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Oh, Please Let The “Champions” Bowl Partner With The Sugar Bowl

Dallas or Atlanta.  Atlanta or Dallas.

As the SEC and Big 12 try to pick a new city/bowl partner for their “Champions” Bowl game, this writer wants to cast his vote — not that I’ve actually got a vote, of course — for New Orleans.

Atlanta is a fine city, but don’t SEC fans already get their fill of the Georgia Dome?  You’ve got the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games.  The Chick-fil-A Bowl.  The SEC Championship Game.  The SEC Tournament every few basketball seasons.  Atlanta is a great city, a fun city (especially if Ray Lewis isn’t in town).  Heck, it’d be a good city for the occasional college football championship game.  But the SEC is in danger of becoming all Atlanta’d out.  Plus, Big 12′ers might not be eager to make the long trip to mid-Georgia.

As for Dallas, well, the option on the table really isn’t even Dallas.  Or Fort Worth.  It’s Arlington.  And while that’s surely a nice place with some mighty hospitable folks ready to welcome the tourists, easily the biggest things going for that city are Jerry Jones’ stadium and his bank account.  In fact, Cowboys Stadium and Jones’ wallet will probably land the “Champions” Bowl.  But SEC fans might not be eager to make the long trek to mid-Texas.  And aren’t Big 12 backers leery of becoming to Metroplex-centric (a la the SEC and Atlanta)?

In this scibe’s opinion there’s only one place for the “Champions” Bowl.  It’s like a little foreign country — complete with different architecture, different cuisine, different accents, and a different culture — right in the middle of the United States.  That place is of course New Orleans.  A tourist Mecca.  So long as the fans promise to steer clear of Krystal after the game, the “Champions” Bowl should marry up with the Sugar Bowl ASAP.

The city’s location would even make it the easiest travel destination for fans of both conferences.

If you’re still not biting on New Orleans, here are 15 reasons to make the new SEC/Big 12 bowl a permanent resident of the Big Easy… provided by a frequent and recent connoisseur of the city:


15.  Above-ground cemeteries

You might’ve seen photos, but until you’ve driven by or toured one of these products of the area’s below-sea-level setting, you haven’t a clue as to just how freakin’ unusual they really are.


14.  Voodoo

While I was in the French Quarter last weekend, someone asked a New Orleans native barkeep is she would pose for a photo with his group’s souvenir Voodoo doll.  The response?  De-Nied.  The 20-something wanted no part of whatever karma or witchery might pass from the group to the doll to her.  Asking her about her response I was told, “I don’t believe much in religion, but Voodoo is a different beast.”  You won’t hear that in Arlington.


13.  The National World War II Museum

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”  Have any appreciation at all for the sacrifices made by the “Greatest Generation” in the world’s last, truly global war?  Then try to go through New Orleans’ D-Day Museum without getting misty-eyed at least once.  Moving.  Very moving.


12.  Civil War Museum at Confederate Memorial Hall

For those with interest in a different war — and more than a few of the folks I spotted there were real “Lost Causers” — swing by this little archive.  Even if basking in Confederate mythology isn’t your idea of fun, you’ll at least come to the realization from looking at the authentic uniforms on hand that 19th-century males were roughly the size of Hobbits.


11.  Swamp tours

Ever been to another planet?  Take an airboat tour through the swamps and bayous and you’ll get that feeling.  Do your research and find a good tour company, though.  Don’t do the brochure-from-a-street-vendor thing.


10.  Jen at Finnegan’s Easy

The best barkeeper in the Quarter.  Working at a laid-back joint, Jen’s anything but.  Say something stupid and you’ll likely find yourself tossed back out onto St. Peter Street.  Trust me, though, Jen’s tops…


9.  Dixie Beer

Especially if she’s serving up a bottle of ice cold Dixie Beer.  After Hurricane Katrina these suds are no longer brewed in New Orleans, but they still provide a step back into the past with the same old recipe.  (Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your own taste buds.)  The college kids will be drinking their Abita, but the old school, PBR-types will be sipping Dixies and digging the local music.






















8.  Jackson Square

It’s the photo op that has to be done in New Orleans.  Local artists pitch their paintings.  Local musicians make their music.  And tourists throw money at both.  All in front of beautiful St. Louis Cathedral and the famous statue of Andrew Jackson, hero of New Orleans in the War of 1812.  (Jackson went on to become president and sign into law the Indian Removal Act which should be his lasting, shameful legacy.  Sorry, Jacksonites, I’m not a fan of the man.)

















7.  Zoo, aquarium and Imax

Yes, you can actually take the kids to N’awlins.  And while they’re enjoying kid-like things…


6.  Hand Grenades

You can enjoy the most famous product of The Tropical Isle.  Sweet, but not quite as sweet — or famous — as Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane, the Hand Grenade packs a much more powerful punch.  So be careful.  Though your girlfriend might love the melon taste, she’ll actually be pouring back some Pure Grain Alcohol.  The fact that you can’t taste said alcohol is the danger.  (I learned this lesson before a mid-90s wedding rehearsal of which I have zero recollection.)


5.  3-for-1s

If you’re headed to Bourbon Street in order to party, you can do so on the cheap.  While spots in Arlington and Atlanta probably offer up 2-for-1 drinks during Happy Hour, several stops on Bourbon offer 3-for-1 beers at all hours.


4.  Architecture

Nola isn’t all about getting boozed up, of course.  The older you get, the more you come to appreciate the unique culture of the city.  From the balconies to the small courtyards, the architecture and look of New Orleans play a big part in creating the feel of New Orleans.  (Those French and Spanish street names in the Quarter give everything a slight “are we still in America?” quality, too.)






















3.  Food

Five words: Jambalaya, etouffee, muffaleta, alligator, crawfish.  Again, New Orleans is like its own little nation.


2.  Music

It seems that on every street and every street corner live music can be heard.  Jazz (not my favorite), zydeco (close to my favorite), and blues (my absolute favorite) are omnipresent.  From professionals in the French Quarter clubs to bucket-banging street performers, they all create the soundtrack of the city.


1.  It’s the right thing to do

Until Las Vegas builds a football stadium capable of hosting 80,000 fans, there’s no city in America that is more geared toward giving tourists a warm, friendly welcome than New Orleans.  Since Hurricane Katrina, the city has rebounded and thankfully maintained much of its pre-disaster personality.  But the work isn’t done and the more money that gets poured back into that city’s economy the better.  So says this lover of the Big Easy.

So for fans looking for a good time in a town that’s darn near smack in the middle of Big 12/SEC country — and for the financial benefit of one of our nation’s most unique locales — the “Champions” Bowl needs to wind up in New Orleans either by hook or by crook.  (And if Louisiana politicians get involved, that would take care of the “crook” part.)

Nola, anyone?  Nola, everyone?

Nola it is.


Baylor Pride
Baylor Pride confirms Memphis as the geographical center of all current 24 teams of the 2 conferences. In addition to BBQ and St. Jude's, there's also Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum and scenic vies of the Mississippi River. Of course, there would have to be SUBSTANTIAL capital outlay and investment. I've always enjoyed the hospitality of Memphis.

Baylor Pride
Baylor Pride

Actually, Memphis is closer to being the geographical center of the two conferences. I wish there was some way to invest millions into updating the Liberty bowl... Talk about great BBQ and a great way to bring even more attention to St. Judes!!!


you left out the best thing about N'orleans...... it floods.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



That's a pretty tasteless comment.  As someone who had a friend lose a home during Katrina, I can tell you I don't appreciate that kind of garbage on this site. 


But I'm going to leave it up so folks can see it attached to your alias.




Agree.  New Orleans the best choice.  Arlington is a wasteland.

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

Have you ever been to DFW?


You've got Dallas 15 miles east, Fort Worth 15 miles west.  Plenty of restaurants, museums and culture.  Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.  


Making the Sewerdome a permanent venue for the SEC-Big XII bowl would serve the SEC's nefarious and malignant agenda for world dominance quite well. The last time I checked, New Orleans was in Louisiana and Louisiana was in the SEC. And >really< in the SEC at that. To deny that any game LSU plays in NOLA is a home game would be absurd. To deny that a bowl located here would be a near-home game for any SEC team is almost as absurd. Big XII teams coming into this venue would be a de facto "visitor" - permanently. But that's the way the SEC has always stacked the chips, so it's no surprise that Mr. SEC would think this a brilliant idea. Flip-flop Atlanta and Arlington. Just say No to LA.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



The "SEC's nefarious and malignant agenda," huh?  Your first sentence establishes you as an imbecile.  You also didn't get the name of our site right -- it's and there is no one here who goes by "Mr. SEC."


But this game, as noted elsewhere, will have to be played somewhere in an SEC or Big 12 state which means that there's a chance someone will play in their own state on occasion.  But New Orleans is the closest major city to neutral ground AND it's the only city that's thought of as a vacation destination by many -- sorry Arlington, Atlanta, Houston, Shreveport, St. Louis, Texarkana, etc.  Unless the two leagues build a stadium in Vegas or decide to play in New York City, there's no better choice for a tourism-friendly city.


Here, though, are the two things I found funniest about your nonsensical rant:


1.  Flip-flopping Arlington and Atlanta could still give some teams a potential "home state advantage," so you've solved absolutely nothing.


2.  Alabama didn't have much problem with LSU's "home game" in the BCS Championship Game in January.  Of course, that's how things work in the SEC.  Rather than cry -- unless you're a South Carolina fan following your head coach's complaints -- you take your schedule and go win the games that are on it.  Bama did 21-0 right smack in the middle of Louisiana.  (Your silly comment wouldn't have had anything to do with LSU beating OKLAHOMA in the Superdome for the 2003 BCS title would it?  Nah, surely not.)


Tell you what.  When the "Champions" Bowl is played, I'll go to New Orleans and you can go to Arlington.  Regardless of where the game is actually played, I can guarantee you I'll still have a hell of a lot more fun than you.



JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

 @John at MrSEC  @OUtsider 

Rotating the venue between DFW, ATL, NOLA and FL appeals to me. Reality is there aren't many attractive options in the Big 12 footprint that time of year.  Maybe Houston, too.  


 @John at MrSEC And your second sentence establishes you as a rather literal minded homer.  Not that there is anything wrong with that...   You are the primary editor and moderator of this site, are you not?  You're the captain of the ship - you get the tag.


OK so let's have an end of year party with your tribe and mine .  We'll do it in my backyard every year.  My Chamber of Commerce will greatly appreciate the money that gets spent locally and the media coverage that gets lavished on the event.  I'm sure your community won't mind being left out.


re: 1.  Flip-flopping SEC and Big XII sites will accomplish the leveling of the playing field.  Home field advantage would be evenly distributed over time.  By "home field advantage", I'm not limiting the argument to the play on the field but am accounting for the additional benefits of hosting such an event  as well.  To my thinking, alternating sites between the conferences is a no brainer.


re: 2.  How often has Alabama played in the state of Louisiana in the past 20 years?  For how long has Louisiana hosted the Sugar Bowl?  For how long have the SEC faithful been chanting SEC! SEC!  regardless of specific team loyalty?  The Superdome is the SEC's home court.  This is not simply a matter of geography and travel times, it's a matter of culture and Louisiana is about as SEC drenched as it gets.   I didn't attend the 2003 Sugar Bowl but know more than a few Sooners who have sworn to never go back to LA if LSU is involved and won't be making the trip to Baton Rouge for the home and away that has been slated for the future.  Hurled beer bottles, keyed and painted cars, mob threats and aggressive actions against 60 and 70 year olds etc. are not most fans' idea of a good game experience.  By contrast, I did make the trip to Bryant-Denny a few years back for the OU-Bama game and had a great time.  Excellent tailgating and outstanding hosting by the Tide nation was a top-drawer experience and acknowledged by all.  The rabid and rocking Tide crowd in the stadium was the best part - and they did it with class.  Regardless - the Superdome is Alabama's (or Georgia's or Tennessee's et al)  homecourt and to consider NOLA (or Atlanta or Arlington or frigggin' Kansas City for that matter), as the sole and perpetual host for a game like this ------ well, none for me thanks..


Over the years, I've probably spent over 200 days and nights in NOLA.  I've done Brennan's and Commander's Palace more than a few times but prefer Petunia's for Sunday Brunch.  Dixie beer - ugh! almost as rotgut as Pearl.  The Quarter is well --- the Quarter.  But as you point out there's a lot more to do in N'awlins than just the Quarter and that includes the nightlife.  Tell you what - I'll go to where the game is being played, you can watch on a tv in Napoleon's and we'll both have a great time.   Laissez Le Bon Temp Roulez!





John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



There are no inflections on the internet.  And when 90% of the anonymous comments left on websites are negative, angry and ugly -- which they are -- I'm some writes something that looks negative, angry and ugly my first response -- and that of most folks -- is to think the person is being... negative, angry and ugly.


Sarcasm doesn't work online.  Trust me, I've had my share of people read something I've written one way when it was meant to come across in a whole 'nother way.


Thanks for coming back and clearing up your point.


I simply think New Orleans would be about as close to a midway point as possible WITH a heavy tourist zone to boost.


Thanks for reading the site,



 @OUtsider  Well, unless you want to play the game in California or something then it only makes sense that the game has to be located in a state within one of the 2 conferences.  And no matter how you slice it, someone gets an advantage in that scenario.  Nefarious and malignant agenda?  A little over dramatic are we?


Dallas...isn't that in the heart of Big 12 country?  Wouldn't that be a de facto home game for UT or OU?  


And if you are worried about LSU having a home field advantage in NOLA(and I don't disagree with that in the event they are actually in the game) then wouldn't Georgia have a home field advantage in Atlanta or many of the other SEC teams for that matter?


I don't have a problem with NOLA as it is on the Western end of SEC territory and not a bad trip for fans from most Big 12 locales.  If I had to say what city would be the MOST fair then I would probably say Houston as it is in the only state shared by the 2 conferences, but not squarely in the heart of either.  And personally, I'm not worried about it if the game were to end up in Dallas as SEC fans have always traveled well to the Cotton Bowl.


 @AllTideUp Nefarious and malignant - absolutely.  Now that Missou is in the SEC, you might catch up on some Mark Twain and the deliberate (and yes outlandish) stretching of a description in service of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable."  It was a joke son, a joke.


My main point is that (as I clearly stated), the game should alternate between conference affiliated sites.  If in Atlanta and Georgia is the SEC representative , then so be it.  That would be an occasional event, not a permanent state of affairs.


 @OUtsider I'm kind of like John on the jokes sometimes.  There are people around who say far crazier things than that and are completely serious so it didn't sound like a joke within the context of the comment.  I guess I need to bone up on my Mark Twain though.


I still disagree with the idea of the SEC stacking the chips though.  The conferences are co-owners and they'll find a suitable decision for both parties.  And outside of that, don't all conferences work in their own self-interest when it comes to getting an edge over all the others?


I think New Orleans is the best location for this game, by far.


But, Jerry Jones' pocketbook might be the deciding factor. **sigh**


I read last week that the SEC/Big 12 will absolutely share this game with at least 2 cities/host sites.  The reason being none of the prospective host sites want to be left out of the NCG and Semi Final rotation.  By Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl teaming up to host the Champions Bowl they could both host 6 Champions Bowls in 12 Years , 4 Semi Finals games and 2 National Championship Games.  (Not saying that is what would happen but Sugar and Cotton would have the ability).


From the SEC/Big 12 perspective this partnership between Cotton and Sugar bowls ensures the Champions Bowl never hosts a Semi Final game and the media rights therefore will always be paid to the SEC and Big 12 a substantial monetary advantage over the other 2 contract bowls (Rose and Orange) that will not pay media rights to the Big 10, PAC 12 and ACC in the years Rose and Orange host a Semi Final game.   If hosting a Semi Final Game is essential for the Champions Bowl to be in the BCS Mix there is still flexibility to host a Semi Final, In the Champions Bowl In the Cotton Bowl or in The Champions Bowl in The Sugar Bowl.



Cowboys Stadium, Arlington TX  80,000

Superdome, New Orleans LA 76,867

Reliant Stadium, Houston TX 72,000

Georgia Dome, Atlanta GA 71,149

Citrus Bowl, Orlando FL  70,188

Edward Jones Dome, St.  Louis MO 66,965

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa FL 65,547





Get the Sweetest Victory in the country at the SEC/Big12 Sugary Champions Bowl. (We can hope and pray)

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

See y'all at the soon-to-be renamed Cotton Bowl @ Jerry World in Arlington!


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