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Nashville group wants high-profile college kickoff game

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey AP

In a matter of time, college football could be adding one more neutral site game to the early season line-up. A group in Nashville is beginning to make a push to add a game in Nashville, Tennessee that would ideally feature one SEC team clashing with a relatively high-profile opponent.

“Music City Sports and Entertainment Group has been working on a significant college football event for Nashville, and we are about 60-90 days from making an announcement,” said Tammy Genovese, CEO of MCSEG according to a report by The Tennessean. The Music City Sports and Entertainment Group is targeting hosting a game in LP Field, the home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. LP Field has a stadium capacity of  69,143 and 177 executive suites. The idea of the game would be to mimic the Chick-fil-A Kickoff that is played in Atlanta, with the hopes of becoming as successful and attractive for an early season neutral site game. As The Tennessean reports, Atlanta has seen $44.3 million injected in to the local economy since the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic launched in 2008. The earliest season a neutral site game in Nashville could likely be played is in 2016, so there is time to find a pair of schools willing to play a neutral site game at the expense of potentially losing a home game and for the financial details to be sorted. Concerns over the state’s occupational privilege tax on athletes are some of the issues standing in the way at this time.

Nashville currently is the host city for the Music City Bowl, which has conference tie-ins with the ACC and SEC. The bowl game has been played in Vanderbilt Stadium and is currently played in LP Field. LP Field also is the home stadium for FCS Tennessee State, so the Tigers would have to be on the road or serving a bye week. The Tennessee State schedule is far down the list of potential obstacles though.

Need a somewhat buzz worthy match-up? How about home-town Vanderbilt going up against former head coach James Franklin and Penn State? Penn State actually has a full non-conference schedule with games against Kent State and Temple scheduled at home and a road game at Pittsburgh, so it would be unlikely the Nittany Lions would have any interest in a Franklin Bowl in 2016 away from home. Vanderbilt also has three non-conference games already scheduled in 2016 with road games at Georgia Tech and Western Kentucky and a home date against Middle Tennessee. Vanderbilt may be more open to moving a home game to LP Field, and Middle Tennessee would bring in some more local interest but this is not quite the caliber of game the Nashville group may be hoping for.

Tennessee is out of the picture. The Vols will be kicking off with Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016. Alabama will be playing neutral site games in 2014 (vs. West Virginia in Atlanta) and 2015 (vs. Wisconsin in Arlington, Texas). LSU will face Wisconsin in Green Bay in 2016. Texas A&M will play Arizona State in Houston in 2015.

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13 Responses to “Nashville group wants high-profile college kickoff game”
  1. 8to80texansblog says: Mar 26, 2014 11:56 AM

    How about home-town Vanderbilt going up against former heard coach James Franklin and Penn State

    I didn’t know Franklin coached at Marshall?

  2. imaduffer says: Mar 26, 2014 12:47 PM

    I have an idea how to boost our local economy. We will just hire a bunch of college football players to play a game of football but we won’t pay them.

  3. normtide says: Mar 26, 2014 1:03 PM

    Here is my issue. Most neutral sight games are held in recruiting hot beds, Georgia and Texas notably. That’s why teams love to play in them. Exposure to top recruits. Tennessee doesn’t produce many top tier recruits. You would only give up a home game, or home and home series, if you can get an advantage from it in other ways (recruiting). For that reason, I don’t see this really taking off with elite programs.

  4. titansbro says: Mar 26, 2014 1:10 PM

    Tennessee produces plenty of top recruits dude. Maybe not quite as many as Georgia but not that far off. It’s not like GA is anywhere close to what Texas, Florida, & California produces either so why are you cool with GA over those states?

  5. normtide says: Mar 26, 2014 2:52 PM

    It’s pretty will known that UT can’t base it’s recruiting in state. Memphis is the only decent recruiting ground, but it’s dangerous to recruit there. It’s sanctions waiting to happen. Georgia is just behind Texas, Florida, and California. It isn’t a knock on the state. I live just across the state line from Tennessee and love the state. But facts are facts. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are far better for recruiting with a smaller population.

    Nashville is an awesome city too. But, you lose money playing a neutral sight game, compared to a home game / home and home series. Georgia and Texas makes it up in exposure to top recruits. The one thing Nashville brings is a pro stadium. That is a plus for players. But, other than that, why not schedule a home and home between two big teams and keep the money? You get national television either way. I just don’t see the advantage to a neutral game in Nashville, unless either UT or Vandy is involved.

  6. musketmaniac says: Mar 26, 2014 8:47 PM

    wvu and bama in Atlanta, I would imagine Bama needs no help recruiting Atlanta. On the other hand, Pac man jones was an Atlanta recruit. Maybe wvu should worry about the game and not bring future paroles back to Morgantown

  7. houndofthebaskervols says: Mar 26, 2014 10:32 PM

    Norm you are just flat out wrong about the lack of talent in the state, particularly the Nashville area.

    The 2014 signing class represents 9 highly rated players from Middle Tennessee, including two 5 stars in Jalen Hurd and Josh Malone. The lone 2 star is considered the best kicker in the country by ESPN so there is a LOT of talent in Middle.

    Bleacher Report just published an article about the top states for HS talent and guess what…..Alabama was #9, Tennessee was #10, so don’t give me this tired old crap about there not being any talent in the state, thats nothing but an excuse Fulmer supporters used to justify his terrible performance.

    Lets look at where other “Kickoff” games have been located. 1) Meadowlands Now who the hell wants to go to New Jersey for an opener, well I did for the UT/Iowa game and was rewarded with one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen. 2) Atlanta You have to be insane to go to a ball game at the Georgia Dome. Period case closed its the worst sporting venue on the planet.

    Nashville makes much more sense, and I guarantee the fans attending will have a much better time.

  8. normtide says: Mar 26, 2014 11:53 PM

    Isn’t BR a site where fans write articles? I know it was at one time.

    I’m not saying Tennessee is a tar pit. But, read actual articles by recruiting reporters. The state doesn’t put out the recruits like some of its neighbors. Especially considering its population compared to Alabama and Mississippi. Not saying there are no recruits.

    Now you tell me, why do programs agree to neutral sight games? If it’s a big game, it gets on tv regardless where it’s played. Every coach I’ve heard comment on it says it’s for recruiting. As for atmosphere, it doesn’t get better than on campus stadiums. Money? It doesn’t pay near what a home game does.

    The advantages are: a pro stadium and maybe two programs that want to meet but not commit to two games (home and home).

    I love Nashville, I’ve spent as lot of time there and will in the future. But, I only see this game working if UT or Vandy is involved. And then it will be more like when Arkansas plays their home games in Little Rock or back when Bama played some home games in Birmingham. I just don’t see a USC v OSU type game being played here. What would either team have to gain? I predict more of a UK v Wake type event.

  9. cajunirish says: Mar 27, 2014 1:01 PM

    How bout A&M and ND square off. ND loves neutral sites and A&M wouldn’t be hurt by it too badly.

  10. houndofthebaskervols says: Mar 27, 2014 4:23 PM

    Norm, you are about 3 years behind the times on Bleacher Report. And their article on recruiting states is tied to 247 rankings.

    And these games are “for recruiting” because they are spotlight games usually between two solid opponents. It has nothing to do with the location. I repeat, the Kickoff Classic in New Jersey was wildly successful for years, participation had ZERO to do with recruiting.

    And NO, it wont need UT or Vandy to be successful. You need to go up a hat size or two, the one you’re wearing has cut off the circulation to your brain.

  11. houndofthebaskervols says: Mar 27, 2014 4:31 PM

    For 2015

    Nine 4*’s out of the Nashville area
    Fifteen 3*’s in the same area

    This doesnt include East or West Tennessee. Seriously I dont know how anybody gets the idea there’s no talent up there.

  12. normtide says: Mar 27, 2014 5:27 PM

    Ok, went to BR, here is the page I found.

    Tennessee wasn’t top ten. Alabama was top 7 I think. We get the info in Tennessee from ever recruiting report I’ve read. Every story about UT hiring a coach. Don’t get so hurt, I doubt a kick off game would work either. It doesn’t make me cry, it’s just a fact.

    The New Jersey game has been gone for over a decade, right? If you’re right and location doesn’t matter, why not just play a big home game? You still haven’t told me what the point on neutral sight games are, if not local recruiting. Vandy can’t fill a stadium in Nashville, probably only UT can.

    All I’ve heard from you are weak cut downs, no facts. Maybe try actually making a case for your point. Or explain why only people from Tennessee think this is a good idea. Bottom line, most would prefer their team play at home over a neutral sight game in Nashville. Atlanta or Texas is worth it, Nashville isn’t. On Mar 27, 2014 3:31 PM, “CollegeFootballTalk” wrote:

    > houndofthebaskervols commented: “For 2015 Nine 4*’s out of the > Nashville area Fifteen 3*’s in the same area This doesnt include East or > West Tennessee. Seriously I dont know how anybody gets the idea there’s no > talent up there.”

  13. normtide says: Mar 27, 2014 5:30 PM

    Btw, New Jersey was #10 on that list. Still a better sight for this type game than Tennessee On Mar 27, 2014 3:31 PM, “CollegeFootballTalk” wrote:

    > houndofthebaskervols commented: “For 2015 Nine 4*’s out of the > Nashville area Fifteen 3*’s in the same area This doesnt include East or > West Tennessee. Seriously I dont know how anybody gets the idea there’s no > talent up there.”

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