By Will Vandervort
The only thing that is certain when it comes to Clemson’s future bowl destination is this – we will all find out for sure on Sunday night.
Until then, guys like me will keep writing pieces like this—because I want you to read them—and you will keep reading them because you want to see if there is any new information.
All I can say right now is that I like the Tigers’ chances of playing in the Orange Bowl. The Orange Bowl committee has many things to consider in the next 48 hours before they make their selection official, but the two things the Tigers have in their corner is the bowl’s relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference and the thought process that Clemson would sell more tickets than Baylor and Oregon—the two other teams the Tigers are in competition with.
Since Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich pleaded with Clemson fans to bombard the Orange Bowl with “take Clemson” messages through social media and emails, the South Florida based bowl has heard their cries. But as Larry Wahl, Vice President of Media Relations for the Discover Orange Bowl, said earlier this week, “that’s just one of the many things they will consider when they deliberate.”
Though Wahl will not say it, the two reasons above are big reasons why the committee is leaning towards a Clemson invitation. First of all, the bowl game does not want to have any bad blood with the ACC, especially considering the two will be married to each other for the next 12 years. Secondly, with Alabama more and more likely headed to South Florida as well, ratings will not be an issue either.
This college football season Alabama was part of the three highest rated games on television. The Alabama-Texas A&M, Alabama-LSU and the Alabama-Auburn games all had or near equal share. The Iron Bowl matchup with Auburn pulled an 8.6 rating; it trailed only the Alabama-Texas A&M game, CBS’s highest rated game in 23 years. The only common denominator in all three games is Alabama.
My point is this; ratings will not be an issue no matter who the Orange Bowl selects. Now it comes down to ticket sales, how it will help the local economy and the relationship with the ACC?
I pose this question, and it is a question I’m sure the Orange Bowl committee is asking itself. How will (fill in team’s name here) help are local economy?
Sure, Baylor and Oregon will bring some fans, but how many? How many Oregon fans will travel all the way across the country and spend money on hotels and dining out? Will they spend as much money as Clemson fans? Will they bring as many people as Clemson?
How many Baylor fans will travel halfway across the country and spend money on hotels and dining out? Will they spend as much money as Clemson fans? Will they bring as many people into town as Clemson?
Yes, Clemson fans are sour following the loss to the Gamecocks last week. And yes that will hurt its following to South Florida some, but even with that the Tigers will bring more fans than Oregon and Baylor combined. I feel pretty confident in saying that.
So with that said the Orange Bowl will ask itself this question, “Is it worth possibly damaging our relationship with the ACC by bringing in a team that is not going to sell or bring as much money into our local economy just because we can make what will already be a highly rated game, just a little bit higher?”
That answer will be “No!” And Clemson will be headed to the Orange Bowl.