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   Welcome to TSLMail #257 - Friday, December 15, 2006    
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The History of the Chick-fil-A Bowl

by Chris Coleman,

The Chick-fil-A Bowl, formerly the Peach Bowl, has been a fixture in the city of Atlanta since 1968. It was originally founded by the Lion’s Club of Atlanta in 1968, and they played the games on Grant Field at Georgia Tech. In 1971, the game moved to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, but it still remained a minor bowl for many years.

In 1986, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MACOC) took over the Peach Bowl. The bowl executive director at the time was Dick Bestwick, and he encouraged the Chamber to step up their support of the game. Gradually, with the help of the great game between Virginia Tech and NC State in 1986, the game kept getting bigger.

In the early 1990s, the Peach Bowl became aligned with the SEC and the ACC, which sent two legitimate teams from major conferences to Atlanta. The first SEC vs. ACC Peach Bowl took place following the 1992 season, and the bowl has been one of the most popular non-BCS bowls every since.

The ACC and SEC have played some great games in the past, and the Virginia Tech-Georgia game looks to carry on that tradition. Here is a result of past Peach Bowls between the ACC and SEC.

ACC vs. SEC in the Peach Bowl
Season Result
1992 UNC 21, Miss. State 17
1993 Clemson 14, Kentucky 13
1994 NC State 28, Miss. State 24
1995 Virginia 34, Georgia 27
1996 LSU 10, Clemson 7
1997 Auburn 21, Clemson 17
1998 Georgia 35, Virginia 33
1999 Miss. State 17, Clemson 7
2000 LSU 28, Georgia 14
2001 UNC 16, Auburn 10
2002 Maryland 30, Tennessee 3
2003 Clemson 27, Tennessee 14
2004 Miami 27, Florida 10
2005 LSU 40, Miami 3
Record: ACC Leads, 8-6

Most of the game listed above were close games, although Miami has tried to change that with their performances the last two years, positive and negative. The Canes easily beat Florida in 2004, but were blown out by LSU in 2005.

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In fact, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has been the most competitive bowl in college football over the past 20 years, with games being decided by an average of 8.4 points per game. Virginia Tech and Georgia will bring two great defenses to the Georgia Dome this year, and that average margin isn’t likely to rise.

The Atlanta-based bowl finally started moving up the ranks in the early 1990s. The bowl signed a contract with ESPN in 1991. When the ACC and SEC became affiliated with the Peach Bowl in 1992, the bowl moved to the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta, which was another important step.

The January 1, 1992 Peach Bowl was the last bowl in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The game between East Carolina and NC State drew over 59,000 fans. But with the ACC and SEC coming to town the next year, and the game being played in a brand new stadium, attendance kept moving up. The 1993 Peach Bowl played on January 2, 1993 between UNC and Mississippi State was the first ACC vs. SEC showdown. UNC won 21-17, and over 69,000 fans were in attendance.

After the ACC and SEC began playing in the game, attendance has never been lower than 63,416. When the game was played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, attendance was never more than 59,322.

In 1996, the bowl earned its first title sponsor when Chick-fil-A came aboard, and the game was called the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl from 1996-2005. This season the bowl is simply known as the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl has become one of the most popular bowls in the country since 1992. Atlanta is in the heart of SEC and ACC country, and Atlanta is a popular destination for fans from all teams from these conferences. The Chick-fil-A Bowl generates $30-35 million in economic impact for the Metro Atlanta area every year. According to the old Peach Bowl website, the 2003 Peach Bowl generated $35.8 million in economic impact, eclipsing the NBA All-Star Game, the NCAA Women’s Final Four, and the SEC Football Championship Game. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Highland Springs' Hill Commits!

December 14, 2006
Highland Springs (VA) star CB/WR Cris Hill said he would have a decision before Christmas and he certainly came through, as today he made his college decision. Hill, a 5-11, 175-pound speedster who recently was named first-team all-Central region on offense (WR) and defense (CB), narrowed his list to Virginia Tech and Tennessee recently.

Hokies in Good Position, but Production from Collins is Needed
December 14, 2006
Nine games into the season, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team sits at 6-3. There have been good moments and bad moments, and many people are frustrated about the start, but the team has played better the last two games. The Hokies still have a chance to get to the NCAA tournament, and the next five games on the schedule will help make or break Tech's season.

Star CB Close to a Decision
December 14, 2006
Highland Springs (VA) star cornerback/wide receiver Cris Hill has taken two official visits, and this appears to be all he'll need to be able to make a decision. The 5-11, 175-pound prospect could be close – very close, in fact - to making a commitment to one of his two finalists.

Jackson Preparing for Tomorrow's Decision
December 14, 2006
Jamar Jackson will be one happy person late tomorrow afternoon. The 6-4, 230-pound Varina (VA) defensive end/outside linebacker prospect should have announced his decision by then, as he is expected to announce tomorrow during a 1:45 press conference at Varina High School. His final decision has come down to two schools – Florida State and Virginia Tech.

Flowers Named All-American
December 13, 2006
Now that the 2006 regular season is over, All-American teams are starting to be announced. Several Virginia Tech players have already been honored, and interestingly, the most decorated player thus far had little hype heading into the start of the season.
Also: Hokies Resume Practice on Saturday.

Ovens Enjoyed Outstanding Senior Season
December 13, 2006
Hunter Ovens, star running back and linebacker for Cardinal Mooney (Sarasota, FL), turned in a fantastic senior season. The 6-2, 220-pound Virginia Tech recruit was big part of a defense that forced four shutouts on the year and gave up an average of just under 200 yards per game. On offense, he rushed for 783 yards and 22 touchdowns.

"Peach Bowl" Invitation Brings Back Memories
December 12, 2006
You hear the phrase over and over again: "The Beamer Bowl Era." It started in 1993 with an Independence Bowl invitation and continues through today, with the 14th straight invitation, this one to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. It's a special era in Tech football, but many of us have fond memories of another time as well: Tech's first-ever bowl win, in the 1986 Peach Bowl. This year's CFA Bowl invitation takes many of us back 20 years in time, to one of the greatest games ever played in Virginia Tech football history.

Hampton Wants to Visit Three Schools
December 12, 2006
For Phoebus (Hampton, VA) OL/DL Maurice Hampton, it’s now time to focus on recruiting. Hampton and his teammates took care of business this past weekend, capturing a Division 5 state championship with a win over Edison, so the talented 6-3, 275-pound recruit will obviously have a good feeling heading into his decision making process.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 12/11/06
December 12, 2006
Monday night's guests at Beamer's Restaurant in Christiansburg were head men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg, athletic director Jim Weaver, and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring.

Varina Duo Set Decision Date!
December 12, 2006
Varina (VA) star defensive end/linebacker Jamar Jackson and defensive tackle Bud Tribbey have set a date to announce their college intentions. Virginia Tech is a finalist for both of these talented in-state prospects.

Mosley has "Great" Official Visit
December 11, 2006
Corey Mosley had a few questions about the University of Virginia football program heading into his official visit this past weekend. The 5-9, 190-pound standout DB/WR, a first-team all-Capital district selection on offense and defense in his senior season, says his questions were answered in what he called a “great” official visit experience.

Searcy Returns from UNC
December 11, 2006
Towers (Decatur, GA) standout Da’Norris Searcy made it to Chapel Hill this past weekend for an official visit to UNC. This visit was especially important as the 6-0, 205-pound prospect had verbally committed to the Tar Heels this past summer before John Bunting’s departure.

Hokies Get Defensive, Blow Out Appalachian State 69-37
December 10, 2006
Virginia Tech used an outstanding defensive effort to overcome a shaky offensive start, and the result was a 69-37 blowout victory over Appalachian State Sunday afternoon in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies improve to 6-3 with the win, while the Mountaineers drop to 5-3.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Appalachian State
December 8, 2006
Fresh off their resounding victory over a solid Old Dominion team, the Hokies return to Cassell Coliseum on Sunday to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers. This should be another win for Tech, but the Mountaineers aren't a team that can be overlooked.
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