From the Mud: How the Peach Bowl Increased From the “Tier 3 Bowl” to the Playoff Ledge

The Peach Bowl took a long way to reach the level of a national prominent position with other big bowl games.

However, the bowl game’s journey to the top – which continues on Saturday with the semifinal match of the football match between No. 1 LSU and no. Oklahoma 4 – It almost never started. It was, literally, stuck in the mud.

Peach Bowl Managing Director and President Gary Stokan remembers the bleak prospect of the bowl he faced shortly after his re-election in 1985 between the Army and Illinois. Former president of the Dick Bestwick Cup game did not say the future of peach drink:

“It was after the Illinois-Army game in 1985, which had a foot of mud at Fulton County Stadium and only 22,000 people there,” Stokan told Sporting News. “He returned to business leaders and said, ‘Unless corporate support for ticket sales and sponsorship is undertaken by business leaders, we are going out of business. “

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Former Delta Air Lines president Ron Allen has been instrumental in saving the bowl, which has grown since the Stokan took over in 1998. His first Peach Bowl race featured 19th Georgia and 13th Virginia. It is reminiscent of reading the headlines from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that reported bulldogs near home playing in a “third-degree bowl” game.

“This is how we saw our city: as a third-grade bowl game,” Stokan said. “Having risen from the fact that it’s part of New Year 6 is a remarkable return story.”

It’s a story that began with Stokan’s vision of the cup, which looked over the top at the time.

“In 1998, when I got the job, I said, ‘My job is to get us to BCS,'” Stokan said. “We couldn’t get to BCS in 2006 when BCS arrived on a double-host model with Rose, Sugar , Orange and Fiesta. That’s where we started the Kickoff Game format. “

Moving the Indoor Peach River to the Georgia Dome in 1994 was one of the first steps, as was the traditional SEC-ACC match-up. These factors contributed to the conclusion of the ESPN TV contract and the title sponsor Chick-Fil-A, which increased the visibility of the bowl game in the 1990s. Bowl’s first Top 10 match – a 40-3 game for No. 10 LSU over Miami No. 9 in 2005 – was the precursor to the first Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game between Alabama 24 and Clemson 30 August 2008.

The peach glass has grown steadily, and Stokan credits staff, volunteers and the board for this growth. He believes the charity donations responsible for the Peach Cup – $ 53.8 million since 2002 – also played a role in landing that spot on New Year’s rotation 6. The football college football hall went to Atoll in 2014 and 31 December 2014 the matchup between no. 6 TCU and no. 9 of the State of Mississippi made it official.

“We had a vision from the beginning that we wanted to aspire to be with Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta,” Stoak said. “In 2013, when the CAP invited us to join the CAP, we had achieved our vision.”

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Saturday’s matchup will mark No. 2 vs. the 4th semifinal in the Peach Cup. The first happened in 2016 between no. No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Washington, a 24-7 win for the Crimson Tide. Saturday also marks the first game of the Playoff at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a Stokan game that he believes can generate a multitude of records.

The Chick-Fil-A Peach Broch Cup extended its contract with the College Football Playoff until 2025-26 and will host semifinals in 2022 and 2025. The latter of these two will come 40 years after the end of the Peach River. .

What happens after that? Regardless of where the Playoff goes, Peach will be part of that conversation. For this reason, Stokan is still grateful.

“We continue to have an attitude of gratitude,” Stokan said. “That’s why it’s going to show hard work by people as the team really performs.”

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