Aloha To The Palmetto Bowl

This past week, the fine Mayor of Columbia sought out the former Aloha Bowl to make its Christmas Day home in South Carolina. The debate touched off several lively discussions before USC coach Lou Holtz and Athletic Director Mike McGee squelched the idea before it ever really got off the ground. The two felt that it would have an adverse effect on recruiting and the Gamecocks did not seem too interested in sharing their practice facilities with the two teams that were invited.

Once again, the University of South Carolina has spit out another opportunity to bolster the city, and States' image by refusing to accommodate anything other than the University itself. Anybody remember The Rolling Stones Concert in 1990 and the Carolina Panthers first year franchise...both of which were moved to Clemson because the University of South Carolina did not want to be inconvenienced by either?

So, taking a cue from the past slip ups by USC, I say Clemson University steps up and offers to host the Aloha Bowl and prove once again how short sighted our friends in Columbia are. So, give me the opportunity to answer some of the critics of the Palmetto Bowl coming to our fine state.

Columbia vs. Clemson
Hey, I lived in Columbia and even I think the city lacks any enjoyable features. Unless you want to go to Riverbanks Zoo or visit the State Fair, Columbia holds no redeeming value other than South Carolina football weekends. Five Points is cool, but the students will be on their Christmas break. If you have ever been to Five Points when students are not it town, you know you were the only one down there minus the employees of the restaurants and bars. Now, Clemson is not much more attractive. There is a lake, but in December that is not my idea of fun. Macs Drive In is super, but you can only cram about 20 people in the joint. But, Greenville has a nice atmosphere and the ride is short enough that the teams could commute back and forth with little trouble. Make sure the Bi-Lo Center books a good concert during the time the teams are in town, and you are on your way.

But, in all honesty, neither city is a bowl city. Nice for raising families...bad for entertaining the masses.

Christmas Day
Ok, this is a pretty big hang up. Who wants to work on Christmas day at the stadium and at local restaurants? People who need the money, that's who. Merchants are not going to pass on making a buck or two off the estimated 20,000 fans that would attend the game. That many people in a small town like Clemson would be an economic boon. Some employees would not mind the time and a half pay they would get by working the game. I am sure you would find enough people willing to work on Christmas Day to open enough establishments to avoid being a ghost town. And, if you don't want to work on Christmas Day, you should not be forced to. Let's keep everything voluntary, please.

The Teams
Yes, the teams that play in the bowl will be pretty bad and probably both have a 6-5 record. Why should that stop us? Clemson fans travel to Littlejohn Coliseum to watch bad basketball teams all the time. Would there be a ton of local interest in the game? No. But, the game will have interest to the fans of the two teams and the millions of viewers on television that are looking for some football after their Christmas dinner.

The Inconvenience
This one, I don't get. USC says it would burden their bowl preparation to host a bowl game in Columbia. This, coming from a team that goes to bowl games about once every 10 years. Clemson has enough grass fields where intramurals are played to accommodate two additional teams preparing for a bowl game. Besides, when Clemson goes to a bowl game, much of the preparation leading up to the game is done in the city where the Tigers are bowling. Does not seem too much of an inconvenience to me.

The Reality
Look, Clemson or Columbia are no more suited for a bowl game than Myrtle Beach is for a hurricane evacuation. Are Shreveport and Mobile better suited for a bowl game than a major city in South Carolina? Are we second class to those horrible cities? Say it ain't so.

If a bowl is stupid enough to want to come to South Carolina, even on Christmas Day, we should be bending over backwards to accommodate them. With all the hub bub about the Confederate Flag and the NAACP boycott of the State, it sure would be nice to get some good publicity.

Would I go to the game? No way. But, I would be watching with my belt undone after Christmas dinner. Me, along with millions of other football fans who just can't get enough football. It is the only show in town, and more people would be hearing the words "South Carolina" that at any time in the history of this fine state. The positive attention...and thousands of dollars the game would bring to our state is worth the trouble.

Shame on McGee and Holtz for being so self-serving. Come on Bobby Robinson, save the Aloha bowl by hosting it in our fine state in the greatest town for college football that I know of.

Aloha to the Aloha Bowl. That means "Hello", or "Goodbye"...depending on your point of view.

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