Wednesday, December 11th, 1996
Bowl Tickets Moving Briskly
The Tech ticket office reported that about 6000 tickets to the Orange Bowl were sold through their Hokie Club and season ticket holder mail order efforts, which preceded the official opening of the ticket office Monday morning. The ticket office is busy filling orders, and as of Tuesday afternoon, they reported total sales of about 12,000 tickets.
The Orange Bowl has forwarded 15,000 tickets to the Hokies, and 3000-4000 more can be obtained easily if needed. That's one of the advantages to playing Nebraska instead of Florida - the Nebraskans won't snap up the tickets the way the nearby Gator fans would have. As an aside, it's nice that the Hokies won't have to play in front of 50,000-60,000 screaming Gator fans. The crowd should be a little more evenly balanced with a Nebraska-Tech matchup.
Although ticket sales are proceeding nicely, I don't anticipate that we'll sell anywhere near as many as the reported 30,000-35,000 tickets we sold for last year's Sugar Bowl. The reasons why are many:
In any event, tickets sales in the 15,000-20,000 range are expected, and that figure shouldn't do our well-earned fan support reputation any harm.
On the Hokie Hotline show Tuesday night, Dave Braine said that the Hokie seats are from the 30-yard line to the end zone, on the same sideline that the Buffalo Bills will occupy during their upcoming game with the Miami Dolphins this coming monday night.
This sounds like it jives with the seating reported to me by reader Mark Benzie - Secs.101-122, 201-223, 301-323, 401-417. Click here to see the Pro Players Stadium seating chart.
I finally got a chance to get out and see the Tech basketball team Monday night in their game against UNC-Greensboro. I filed a report on my basketball page, so be sure to check it out by going to my Games page and clicking on the Basketball Games Link.
The good news is, Tech won 66-50. The bad news is, the team, looks, uh ... rough. Having lost four starters from last year, the biggest problem is that they're still trying to find their chemistry. Last year, everyone's roles were so clearly defined that it wasn't even an issue, but this year, they're still trying to figure out who's supposed to do what. The defense is there, but the offense is struggling as players learn what their roles are.
I've updated my Orange Bowl links near the top of the page with some Nebraska Cornhusker links - some unofficial pages and a some newspapers are added to the list. I couldn't get logged on to my ISP to verify the links before I posted them (nothing like paying for a service you can't use), so some of them may not work or may go weird places. I'll correct them later. For now, browse and have fun!
One of the more interesting sub-plots of the game will be to see who can wear out whom first. The Huskers are renowned for wearing opponents down in the third and fourth quarters and, - what do you know! - so are the Hokies. It's going to be survival of the fittest, and the Hokies go into battle having been prepared by one of the best, strength coach Mike Gentry.
The Huskers have been installed as early two-touchdown favorites, with the spreads I've heard ranging anywhere from 14 to 17 points. Apparently, nobody thinks we can do it, as usual, and I'm sure the players will use that as motivation ... as usual.
Our $3.5 million take from the Orange Bowl is a lot of dough, and I was asked by a reader what the laws are regarding how Tech can spend that bowl money, as well as state funds and private contributions.
I called into the Hokie Hotline show and asked Dave Braine about it. Dave said that it's a state law that no state money can be spent on athletic facilities. That money must therefore come from private donations, bowl revenue, and ticket revenue. The bowl revenue, Dave said, "goes back into the program."
Other states don't necessarily have similar laws, and in fact, other states often kick in money to upgrade college facilities. A few years back, the state of New Jersey pitched in a huge amount of dollars - if memory serves me correctly, it was $35 million - for improvements to the Rutgers football stadium.
For Tech, the only rules governing the spending of non-state funds are that any plans must be "approved by the University." Tech has made the statement that the Merryman Center will be built entirely from donations, so I don't think that's a requirement that comes from the state law. It was either levied by the University, which probably chose to spend the bowl money on the Cassell Coliseum improvements and the various projects that are helping Tech meet Title IX requirements, or it's just a policy that Dave decided on himself.
The bottom line is that by making buckets of money for an Orange Bowl trip, the Hokies are assured that the Merryman Center will easily be paid for. Donations can now be funneled into the Merryman project, while the bowl money is used for capital improvements.
Since the Christmas shopping season is officially upon us, I thought I would put in another plug for Chris Colston's Hokie Handbook. This little vault of Hokie football history, tidbits, and anecdotes is a must-have for any decent Hokie fan, and it's stocking stuffer priced at $9.95. It can be ordered by calling 1-800-492-4043, and it's also available at Volume Two and the University Bookstores and selected national chains.
Many Hokie fans were justifiably irate when a plane flew over Lane Stadium during the UVa game trailing a banner that read, "Advance Auto Salutes Tiki Barber!" One caller to the Hokie Hotline last week made a statement along the lines of, "I hope we're not going to get into the habit of letting planes fly over Lane Stadium during home games with banners that support our opponents."
I was going to go off here on Hokie Central about Advance Auto, until I watched the "Virginia Tech Sports Today" TV program and noticed that Advance Auto sponsors the show. And on the Hokie Hotline show Tuesday night, Dave said that Advance donated $5,000 to a University program that pays for computers in the classrooms.
So we'll let you off the hook this time, Advance Auto, but next time, be careful, because I might just take Part #57 and kick you right in Part #23 if you do that again.