As the Sugar Bowl attempts to follow Atlanta's lead in hosting a neutral site game for the college football world, they just weren't able to make Notre Dame - Baylor work. But that's what happens when you try to sell a major event involving Baylor. What, was Tulane unavailable?
For those of you living under a rock, the Peach-fil-a Bowl in Atlanta has orchestrated a huge first-weekend-of-the-season-bowl that has been wildly successful so far. Alabama and Clemson opened up the season in the ATL last year. Alabama - Virginia Tech is a sellout to start this season, and the last report I heard had LSU and UNC ready to ink a deal to start their season in Atlanta in 2010. Watch Notre Dame end up starting 2011 against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Now da Supa Dome wants in on the action, and who can blame them? The cash Atlanta makes of college football is huge, and getting two major Superdome games would be a triumph. With the new SEC/ESPN TV deal, a similar game in New Orleans would reap huge rewards for the local economy, but if they want in, they're going to have to hammer out some details quick. Houston & Dallas will not dally if they see a market in this.
New Orleans is right between SEC and Big XII country. Recognized as the two currently preeminent conferences in college ball, they only have a marquee bowl tie-in in the Cotton Bowl, and no shortage of yearly Top 10 teams.
Not stopping there, New Orleans could also feasably arrange for a Big XII - ACC tilt which currently has no marquee tie in. Proximity to the Texas and Deep South recruiting fields won't hurt any organization's plans to sell the advantages of a Supa Dome game.
The only problem is NOLA's distance from the SEC East, ACC and Big XII North teams. But plenty of folks have proven that they will travel with the right incentives.
Could you imagine the following types of start-the-year matchups in New Orleans:
Alabama vs. Texas
Georgia vs. Oklahoma
Florida State vs. Texas A&M
Bo Pelini's return to Louisiana to lead Nebraska vs Auburn
Impossible? Maybe not.