Dear Friends of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl,
It's mid-November. Crunch time in the bowl business.
In addition to honing in on potential team selection scenarios, bowl staffs throughout the country are busy working on a myriad of details relative to this year's games. Here are a few of the things we're focusing on at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: plans for 20 bowl week events--everything from a tour of Alcatraz to a pep rally in Union Square; scheduling media interviews and press conferences; coordinating game operations at AT&T with Giants' staff--from temporary bleacher installation to parking, security, signage and field conversion issues; tying up loose ends on hotel arrangements for teams, bands, and game officials; fulfilling entitlements for game sponsors, such as program ads, PA announcements, game tickets, and media placements; approving radio copy, TV edits, and artwork for pole banners and posters with our ad agency, Baker Street Advertising; and, hopefully, selling a lot of tickets.
Along those lines, Assistant Executive Director Ryan Oppelt and Director of Communications Doug Kelly spent yesterday in Los Angeles attending the Pac-12 Conference's annual bowl operations meeting. Ryan and Doug met with football ops personnel from all the potential bowl-eligible teams in the league, reviewing our team manual and going over the game week schedule for the 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. With seven Pac-12 teams already eligible for post-season play, and another two hoping to qualify, there was a lot of table hopping going on.
Team Selection: We are now assured of a quality team on both sides of our matchup. As you know, Navy became bowl eligible with its sixth win on Nov. 3 and we immediately issued an invitation for them to play in our game. The Midshipmen are now 6-4 with remaining games against Texas State at home this Saturday and Army in Philadelphia on Dec. 8. On the other side of the equation, we have the No. 6 pick in the Pac-12. With Arizona (6-4) and Washington (6-4) both becoming bowl eligible last weekend, the conference has seven eligible teams, so we are assured of a Pac-12 representative even if two are selected for BCS bowls. Most prognosticators believe Washington or Arizona will be coming to San Francisco, and we'd be very happy with either of those teams. But there is still a lot of football to be played, and a few of the pundits have pegged Stanford or Oregon State for our bowl.
This Week: There are two matchups of national significance in the Pac-12 this week. No. 16 UCLA hosts No. 21 USC in a game that will decide the Pac-12 Southern Division championship, while unbeaten Oregon, ranked No. 1 by AP and No. 2 in the BCS, entertains No. 13 Stanford. If the Ducks win, they'll clinch the Northern Division title and perhaps impress the computers enough to jump to No. 1 in the BCS standings. In other games with post-season implications, Arizona (at Utah) and Washington (at Colorado) hope to move up in the pecking order, while Arizona State (5-5) tries to become bowl eligible at Washington State. The Utes (4-6) also still harbor bowl aspirations.
Off the field: As the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl has grown and expanded, so has our roster of game sponsors. We've previously noted our great title sponsor, Kraft Foods, and our restaurant, hotel, and ground transportation partners. We've been fortunate enough to have a number of key corporate sponsors who've been instrumental in the game's development. These include: Northern California Honda Dealers, Wells Fargo Bank, Macy's, Allstate Insurance, AT&T Yellow Pages, KGO-TV, San Francisco Travel, Applied Materials, AAA Flag & Banner and BART. Our sincere thanks to Bill Brenner of Honda and Jack Boland of Baker Street Advertising (Honda's agency), Mike Belleci, Alec Hughes and Herb Myers of Wells Fargo, Louis Meunier and Joy Deinla at Macy's, Bill Barbera at Van Wagner/Dorna (Allstate), Shiva Pakdel at Yellow Pages, Lynn Bruni and Matt Stiker at SF Travel, Todd Farber and William Patterson at KGO, Craig Furst and Ron Grant at AAA and Doug Bartlett and Rebecca Wright of BART. I'd also like to welcome the newest member of the Bowl sponsorship family, RBC Wealth Management, and thank Chuck Evans for his support.