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Tom Mickle Chat Transcript From Friday

Tom Mickle Chat Transcript From Friday

 Tom Mickle

Tom Mickle Chat Transcript

Tom Mickle is in his first full year as Executive Director of Florida Citrus Sports after joining the organization on October 1, 2001. Mickle oversees an organization that runs two Orlando, FL, bowl games: The Mazda Tangerine Bowl on Dec. 23 and the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2003.

Before coming on board at FCS, Mickle played a key role in reshaping the bowl landscape of major college football over the last 10 years. As Associate Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Mickle created the principles of the original Bowl Coalition in 1992, which eventually has evolved into the current Bowl Championship Series.

Prior to joining the ACC, Mickle served 17 years at Duke University in a variety of positions after graduating from the school in 1972. The native of Media, Pa., is married to the former Jill Mixon, a Clemson graduate.

Clemson Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips accepted a bid to the Tangerine Bowl Sunday afternoon. The contest will be played December 23 in Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, FL. Kickoff is set for 5:30 PM and the contest will be televised by ESPN.

This will be Clemson’s first appearance in the Tangerine Bowl, but not its first appearance in Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Clemson had a 2-1 record in that facility during its competition in the Citrus Bowl. Clemson defeated Penn State and Oklahoma in consecutive Citrus bowls at the end of the 1987 and 1988 seasons, respectively. The Tigers lost to California in the Citrus Bowl at the end of the 1991 season.

Read what Tom had to say:

Moderator: Welcome to the moderated chat room. Tom is here and ready for your questions
Ed: Mr. Mickle…in addition to the games themselves, what else does Florida Citrus Sports govern?
Tom: We host the two bowl games, the Rotary Gridiron College all-star Classic, Florida Classic, the Florida Power Super Holiday Parade, and the OUC Orlando Half Marathon & 5k.
Brandon , Stuart Florida: What made the board choose Clemson over Virginia to represent the ACC in the Tangerine Bowl?
Tom: I think the strong fan support and the win over arch-rival South Carolina along with closer geographic proximity to Orlando would be the major factors.
Erik Wist (Atlanta): Mr. Mickle, I would like to thank you for selecting Clemson as the 2002 ACC representative of the Tangerine Bowl. What was the main difference in selecting a 7 win Clemson team this year vs. a 7 win Clemson team last year?
Tom: I think last year NC State had a much stronger finish down the stretch than Clemson. Also, the NC State fans did a strong job of lobbying our committee so they felt comfortable in selecting NC State. I think the performance down the stretch was the main factor, but they’re fans seemed really excited.
David: Who will Clemson be playing in the Tangerine Bowl?
Tom: There are probably three teams that are most likely opponents: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Iowa State. Kansas State getting into the BCS could affect things, but we will know on Sunday.
Ben (San Diego, CA): When you first began work on the Bowl Coalition, did you envision it becoming as controversial as the BCS? Do you see an easy way to fix it?
Tom: No, I did not see it becoming this controversial. When we originally cmae up with the idea, it was to put champions against champions. Now it has developed into a 1-2 national championship game. I think the most natural progression would be to have a four-team playoff in the current bowl system. I think that’s a possibility when the contract comes up for review in 2006.
Christine (Clemson): Other than financial considerations, what do you look for in sponsorships?
Tom: The ideal title sponsor is someone who is willing to promote the sport and the game beyond just the entitlement. For example, Capital One spends an extra $5-6 million a year on college football outside just the bowl game. We are hoping Mazda will also grow into that as Capital One has over the past few years.
Keith A (Atlanta): Is the Capital One Bowl automatically going to take the loser of the SEC Championship game, or are Auburn or LSU being considered?
Tom: Auburn is still in our mix. It is not in our contract that we have to take the loser of that game. In the past we’ve taken that team about half the time, but we normally try to go with the highest ranked team.
DON(CLEMSON): Can you give us an estimate of the expected attendance for the Tangerine Bowl?
Tom: Our hope is that we can fill the lower bowl. Last year we had 28,000 and the lower bowl seats 46,000. We have to make some progress, right now we’re at about 35,000 tickets already sold. Obviously that’s a big jump from last year, but we feel that will be a big step if we can come close to that number.
Camp Lejeune, N.C.: In the Big 12, who do you feel will be a better matchup with the Tigers for a bigger television and live audience? The bigger the better.
Tom: We always talk to ESPN, but they normally give us the freedom to pick who we please. We like to look for a team that will bring alot of fans and have a local impact. Texas Tech and Kliff Kingsbury would be attractive, but Oklahoma State is the hot team right now. Iowa State has Seneca Wallace, so there’s a number of directions in which we could go.
Roger (Wake Forest): First, thanks for selecting Clemson! I look forward to the trip. I believe the bowl game was on Dec. 21 last year, and I was wondering why the change to two days before Christmas this year?
Tom: It’s kind of a catch-22. Last year it was on a Thursday, and a lot of kids were still in school or had exams. This year we had two choices: the 19th and the 23rd. We picked the 23rd because we knew schools would be out and it gives fans and families a chance to spend the weekend and enjoy more of the festivities and still get home before Christmas. And with the 5:30 kickoff, a lot of fans could start to go home after the game. Also, there were a lot of late championship games this year and we needed sometime to get the teams in.
Betsy (Chattanooga): Besides each team’s record, what are some of the other factors that are taken into consideration before an invitation is extended to a school?
Tom: I think the second half of the season is vitally important. Whether or not the team has been to your bowl or not plays a factor. The last game of the year, which is normally against a rivalry opponent, can play a part. Because we have an early game, geography plays a bigger part.
Arkansas: If you say you will take the highest ranked team to go to the Capital One Bowl – please clarify which teams that would include.
Tom: Historically over the past 10 years since the SEC and Big Ten have been connected with the Capital One Bowl, we have almost to a letter taken the highest ranked team on the date of the selection. Arkansas should be aware that back in 1999 Mississippi State lost in the SEC Championship game, but we took Arkansas because they were the higher ranked team.
Reza: How has you perspective on the BCS changed since you moved to the bowl side of things? Would you be willing to lay out a plan for a playoff system?
Tom: I think if we go to the playoff system we should still incorporate the bowls in some way. The current bowl system really strengthens the importance of the regular season. The month of November is a playoff right now. With the current bowl system, you’re rewarding about 56 teams and 5600 student athletes. In a playoff, you’re talking about a 16-team playoff and not rewarding as many people. I do think there are too many bowls right now, but if we could trim it down to about 18 with 36 teams that would be about the right number.
Steven, Hartsville, SC: We (tiger fans) would really love to see Clemson and Nebraska play in the Tangerine Bowl!!! What do you think the chances of that happening? Thanks for giving us a chance to play!!!
Tom: We think Nebraska will probably be picked before us. The Independence Bowl picks ahead of us, and every indication we have is that they will take Nebraska. If not, I agree with you. We would love to have the rematch from the national championship game 20 years ago.
Tom: That’s all the time I have for now but I have enjoyed your questions. Have a happy holiday season.
Moderator: Thanks for visiting the moderated chat room. Join us in the coming weeks to chat with Clemson players and coaches.