The 76th FedEx Orange Bowl kicks off tonight at Land Shark Stadium with the Iowa Hawkeyes facing the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
It’s not exactly the balmy South Florida weather fans from Iowa and Georgia expected, nor what tourism officials had in mind either, when they created the Orange Bowl in 1935 to promote the region as a tourist destination. The country had just endured the Great Depression and the Orange Bowl seemed like a good way to help with economic recovery and encourage visitors to get out of the cold.
Similar feelings abound today, among Orange Bowl Committee, tourism and economic development officials. Although ticket sales have been slow for tonight’s game, local officials love the idea that two out-of-state teams are pitted against each other and many fans have been in South Florida in preparation for days.
OB Committee and tourism officials worry the lengthy vacations planned around the Orange Bowl will end if efforts to create a college football playoff system are successful. The debate rages on as it does annually, but has gotten louder with President Obama expressing his support for a playoff and Congress holding hearings on whether the Bowl Championship Series violates antitrust laws.
The story I wrote today that you can read here explores issues on both sides of the BCS versus playoff debate. Meanwhile, Playoff PAC, a political action committee formed in October to push for a playoff, released its first ad targeting the BCS this week. Watch it here: