Ralph Friedgen's effect on Military Bowl
Welcome back to a special Christmas Eve edition of Going Bowling, where we're pretty sure that Friday night Santa will be violating any and all texting while driving laws as he steers the sleigh with one hand and checks for Sheraton Hawaii Bowl scores on his iPhone.
Ho Ho Ho ... to DC we go!
The Military Bowl Takes A Trip To The Fridge
December 29 will mark the third edition of the USO Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman (2:30 ET, ESPN), played at Washington's RFK Stadium. The Artist Formerly Known as the Eagle Bank Bowl is now being referred to by a new, albeit unofficial title -- the Ralph Friedgen Farewell Bowl.
Earlier this year I wrote about bowl games benefitting from off-field headlines, specifically how the Independence Bowl received mountains of unexpected media pops because of the preseason fiasco involving Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green and his I-Bowl jersey. Throughout the season, multiple bowl execs have talked to me about the media coverage and ticket sales coups that can come from breaking news, particularly coaching changes.
While no one will be able to match the coaching carousel drama that will accompany Florida's trip to the Outback Bowl, the Military Bowl is suddenly running a close second. It was already a very big deal for the still-new game to land the Maryland Terrapins. The College Park, MD campus sits only 10 miles north of RFK Stadium. But Monday's news that Friedgen had been fired took the game's home field advantages to an entirely different level. If the announcement of Maryland's new coach comes between now and next week's kickoff, especially if that coach ends up being Mike Leach, the increase in visibility for the Military Bowl won't just move the needle, it will break it.
To read why Military Bowl organizers couldn't be happier about this year's matchup, you need to be an Insider.