent a game credential again. The threat, never carried through, was a response to this writer’s claim that the game was third-tier — not to say third-rate, I stipulated then and stipulate now — and therefore would not find a place in the BCS rotation, which was due to expand by one.

(My definition of tiers: First were the BCS games themselves; second were the New Year’s Day games [Cotton, Capital One, Outback, et cetera]; third was the Chick-fil-A and its ilk. The Independence Bowl would be 10th-tier.)

But now it’s 2011 and Gary Stokan and I have since actually exchanged something approaching pleasantries, and now I’m posing the question I dismissed back when: Might Atlanta’s bowl actually make the leap to Tier 1?

I ask because the BCS is the process of distancing itself from the Fiesta Bowl, which just jettisoned president John Junker — full disclosure: I’ve met John Junker — due to revelations involving reimbursement to bowl staffers for political contributions. (That’s illegal, FYI.) And if the Fiesta falls completely out of BCS favor, some bowl would have to replace it. Could the Chick-fil-A be that bowl?

Ryan McGee of ESPN The Magazine offers a list of five possibilities. One of the names on the list is the Fiesta itself, coming in at No. 3. (McGee’s take: The Fiesta could still hold its spot.) No. 1 is the Cotton Bowl, which has moved to Jerry Jones’ new stadium. No. 2 is the Capital One, which is played in a nice city (Orlando) but in an ancient stadium. No. 5 is the Outback, which is staged in Tampa and has a pirate ship in the end zone.

No. 4 is the Chick-fil-A Bowl, of which McGee writes:

Anyone who has ever been to the game formerly known as the Peach Bowl knows that its atmosphere is one of the most electric of the entire bowl season. Again, it has plenty of cash, a big league infrastructure, a city that makes its living hosting gigantic events, and an ESPN TV deal. But of all the games listed here, this bowl might be the least interested in messing with its current formula, an SEC versus ACC showdown that has enjoyed 14 consecutive sellouts. Then again, all the factors that I listed above might allow the Chick-fil-A Bowl organizers to keep their current game and add one more, two in the years they host the BCS Championship Game. Hey, the Fiesta Bowl staff has been pulling that off for years.

Here I would add only this: Unless I’ve been completely off in my reading of Stokan and Co. over time, they would be very much interested in moving up to the Big(ger) Time.

Do I think it’s apt to happen? Not really. That game in Arlington and the outsize presence of Mr. Jones would be tough to trump. But as president of the Atlanta Sports Council, Stokan spent years lobbying for big events to come here, and he created the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which began in 2008 and is already a major deal, from nothing at all. Were a BCS slot to come open, I’m guessing he could find it within himself to make another pitch.

By Mark Bradley

195 comments Add your comment

@DanWeiner

March 30th, 2011
6:48 pm

It’s a no brainer. It’s the Cotton Bowl. It’s in a much better stadium and makes a much better tie-in with the Big 12 geographically.

The Chick-Fil-a Bowl should replace the Orange Bowl. Miami is a great city, that stadium is a dump.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
6:50 pm

Thing is, Dan, I’m kind of a no-brainer myself.

headley lamar

March 30th, 2011
6:52 pm

Nope. It will be the Cotton Bowl

@DanWeiner

March 30th, 2011
6:52 pm

You’re being hard on yourself Mark, you’re more of a half-brainer.

Paul in RDU

March 30th, 2011
6:54 pm

OK – so it has been confirmed that the people running the Fiesta Bowl were corrupt and just looking out for themselves while at the same time enjoying tax-exempt status. Hopefully the IRS will look at some of the other members of the Bowl Cartel Series.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
6:54 pm

Thanks. I guess I’m a brain-half-full kind of guy.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
6:55 pm

John Junker’s base salary was $600,000 for overseeing a couple of football games. Just FYI.

Paul in RDU

March 30th, 2011
6:56 pm

@DanWeiner
The Orange Bowl is no longer played in the dump in Miami – it is in Ft Lauderdale Joe Robbie / ProPlayer / Landshark / Whatever they are calling it now Stadium.

TMC

March 30th, 2011
6:56 pm

The new Aurthur Blank House might influence this a bit too.
Maybe that might help negotiations a little as well.
Your welcome AB.

@DanWeiner

March 30th, 2011
6:56 pm

I appreciate your optimistic outlook, Mark.

Lou Holtz aka the Spitting Cobra

March 30th, 2011
6:57 pm

Jerry World or Univ of Phoenix Stadium versus the Georgia Dome? It’s going to the Cotton Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl will figure out a way to keep it.

Matt

March 30th, 2011
6:58 pm

Eh, location wise makes no sense. Why have 3/4 BCS bowls in the Southeast? Isn’t going to happen. You need one in California and somewhere west of the Mississippi River.

@DanWeiner

March 30th, 2011
7:01 pm

Expanding on a point I made earlier, Atlanta should absolutely be the site of a BCS Game. Atlanta is the center of the college football universe because it’s in the middle of SEC country.

The Orange Bowl has history and has that history because all those midwest schools wanted a warm place to play in January, but the Stadium is awful and is in an awful location. It’s long past due for the 4th BCS Bowl to be in Atlanta and not Miami.

PMC

March 30th, 2011
7:04 pm

Well maybe a snowballs chance in Hades. Jerry World is brand new. The good news is that he and his minions handled the super bowl about as poorly as it could be handled weather or no weather they were awful.

Atlanta is in a perfect spot for a BCS bowl and has everything they need including an airport that collects many more flights than others in the country already.

One hulking issue….. The Georgia Dome….

PMC

March 30th, 2011
7:05 pm

Also it couldn’t be called the Chick Fil A bowl anymore.

It would have to be the Peach Bowl presented by Chick Fil A.

The Cotton Bowl is one of the originals and it was bigger to begin with so they are fighting a bit of history.

PMC

March 30th, 2011
7:07 pm

Personally I don’t think it’s going anywhere, if anyone knows ANYTHING about corruption its the BCS.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
7:08 pm

It might, TMC. But I’ve been led to believe the Chick-fil-A Bowl — and, one would assume, any other bowls — will stay in the Georgia Dome.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
7:09 pm

True story: I once got off a plane at the Fort Lauderdale Airport and asked a cab driver to take me to the stadium but couldn’t remember what name it bore that season. So I said, “You know, where the Dolphins play.”

GTBob

March 30th, 2011
7:12 pm

This wouldn’t even be close. The Cotton Bowl is the only real replacement.

Ron Roberts

March 30th, 2011
7:12 pm

TMC, Arthurt’s new digs won’t interest the BCS because he wants a completely outdoor football stadium for the Falcons, and early January in Atlanta isn’t usually fan-friendly. Personally, I wish Mr. Blank would get off the taxpayers’ necks and go halves with us on retrofitting the dome with a retractable roof and building some more suites. The joint seats 72,000 – so lose 5,000 seats in the mezzanine and put some of those precious high-dollar suites in their place.

Ron Roberts

March 30th, 2011
7:16 pm

PMC, what is so wrong w/the Georgia Dome, anyhow? I don’t understand the knock on that building. It’s, what, 21 years old, and holding up quite well, I think. Anybody remember what Fulton County Stadium looked like in 1987? How about the Omni in the early 90s? The Georgia Dome’s FINE.

Take it from another perspective…. the Superdome in New Orleans is a man-made CAVE with dark, tight corridors, horrid acoustics and not a lot of suites, either. Yet it hosts a BCS bowl…

The Georgia Dome is fine as-is, but if you have to have more suites and want the outdoor experience, you can’t tell me it’s impossible to retrofit a removable roof on it.

bamaguy

March 30th, 2011
7:19 pm

I think the fact that the SEC has owned the BCS for a while will keep Atlanta out of the running. It would be a home game for the SEC. They would not want the National Championship Semi-finals (the SEC Championship game) and the BCS in the same city.

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
7:20 pm

I’ve been to all the BCS games, and I can tell you that, stadium-wise, the Dome is better than three of the four. (Although the Rose Bowl does have the San Gabriel Mountains working for it.)

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
7:21 pm

That’s a good point, bamaguy. And you already have BCS games in New Orleans and Miami.

lanier

March 30th, 2011
7:25 pm

they would have to change that hoky name for sure. reminds me of the poulan weedeater bowl

Mark Bradley

March 30th, 2011
7:27 pm

I don’t think anything beats the Weedeater Bowl.

todd grantham

March 30th, 2011
7:28 pm

Come on Mark. Chic for Fiesta? it would never fly with the politically correct ncaa.

gcs

March 30th, 2011
7:29 pm

Speaking of dumps, why not move the Sugar Bowl to Atlanta?

FYI, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games have been so successful that there will be two games played in 2012.

I dare you to find a bigger and better college football fan base & atmosphere than Atlanta. Phoenix, L.A., New Orleans and Miami cannot hold a candle to ATL.

.

nick fairley

March 30th, 2011
7:29 pm

The GA dome isn’t good enough. Don’t think the cotton bowl is either. Just hope it’s not that awful stadium in San Fransisco.

bamaguy

March 30th, 2011
7:31 pm

I have been to games in all the BCS stadiums as well and the Dome is better than all but the Orange Bowl (how can you hate Miami in January) in my opinion. But then again the Rose Bowl is the ROSE BOWL.

todd grantham

March 30th, 2011
7:31 pm

and what would Mr S. Truett Cathy say if tv demanded the game be played on a Sunday?

nick fairley

March 30th, 2011
7:33 pm

What’s the name of that loser bowl game in Memphis? Maybe that one.

todd grantham

March 30th, 2011
7:35 pm

i think he would say “we are confronted primarily with a moral issue. it is as old as the Scriptures, and as clear as the American Constitution”.

wait, i think that was Jack Kennedy.

nick fairley

March 30th, 2011
7:35 pm

The NFL schedule would prevent a Sunday BCS game.

Jerry Jones cathedral or the Meadow lands or whatever Giants new stadium is.

nick fairley

March 30th, 2011
7:38 pm

Denver!!! Or Seattle? Grunge apathy anarchy bowl?

Beast from the East

March 30th, 2011
7:39 pm

Would love to see it in the dome, but if it moves from the Fiesta then I would wager on Jerry World.

Brandi

March 30th, 2011
7:40 pm

some of you need to get out of the house more, the Orange Bowl Stadium was torn down a few yrs ago because it was a DUMP. They play at Sun Life Stadium where the Dolphins play. When GT played in the Orange Bowl in 2010 it was called Landshark. Obviously, some of you did not make that trip.

bamaguy

March 30th, 2011
7:40 pm

Jerry World is also hosting it’s own kickoff classic in 2012 (Alabama vs Michigan unless they have changed their minds again).

todd grantham

March 30th, 2011
7:46 pm

jerry jones= rich and arragant
truett cathy= rich and humble
jerry jones=spends more on toupees than the donald
truett cathy=comfortable being bald

Dawgdad (The Original)

March 30th, 2011
7:48 pm

MB, don’t tell me these other fine bowls are not dong the same things that the Fiesta did, why should they get off without being investigated?

Shut them all down and have a playoff system, run by the NCAA. They could hand out games to each of these cities and rotate the championship games. I guess all that money generated by the Bowls has created an addiction in the schools and the administrators who benefit by this Bowl madness.

intellibird

March 30th, 2011
7:49 pm

Every time I hear Gary “Invented the Chicken Sandwich” Stokam speak, I can’t help but be overcome by the feeling that I am listening to the world’s greatest pass licker. “Well, we came up with the idea that we would have pre-season bowl games”. What a load. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry could have come up with that idea. Rather, its the amount of brown-nosing and pass licking that brought those deals home. As my dad said, humility is not attractive on a spoiled, rich S.O.B.

jumbeauxtiger

March 30th, 2011
7:54 pm

I don’t think the Fiesta will be dropped by the BCS. They will show they have taken the inappropriate acts seriously. A bowl like that brings in too much money and the politicians will get involved to keep it there.

I said last year that when the next BCS contract is renewed in 2014, the Cotton Bowl will be added as a 5th BCS bowl and it should.

Stokan has done a great job with the Bowl. Atlanta is a fun place but it is terrible trying to tailgate outside the Dome.

I beg to differ on New Orleans. It’s a helluva more conducive for college football. At least you can walk around with a drink there.

bamaguy

March 30th, 2011
7:55 pm

DIdn’t New Jersey and the Meadowlands invent the kickoff classic many years ago?

nick fairley

March 30th, 2011
7:56 pm

Little Intelibird sounds very angry. Maybe you should spend mOre time playing angry birds and less time on the Internet?

Ramblinwreck

March 30th, 2011
7:56 pm

It would be a fantastic idea for the Atlanta to replace the Arizona sight. Especially with the College Football Hall of Fame moving here.

Hank Kimball

March 30th, 2011
7:56 pm

Truett Cathy is the nicest man I’ve ever met. Well, not the nicest, because I haven’t actually met him. But I hear he really is nice.
The Original Chic Fi Let sandwich is the best food I’ve ever eaten. Well, maybe not the best because Mom made a terrific peminto cheese spread.
I ate at a Chic Fi Let at Southlake last Sunday. Well, not exactly. I got one of those moogo gipan plates from the Chinese place and leaned on the gate of the Chic.
Mr. Cathy’s waffle fries are great. Well, not as great as Mom’s waffles were.

jumbeauxtiger

March 30th, 2011
7:56 pm

@bamaguy

“Jerry World is also hosting it’s own kickoff classic in 2012 (Alabama vs Michigan unless they have changed their minds again).”

And in September, Oregon and LSU, both of whom will be ranked in the top 5, will be meeting there too.

nick fairley

March 30th, 2011
7:58 pm

I agree with jumbeauxtiger, he’ll hold it in BTR!

JBD

March 30th, 2011
7:59 pm

I don’t know if it would be a factor or not but don’t forget about the college football hall of fame relocating here. That would be a good chance to promote the hall of fame and the sport if the national championship game was here every 4 years too.

bamaguy

March 30th, 2011
8:00 pm

I had forgotten that jumbeaux.