11/1/12 – On the Road Again, and On Twitter Too
Well, it's finally here. Our first full week of scouting teams as we begin the team selection process for the 45th annual Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. This is definitely an exciting time for our scouts as they get back on the road in the ACC and SEC just when the divisional races are starting to heat up.
We will have a full schedule of seven games to scout this week and I'll list each one with comments on the match-ups. But before we get to the individual games, I want to remind everyone that our scouts will be Tweeting from selected games each week to keep you updated on what they are doing.
I'm pretty sure we are the only bowl game in the country who does this and some of the Tweets are pretty good, so be sure to follow us on Twitter @chickfilabowl. We are now on Instagram too, so look for @chickfilabowl!
As a general rule, our scouts will arrive on campus very early to take in the atmosphere around the stadium, visit with some tailgating fans and take in the traditional game day experience for the host team.
After a lap around campus, our scouts will head into the stadium to spend some time visiting with university officials, athletic directors, head coaches and staff as they make their way into the press box. There, they will generally have time to do a few media interviews and sometimes get on the team radio broadcasts before kickoff.
After the game, our scouts try to attend each team's post-game press conference and talk more with media and team officials to gather analysis on the game before heading back to Atlanta.
After each Saturday's games, our entire Team Selection Committee gets together each Monday night to hear reports from each game and talk about individual teams as possibilities for our bowl.
Now that you have an idea of what our scouts do on the road, let's take a look at the games we will be taking in this week.
IN THE ACC:
Virginia Tech at Miami (Thursday)
Two proud and traditionally strong programs each coming off of a tough conference loss. These two Coastal Division foes are within a half game in the standings, so this game will have a lot at stake and should be a very hard-fought football game.
Clemson at Duke
The 7-1 Tigers will visit the 6-3 Blue Devils in a critical game for each team. Clemson needs a win to keep pace with the 'Noles in the Atlantic and Duke needs the win to maintain its lead in the Coastal. With these two teams, look for the game to be decided in the air with two high-powered passing attacks.
IN THE SEC:
Alabama at LSU
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this game has HUGE implications for both the SEC West and the national championship picture. Not sure we will see either of these two teams this year, but this is a can't-miss game and we like to see every team in each conference at least once, so this was an easy choice.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Two teams definitely under consideration this year and another huge SEC divisional game. We have not hosted the Bulldogs since 1999 and A&M would be a first being new to the league. A classic offense (Aggies) versus defense (Bulldogs) game and should be fun to watch.
Missouri at Florida
Something is going to have to give in this game of hungry teams. Mizzou is looking for respect in the form of its second SEC win and Florida is looking to take out its frustrations from the Georgia game on someone.
Ole Miss at Georgia
Two teams each coming off of big divisional wins who are poised to make a run. Ole Miss is a much improved team coming into its own and Georgia now controls its own destiny in the West. After an emotional win over the Gators, the Bulldogs can't afford to overlook the Rebels in this one.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
Vandy is having a good season due in part to a top-20 defense that keeps them in games. Kentucky has struggled so far, but can make a point in this one with a strong effort at home.
This week's media predictions:
CBSSports.com: Clemson vs. Mississippi State
ESPN.com (Schlabach & Edwards): Clemson vs. Mississippi State
Sporting News: Miami vs. Texas A&M