Orange Bowl eyeing storylines, tickets and travel with Clemson

The Clemson and West Virginia Mascots have fun with Obie, the Orange Bowl mascot, at the Orange Bowl Fan Zone before the 2012 Orange Bowl Game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Photo by Mark Crammer

The Clemson and West Virginia Mascots have fun with Obie, the Orange Bowl mascot, at the Orange Bowl Fan Zone before the 2012 Orange Bowl Game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

This year more than most, the Orange Bowl committee can afford to be selective, and they're going to take in every factor they can for their final go-round in the BCS.

With Florida State top-ranked, they will hold the No. 1 and No. 3 at-large picks on Sunday, where they could land a pair of top-10 teams. Just last year, they had no options taking the ACC champion (FSU) and a non-AQ (Northern Illinois) outside that threshold.

The bowl's longstanding agreements with the ACC throw a wrench into the process, however.

"We have a great relationship with the ACC and have for some time," Orange Bowl vice president of communications Larry Wahl said on the Roy Philpott Show. "The ACC has been a great partner. We view that relationship very, very highly."

"That will be a key consideration in our deliberations. There's no question about that. When our group gets together, they look at a lot of different things. They really look at them in no particular order (and) try not to prioritize. Certainly the relationship with the ACC with the Orange Bowl will be a key consideration in who we take."

In their wide range of measures, the oft-projected Clemson-Alabama matchup in Miami has its appeal.

"We look at compelling storylines," said Wahl. "Is there something interesting there? For example, if Alabama becomes an automatic and we decided to take Alabama versus Clemson - there's the Dabo/Alabama connection."

Monday, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich put out the call for Tiger fans to let Wahl and co. know they're ready to make south Florida #ClemsonOrange. Has that tipped the scales?

"They're one of those schools that we're going to consider very highly. That's about all I can tell you," Wahl said with a chuckle. "We've heard a lot of from Clemson fans. On social media there's been a lot of interaction back and forth. The Clemson folks have worked very hard in getting that social media out.

"We've seen some of the results they've had. Obviously the fans have shown that they really want to come and obviously that's something that's important to us."

One of the committee's issues with Clemson, as identified by Radakovich, was "concerns" over ticket sales.

Two years ago, the school sold roughly half of its allotted 17,500 tickets in the 2012 Orange Bowl matchup with West Virginia. That wasn't totally representative of the orange-clad crowds, as many folks opted for secondary outlets that were much cheaper in some cases.

The calendar was a main factor as well, the game on Jan. 4, a Wednesday. This year's edition is on Jan. 3, a Friday, in a week that sets up well for travel.

"It's a much better date," Wahl said. "The commissioners that are in charge and that will be in charge of the College Football Playoff know that dates have been an issue for fanbases trying to travel. A Wednesday midweek after a holiday when most people have been on break or at least a mental break – it’s hard to do.

"Here you have New Year's on a Wednesday and a lot of people that won't be going to work or school for sure on Thursday and Friday. With the game being Friday night, they'll be able to drive home Saturday or Sunday. Clemson being within reasonable driving distance is obviously a positive."

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Comments » 2

michtiger writes:

A reasonable outcome this week is MSU victory over OSU and Missouri over Auburn. Probably Ala or maybe Missouri then to champ. and other to Sugar. Now because the SEC is maxed out, Amer. conference has only one automatic, then OSU is only reasonable attendance pick east of Mississippi. Orange will then beg Clemson and I hope we tell them no ( not likely ). This conversation is bull____ ! If FSU goes to Pasadena and CU in top 14, both likely, then Orange is committed. Probably CU-OSU. To be honest as much as I love the tigers I do not think we are BCS material, but this crap from the Orange is getting old!

clemvol writes:

Lets see. 2 person family going to Miami for the weekend to see what we already know. On an average probably looking at $1,500.00 cost, ( add more if you are taking additional people ) hangovers, traffic and another loss to remind that we are very good at beating the weak sisters of the ACC but when it's time to stand toe to toe with someone who can fight back then reality presents itself that we are only good enough for the 2nd top 25 at best. Is everybody getting a gut full of mediocrity? It's just good business to know where you really want to spend your money.

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