The fifth year of the Cure Bowl postseason college football game will mark the first time that it’s played at a new venue. The postseason contest that has been staged previously at Camping World stadium near downtown Orlando since 2015, is on the move to the new Orlando City Stadium, home of the MLS franchise.
Orlando Sentinel reporter Matt Murschel had details on the move Wednesday afternoon:
Updated our story on Orlando City Stadium to host the Cure Bowl to include reaction and details.
One interesting note, the standing supporter area will remain for bowl game with officials hoping Iron Lion Firm and The Ruckus groups show up for support.https://t.co/wKZmCTnKQ9 pic.twitter.com/m51n23lFbz
— Matt Murschel (@osmattmurschel) May 1, 2019
As me Murschel wrote, the game has never drawn more than 20,000 fans in the four match-ups at Camping World Stadium, while the Orlando City venue has a seating capacity of just over 25,000.
He further got comment from Alan Gooch, the executive director of the Cure Bowl, about the decision:
“This stadium makes sense for us and our mission to bring teams together to find a way to beat cancer,” said Gooch. “The optics are going to be great. The sound is going to be great. We’re going to be the first college American football game to play in this venue.
“Our second game in the Cure Bowl was with UCF and Arkansas State and it would have been a sell out in this stadium and that’s what every event operator wants is the opportunity to have a sellout at your event.”
The Cure Bowl, which is raised over $3.5 million for breast cancer research, since the games debut has traditionally involved a representative from the American Athletic Conference in two of the last three years.
The game last year saw Tulane (above) wiped out Louisiana – Lafayette 41-24 in a game was played before an announced crowd of 19,000. UCF also played in the bowl game in December of 2016, where they lost to Arkansas State out of the Sun Belt.
As we wrote yesterday in adding a new bowl game in 2020 at Fenway Park in Boston, the Cure Bowl is one of seven games that the AAC is tied into, now. Camping World stadium will still host the December bowl game of it’s sponsor namesake, and the traditional New Year’s Day Citrus Bowl, as well.
The Cure bowl game hopes to capture the intimacy of the smaller stadium to create a louder environment and has agreed to a four-year deal with Orlando City to host the event.
Ole Miss hires Lane Kiffin after FAU title game win
It didn’t take long after FAU’s rout of UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game for the “Lane Train” to depart Boca Raton for Mississippi.
Shortly after the post game festivities were done on the field at FAU Stadium, Ole Miss made official what had been reported Friday night that Kiffin is their new head coach:
OFFICIAL | @Lane_Kiffin named head football coach at Ole Miss
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 7, 2019
First, Kiffin’s Owls had little to no trouble with UAB, as they broke out to a 35 – 6 halftime lead and never looked back. Sophomore quarterback Chris Robison threw three touchdown passes and FAU also blocked a punt, scooped it up and ran it in for another touchdown, as they built the large halftime advantage.
UAB did not muster a hundred yards of offense until the fourth quarter of the game and by then, the issue was settled. It’s the Owls second Conference USA title win in three seasons under Kiffin.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” Carter said. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss Football to a championship level.”
Kiffin returns to the SEC, where he was formerly the offensive coordinator from 2014 – 16 at Alabama under Nick Saban. He also was the University of Tennessee head coach for the 2009 season going 7 – 6. Kiffin left the Vols controversially after just one year to coach at Southern Cal from 2010 – 13. He was fired in the middle of his fourth season with the Trojans.
As we wrote Friday night, a report in Mississippi surfaced that Ole Miss officials had been in Boca Raton to meet with Kiffin on Thursday night and offered him the job. That obviously turned out to be correct.
Ole Miss is looking to rebuild quickly and an attempt to challenge Alabama, LSU and Auburn. The Rebels went just 4 – 8 this past season firing former player and assistant, Matt Luke at the end of the year.
KIffin leads FAU in Championship Game- in final game?
There is only one game involving an FBS team in the State of Florida on Saturday and there’s as much drama behind the scenes as there will be on the field in Boca Raton. This for Florida Atlantic’s bid to win another Conference Championship Game.
The Owls and Coach Lane Kiffin get set to host UAB, are going for the Conference USA Championship for the second time in three years.
However, the bigger story is one that broke on Friday night that Kiffin, the former head coach at USC and Tennessee before coming to South Florida, is apparently headed back to the SEC to coach Ole Miss.
As we wrote last night, the deal is apparently all but done to bring Kiffin to Oxford, MS. That’s where he will coach in the SEC West, including against Nick Saban and Alabama. Kiffin recently the offensive coordinator at Bama from 2014 – 2016, including helping them win the College Football Playoff Title Game in January 2016.
Back to the game on the field Sunday afternoon. The Owls qualified to host the Title game last Saturday by beating Southern Miss 34 – 17. They are led by quarterback Chris Robinson and outstanding tight end, Harrison Bryant. Bryant had two touchdown catches in the first half of the game last week and is FAU’s best weapon in the air.
UAB is a great story in their own right, as they are the defending C-USA champions and qualified for the title game by upsetting North Texas last Saturday. The Blazers overcame their program being defunded by the state of Alabama’s Board of Regents in 2014. With football dormant for 2 years, coach Bill Clark resurrected it and they resumed playing with new players in 2017.
UAB , won the Conference USA title a year ago on the road at Middle Tennessee State and had the first-ever 10-win season in program history.
The Blazers look to run the football between the tackles with bruising back Spencer Brown. He’s a mid-round NFL prospect and had a hundred yards in their win over North Texas. Brown has 11- 100 yard games in his career and wants to help them grind the clock.
Again, this game does not have the impact of the SEC, Big 12 or Big 10 title games on Saturday, which are vying for the College Football Playoff. But, it still should be exciting and the post-game press conference with Kiffin about his possible new job in the SEC will be “must see,” as well.