Why College Football Teams With A National Brand Would Play In A Nashville Kickoff Classic

As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog on why the Nashville Sports Council should can the Music City Bowl and invest those resources into a Kickoff Classic, I think it would be a good idea to discuss realistic teams that would be willing to play in a Kickoff Classic game in Nashville and why.

Remember in Field of Dreams where this inner-voice kept pestering Kevin Costner with whispers of, “If you build it, they will come”? Today it would probably be a few text-bombs to his iPhone and a barage of Candy Crush Saga requests on Facebook, but luckily this movie was made before smart phones and Facebook. Anyway, I’m hoping this blog will become a tiny voice of diaglogue in Scott Ramsey’s head — [throaty whisper] “If you woo the right teams to play in a Kickoff Classic, they will crawl on hands and knees to get here.”

That’s much less catchy than the Field of Dreams line that spawned the greatest commercial parody of all time — Dave Thomas of Wendy’s heard his own voice tell him, “If you make it, they will eat it.”

We are two-for-two in building it and making it. Costner built it and they came. Thomas made it and they ate it. It’s time Scott Ramsey makes it three-for-three and woos ‘em and I can almost guarantee they will come-a-crawlin’.

Here’s how:

1. Take advantage of being the Gateway to the Deep South. No, Nashville is not the Deep South. Yes, we are in the South, but it’s a different South. It’s not Ohio south (Kentucky). It’s real deal South. Just not Deep South. You follow? Good.

The Deep South’s recruiting soil is extremely rich and fertile (race code word warning). Being the Gateway to the Deep South — Gateway to the Heart of the SEC — has advantages. Maybe Alabama or LSU would not want to play in a Nashville version of a Kickoff Classic, but I’m almost certain that the Big 12 or Big Ten would have teams that would crawl to a place like Nashville in hopes of releasing the stranglehold the SEC has on the fertile recruiting ground known as the Southeast. I’m not talking about the Iowa States and Iowas of the Big 12 and Big Ten either. I’m talking about national brand names.

2. One of the best matchups that could happen if sold to the university athletics director and conference commissioner correctly is Texas vs. Michigan. Why would those two come to Nashville, you say? Why not?



Do you not think Texas would love nothing more than to get into the land of the SEC and see what A&M is all giddy about? The Longhorns won’t admit it, but they are quickly becoming (if not already) second page news to Manziel and the Aggies. Everyone thought A&M would take a small piece of the national spotlight Texas commands, but no one thought they would rip it from them this quickly. Texas doesn’t neccessarily need to recruit the Deep South, but they are fighting a unique battle that no other team with their national cache is fighting. They don’t need to go into the Deep South to win recruiting like most team, they just need to win the state of Texas. Now the SEC is attacking the state of Texas because of the SEC’s presence in the large markets of Texas now that A&M is an instant SEC and national success. Texas has to protect its own house while teams like Michigan need to find a way to attack the home of the SEC’s Deep South.




Michigan is a Big Ten team that really is battling two forces — Ohio State and the SEC. Why would the Wolverines not want to hang out for a weekend in the Gateway to the Deep South? The state of Tennessee is slowly becoming a little more fertile than it once was in the past. It’s not an Alabama, Georgia or Florida and never will be, but it’s on the map. There are enough players in the area that could make a difference for a team north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  That doesn’t put the Big Ten ahead of the SEC in one year, but it could possibly put a team like Michican ahead of a hated rival and perennial Big Ten champion like Ohio State. Once you become dominant in your conference, you can dominate the nation.

Once a conference has one team that begins to dominate, other teams within that conference begin to play catch-up, thus, strengthening the conference as a whole (See the SEC since Les Miles and Nick Saban have arrived at latest schools).

In addition to the above, once you build a pipeline in a state like Tennessee, you can begin to work on the eight states that border it. Tennessee is such an underrated territory because no other state in our great country is bordered by as many states as the Volunteer state. A gateway state.

Again, we can ask, “Why?” all day long, but when our great city says, “Why not?” we do great things (See Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators, NCAA Women’s Final Four, Music City Bowl).

Maybe the Field of Dreams whispering voice in the Scott Ramsey’s head should be, “Say, ‘Why not.’  Great things will come.”


Leave a Comment