Today’s Journal centerpiece was a bowl update we wrote on MSU and Ole Miss. The Rebels are holding out hope for something better than the BBVA Compass Bowl, while the Bulldogs are likely headed to the Gator Bowl or possibly the Music City Bowl. Good stuff in that story.
I caught up with MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin on Tuesday to get his thoughts on the situation. In fact, I’ve got the entire Q&A right here for you. Columbus Dispatch reporter Matt Stevens and I asked Stricklin a lot of questions, and here are his answers.
BL: How much are you communicating with the bowls?
SS: I’ve talked to a couple of people this week in the bowl business. Mainly my conversation is with the conference office, because they kind of see the big picture.
BL: It’s a pretty fluid situation with SEC bowl selections.
SS: You’ve got six teams with 10 wins, so I haven’t really focused much on that piece of it, just because we’re not in that mix.
BL: But it could have a trickle-down effect.
SS: It could, it could. I do think, we’re at eight wins, we’re not going to jump a 10-win team. It’s ridiculous to – in the bowl industry, it’s real unusual to see a team with two more wins be jumped. I just don’t see us jumping a 10-win team. I think those six teams will be off the board before we get taken.
MS: Do you have a decent amount of confidence in where MSU will end up?
SS: I think there’s one place that’s probably more likely than the others, but…
MS: Do you feel like the three bowls to which you’re pre-selling tickets (Chick-fil-A, Gator, Music City) are where you think you’ll end up?
SS: I would be really surprised if it’s not one of those three.
BL: Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett said he expects to be choosing between MSU and Vanderbilt.
SS: I think we’ve got good bowl options. Any of those we might end up with will provide a great experience for us.
BL: Do you feel you have a good connection to Gator based on two years ago?
SS: We had a great time each of the last two trips, been phenomenal. We took over 30,000 people to each site. Nashville is a little more convenient, it’s a great city. Both of them have NFL stadiums. The Gator Bowl is New Year’s Day in Florida; it’s hard to beat that. I think the fans who went to Jacksonville and the fans who went to Nashville last year would unanimously tell you it was a great experience, and I think we have a chance to recreate one of those.
BL: How is the ticket pre-selling going?
SS: It’s been good. We got out a little bit later this year; we actually got out on a holiday week. But we’ve had pretty good movement, similar to what we’ve done in years past.
MS: What, close to 1,500 sold for the Gator in the first week?
SS: Yeah. If you add the comps – what we provide for staff and families and everything and player families – yeah, I don’t know where. It’s significantly more than that now.