Different kind of bowl game
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 01:11
Now in its first season, the inaugural Brazos Valley Bowl will feature a high-profile junior college football matchup at noon Saturday in Kyle Field — granting A&M and Blinn students an additional football experience in one of the country’s most renowned venues.
A matchup designed as an economic community boost and platform for junior college football exposure, the Brazos Valley Bowl delivers an unprecedented stage for post-season play. Kyle Field, with an official capacity of 82,600, will now be the largest venue to host a junior college post-season event.
Hunter Goodwin, a former Texas A&M football player and chairman of the junior college bowl selection committee, said he and Ted Raspiller, president of Blinn College Brazos County, conceived the idea to bolster the local economy and increase the profile of junior college football.
“We kind of brainstormed the idea one day,” Goodwin said. “I’m always looking for ways to promote tourism and [Raspiller] was looking for a way to promote the junior college experience. Raspiller asked, ‘Hey, there are bowl games that traditionally happen at the end of November and I think we could pull one off, what are your thoughts?’ That brainstorming moment morphed into this event.”
The bowl game, pitting the No. 11 and native-Texan Kilgore Rangers against No. 13 Northwest Mississippi, presents a matchup filled with prospective FBS talent. The halftime performance, also of note, features the famous Kilgore Rangerettes among other dance squads — a treat typically reserved exclusively for the Cotton Bowl at Cowboy Stadium.
Gabe Bock, the game’s play-by-play announcer and host of the locally popular TexAgs Radio Show, said there are many reasons for A&M students to attend despite a lack of affiliation to either school.
“If you’re going out there and you’re thinking, ‘Ok, this isn’t A&M,’ there are lots of reasons to go out there,” Bock said. “It’s a good thing for family because you’ve got the Rangerettes, one of the most well-known spirit groups out there. It’s a chance to watch football one last time at Kyle Field and there’s a lot of football talent.”
The experience is also easy on the wallet. Students with a college ID enter free of charge, as do attendees of ages 18 and under. The charge for non-students over 18 is $5 and tickets are available for purchase.
Additionally, the event gives the two junior colleges a final huzzah after the conclusion of the regular season. The opportunity extends exposure for programs with players often aiming to play at the highest collegiate level.
“I think it’s great,” Bock said. “It’s great for the two teams selected by Hunter Goodwin and the selection committee. I think it’s great for them because, otherwise, they wouldn’t have any more football. It’s a chance for them to gear up for one more game.”