Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Scout Rod Hovater will be at the Florida State - Clemson football game on Saturday night to scout the Tigers.
What has been your experience with Clemson in the past?
My first experience with Clemson was when Tommy West was just named the coach. All the coaches showed up and some of them met for the first time at our hotel.
The Clemson fans have been fantastic. There are a lot of events here. A lot of the fans like to see the players and like for the players to participate in certain things. Clemson has been great to work with. They are always willing and will do whatever they can to help build the bowl. We ask them maybe to sign some footballs for the sponsors and they have always been ready, willing and able to do even more than asked. They have been wonderful to work with.
Clemson has been in our game about five times. They are always a team we want to follow. Obviously they have a great reputation. It’s close proximity. It’s a close trip for everybody involved.
How does Clemson fit in the ACC picture right now for the Peach Bowl?
This year in the ACC there are so many people that could be involved we are going to just have to let them play it out. We’ve had the highest attendance of any non BCS bowl the last five or six years. It’s been right at 72,000. So we are selling out consistently. So that means we can pick and choose the best matchups that we can get. We obviously love the fan following because that adds excitement to the game.
First thing Clemson has to do is become bowl eligible and then we take look at them NC State, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and Virginia. They are all still right there bunched up. Clemson is definitely of interest to us or we would not be coming up there this weekend.
What are the other games the Peach Bowl is scouting this weekend?
Ole Miss at Auburn, Vandy at Florida, Wake Forest at North Carolina, and Virginia at Maryland. Some of the others we are following are off this weekend.
What is the payout for the Peach Bowl
We paid 2.1 million per team last year. We’ve been moving up pretty quickly with Chick-Fil-A as a sponsor. With our payout we’ve moved past some bowls now. We are headed very much so in the right direction.
What are you looking for when you scout games?
We like to see the fan support and the enthusiasm and how much they enjoy their team. We look for players that your general football fan would like to watch or coaching. We look for something that would be of interest because we draw a nice group of people from Atlanta that may not necessarily be a Clemson fan. They are a bowl fan and a football fan. We try to look at matchups to try to make it an interesting game. We will look at history of when the teams have played each other if they have. A match up like you have this weekend with Father vs Son adds intrigue. There are a whole lot of considerations but the main thing we want to do is match two teams that finish strong and have good fan backing and want to come to our bowl.
Since Clemson has not been to your bowl in a while is that a consideration as well?
A lot of people say that but if last year’s teams Tennessee and Maryland are available when it is our time to select we would not hesitate to offer them again because they both brought a lot of fans. And in this case I think Tennessee would like the chance to redeem themselves. We are not looking for them, but if they have the best records and they are the two best teams that we can put on the field then we would definitely do it.
Peach Bowl Facts: The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is the annual college football post-season game which matches competitors from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference in a regional grudge match in the Georgia Dome. The game has an enormous impact on the metro Atlanta economy because it attracts up to 40,000 out-of-town guests to Atlanta. They stay in local hotels, shop and visit restaurants creating a $35 to $50 million boost to the local economy. Televised nationally by ESPN, and broadcast via radio on 790 "The Zone" , the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl attracts regional and national attention to Atlanta. The anticipated team payout for 2004 is $2.15 million per team.