San Antonio Is More Than Ready For A Tier I Bowl Game

By Gregory Moore
Updated: December 30, 2004

SAN ANTONIO – It’s Wednesday night, December 29, 2004 and the only game that was going on was a little college bowl game that aired on ESPN. Well maybe I digress a little in calling the 12th Annual MasterCard Alamobowl game a “little” game.

When Bristol, Connecticut sends Mike Tirico, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso along with the vivacious Jill Arrington, you’d understand why so many want this city to have a BCS bowl game. Well I know one individual who will do his part to help make this a reality. That individual is the incoming bowl chairman, Joe E. Linson.

I’ve known Joe for over a dozen years. Ironically I have had the privilege of covering this bowl game since its inception. A dozen years is a long time to see an event of this magnitude be a part of a bowl pageantry that is as prestigious as it is entertaining. There are very few bowl games that even have the type of lineage that the Alamo Bowl game has.

There have been teams come through this bowl game that have showcased future NFL players. Players such as Lavar Arrington, Drew Brees and so many other outstanding college players. There have been great college programs like Texas A&M, Nebraska and Penn State that have come to the bowl game and rarely has this game not been a good draw. Above all of the above mentioned, the bowl payout from this game is an estimated $3.2 million to the two participating schools.

So why wouldn’t the blue hairs of the Bowl Championship Committee want this bowl game to represent them as their fifth bowl game? That’s a good question and one that I have asked myself numerous times. Think about this for a minute. You have a bowl game that is the highest rated bowl game for ESPN.

You have a selection committee and a group of volunteers that do a great job of selecting two good teams to play in a bowl game that does mean something for those participating.

You add to this formula a great climate, a great facility and a city that knows how to host big events, and the BCS would be foolish to not pick such an event to join the other bowl games they have. This bowl game has been twelve years in the making to be the next major bowl that is played during the last week of December or first week of January of the next year.

USHERING IN A GAME THAT MEETS EVERY EXPECTATION If you are a college football fan, you are probably tired of seeing the BCS not do such a good job at having great games. Sometimes the second tier of bowl games is the better games. The Alamo Bowl game is the top of that category and with individuals like Linson, bowl President Derrick Fox and the numerous others who make this particular bowl game a success, the BCS would be crazy to not even give this event a gloss over in selecting their fifth bowl game of the bowl season.

The only other bowl game that could even be in the same running may be the Cotton Bowl; but then again that is a bowl game that has a long tradition that dwarfs the Alamobowl. If the powers of the BCS really want to select a young bowl game, this one is by far the most prestigious of the lot.

Bowl games are tricky to finance in this age and by no means am I saying that Fox and his staff have had an easy time making their game a success. There is a definite advantage to being in a city where the climate doesn’t change a whole lot. December weather for San Antonio is around 70 degrees on most nights.

That may not be a factor for some bowl games where tropical temperatures are prevalent but think about schools like Nebraska or Ohio State who travel to San Antonio for this bowl game; their fans love this game because the weather is so perfect.

You add to the weather the fact that with the Alamodome building being near the downtown area, many fans and/or media attendees simply walk to the game from their hotel rooms. Yes folks it is that convenient. What bowl game can honestly say that their accommodations are as good as what the Alamodome people put together.

Let me say as an observer who has been to numerous events including a few other bowl games in my professional career, when it comes to tourism, San Antonio is one of the few cities that does it right. I have been to other tourist spots across the country but none are as hospitable as this city and I am not saying that because I live here.

As a resident, I don’t see the tourism end that my friends and out of state family members have. Whenever there has been a major sporting event in this town, the city has stepped up and done an admirable job. If the BCS selection committee is looking for what has this city done in recent times, all they have to do is look to the NCAA Final Four for both men and women.

Rarely has a city been able to be a multiple hose for such an event in such short amount of time. San Antonio credits that accomplishment in part to the Alamobowl committee being able to be great hosts for a college game.

Look it is time for the BCS to start looking past the Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls as being the preeminent bowl games for college football. A fifth bowl game is definitely needed and it would make sense for them to pick one of the highest rated bowl games on a network like ESPN. All other Tier II bowls aside, when it comes to probably hosting a big game event, there is no city like San Antonio.

That’s not being a homer on my part. That is being the journalist who has witnessed a bowl game start from humble beginnings where the payout was around $750,000 total and graduate to almost paying out $1.75 million for each school in just twelve years. If the BCS doesn’t think about the Alamobowl game as being one of the finalists for a fifth BCS bowl, then maybe college fans should start screaming for a playoff game.

The favoritism that has been so prevalent by that organization needs to be halted and fairness based on qualifications needs to be addressed and identified. That’s on this bowl game or any other that may fit their bill.