Bobbing for Bowls
Rumors are rampant and you can’t believe anything at this point, especially based on past years’ surprises. But you can limit the Vols’ destination to three possibilities based on the rumors themselves: the Outback Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Those are the only three for which Tennessee have been mentioned.
Most sources have Tennessee linked with the Outback because of that Bowl’s traditional choice of SEC East teams. But that bowl has been known to set up bidding wars according to Dave Hooker of GVX who writes that “[g]uarantees of tickets sold are not allowed by SEC rules, yet the Outback Bowl has been suspected of using that as a determining factor.”
And, most sources seem to think that if the Outback snubs Tennessee, the Vols will go to Atlanta on New Years’ Eve to play in the Bowl Formerly Known as the Peach to face an ACC team.
But I would be willing to bet that the Cotton Bowl is the destination to where the Vols just might get their bags checked (and so does ESPN’s Chris Lowe even though ESPN’s Ivan Maisel apparently reported that Ole Miss have a deal to go to Dallas already – but he’s from Alabama and Chris lives in Knoxville, so I’m sticking with Chris). Traditionally, the Cotton supposedly selects a team from the SEC West, but occasionally, they choose an SEC East school, and Tennessee has been the only school from the right side of the conference selected since realignment in 1992. And for me, I’ve always liked the Cotton Bowl, even though this season the game will not be played where it should be played – in the Cotton Bowl itself (it’s going to Jerry’s Toilet).
As a fan who wants as many people as possible watching my school, I like the Cotton for other reasons. People across the country have other plans for New Years’ Eve night (thus, I don’t prefer Atlanta). Also, 11 am eastern (that’s 8 am on the west coast) is too early after a night of staying up late; and, there is stiff competition from the Capital One and Gator for a good part of the second half (thus, I’d rather not have Tampa); and I can’t stand playing the Big Ten, especially this year – yawn. The Cotton is on Saturday January the 2nd at 2:00 pm, a good time, and the competition is relatively slim from the International Bowl (Big East vs MAC) and Papajohns.com Bowl (Big East vs SEC).
So Cotton is my preference. Below is some information for your consideration.
What’s your preference?
Outback Bowl (fka Hall of Fame)
Date and Location: January 1, Tampa FL
Time and TV: 11:00 am ESPN
Participants: Big 10 vs. SEC
Most Recent Payout: $3.1 M
Time slot competes with: Capital One Bowl (Big Ten vs SEC), 1:00 pm, ABC / Gator Bowl (ACC vs Big East), 1:00 pm, CBS
Previous Tennessee appearances (Season): 2007 (Wisconsin), 2006 (Penn St), 1992 (Boston Coll)
Date and Location: January 2, Arlington TX
Time and TV: 2:00 pm Fox
Participants: Big 12 vs. SEC
Most Recent Payout: $3.0 M
Time slot competes with: International Bowl (Big East vs MAC), 12:00 pm, ESPN2 / Papajohns.com Bowl (Big East vs SEC), 2:00 pm, ESPN
Previous Tennessee appearances: 2004 (Texas A&M), 2000 (Kansas St), 1989 (Arkansas), 1968 (Texas), 1952 (Texas), 1950 (Texas)
Chick-fil-A Bowl (fka Peach)
Date and Location: December 31, Atlanta GA
Time and TV: 7:30 pm ESPN
Participants: ACC vs. SEC
Most Recent Payout: $3.0 M
Time slot competes with: Insight Bowl (Big 10 vs Big 12), 6:00 pm, NFL Network
Previous Tennessee appearances: 2003 (Clemson), 2002 (Maryland), 1987 (Indiana), 1982 (Iowa)