Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early buzz in Atlanta sports.
College football’s bowl games give gifts to the players on their participating teams each year, with the gifts capped at a value of $550 per player by the NCAA. Most bowls allow players to choose from a variety of gift options.
So what type of gifts will the Georgia Tech and Georgia players receive from the TaxSlayer Bowl and Liberty Bowl, respectively?
Here are the lineups, according to SportsBusiness Journal’s 11th annual compilation of the gift packages provided by bowls:
TaxSlayer Bowl (Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky, Dec. 31 in Jacksonville): Fossil watch; carry-on bag; Under Armour sunglasses; commemorative football; personalized bobblehead with player’s face, name and uniform number.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Georgia vs. TCU, Dec. 30 in Memphis): Bass Pro Shops shopping trip (to be spent during the team’s official store visit); Oculus Pro Team HD binoculars; Bulova watch; Nike athletic shoes, sport sandals, backpack and sunglasses; commemorative football.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 — a College Football Playoff semifinal game — offers this gift list for the Alabama and Washington players: $300 Vanilla Visa gift card by InComm; JBL Bluetooth speaker; Fossil watch; commemorative football.
Of course, the big prize from the Peach Bowl goes to the winner: a berth in the national championship game.
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Five sound bites we heard in the past few days that bear repeating:
1. Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, recalling the reaction of the league’s football coaches to the start of the SEC Championship game in 1992: “They were convinced … that this was the end of the SEC, that we would never have another national championship.”
2. College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock, asked whether the presence in the playoff of Ohio State — a team that didn’t win its division, let alone its conference — might erode trust in the system: “Football seasons are like snowflakes. They’re all different. Next year, we’ll be standing here talking about some other way it fell out. And that’s great.”
3. Alabama coach Nick Saban after being officially welcomed to the Peach Bowl by bowl president Gary Stokan: “We certainly appreciate it, Gary. You’ve always been the best at being the host with the most, so we look forward to it.”
4. Washington coach Chris Petersen on the Huskies’ Peach Bowl opponent: “Everybody knows about Alabama … how dominant they are. Fortunately, the Seahawks are here in town. Maybe they’ll scrimmage us to get us ready.”
5. Kramer on Atlanta replacing the Georgia Dome: “It’s hard for me to believe that you’re tearing this stadium down. Somebody asked me this morning did I ever think the Georgia Dome would go down before (Birmingham’s 89-year-old) Legion Field fell down? And I said, no, I guess I didn’t.”
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Congratulations to Hawks radio broadcaster Steve Holman, who has called every game the team has played since March 1989, on his selection for induction into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.
LEADOFF appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
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