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December 2, 2013

Q&A: VT And A Bowl

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Prior to Virginia Tech's game at Virginia on Saturday, we spoke with Kurt Patberg, a selection committee member of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, who was on hand to watch the game. We spoke with Patberg prior to the final result of the Duke/North Carolina game as well.

While the likelihood of the Hokies being selected for the Chick-fil-A Bowl is slim, Patberg shed some interesting light on where Virginia Tech stands for a bowl and his take on the ACC and the Hokies' bowl resume.

HokieHaven.com: You're obviously here to watch Virginia Tech. When you watch this game, what are some factors that you're looking for or what are you watching to see?

Kurt Patberg: Let me say, we're actually here for two reasons. Our committee, specifically, about six years ago, went to a selection and marketing committee. It's important for us this last year, as the status stays with the sponsor, Chick-fil-A, to get out as a marketing group. So although yes, UVA is out of consideration for our bowl, that doesn't mean we don't appreciate all the schools in the ACC and get out and spread the word about Chick-fil-A. But with regards to the selection committee, yes. There are so many scenarios that can play out today and that are playing out as we speak.

HokieHaven.com: With Virginia Tech, in your mind, what's the most attractive or positive thing?

Patberg: Virginia Tech has as much history with the Chick-fil-A Bowl in the last 10 years as anyone in the ACC. You look at how many times they've been to the bowl game, now they've played in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. Virginia Tech has just been a big part of what we've been. Do we doubt that the VT fans would continue to like our bowl, support our bowl and like to be in Atlanta? I don't think that's the issue as much as just how is this whole thing gonna play out? There's so many darn scenarios.

HokieHaven.com: At the same time, what's the least attractive or positive thing?

Patberg: I don't know that there is one. You need to win. But who else wins and how it plays out, there's not a downside, other than we don't know how to answer questions. It's really easy at the beginning of the year, when I come on these visits because no one expects you to have answers. As we get closer to the end, people expect you to have answers and there's no answers to be had. It puts us in a very awkward position.

HokieHaven.com: Outside of Florida State and Clemson, there's so much parity and so much chaos in the ACC. How difficult has this season been, especially as it's gotten down to the scenarios, in the selection process?

Patberg: It didn't get difficult until these last couple of weeks. It seemed like things were gonna be kinda clear cut, if the traditionalists won. But you never plan for it to be easy. It actually turned out to be as difficult on the ACC side as I've seen it in my 11 years on the committee.

HokieHaven.com: How close does the Chick-fil-A Bowl work with other bowls, even communicating?

Patberg: I would say we work close with the other bowls, but really, through the SEC and the ACC. We rely on the commissioners to help be a mediator and get their advice and work through them. Gary Stoken, our president, has been in this business a long time. He has some really good relationships. Like any process, certain bowls communicate with certain bowls better than others, but there's a pretty good system there. It's not as isolated as a person on the outside would think, that everybody's doing their own thing. It's not like that.

HokieHaven.com: Have you guys talked about what changes will be made, int he last year of the bowl selection process as it is now?

Patberg: I'll give you a pin and you might wanna save it because it might be the last Chick-fil-A Bowl. We'll still have a bowl system. We will not be the Chick-fil-A Bowl. We don't own the rights. The six bowls that moved up for the playoffs do not own the rights to their own sponsorship. We will be a non-sponsored name and we're trying to come up with a name as we speak. We will be one of the big six, which is really big for Atlanta, big for our bowl and we still operate as a bowl, but ESPN owns the rights. Who they sell sponsorship to is up to ESPN. As a selection committee, we don't select any more. We're pretty much told who we have. In certain years, we'll be a playoff game and other years, as one of those six, we will be one of the BCS bowls. But we do not select on our own. All that is handled by people outside of our bowl.

HokieHaven.com: Is there a possibility to go back to the Peach Bowl?

Patberg: I would bet...well, I know, that's been talked about. But I don't know where that process is. I don't think they're even close to a resolution on that yet.


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