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William Correro column

Gator Bowl attendance affected by other bowls

It was a fun couple of days in Jacksonville doing the Gator Bowl with my friends from CBS.

The attendance wasn’t as good as it had been in the past but with Florida playing just over in Orlando at the same time and Florida State on the way back from another SEC win by Kentucky in Nashville the day before, prospective seat-fillers were not as plentiful as the Gator Bowl people had hoped.

It was a good game with the exception of the Texas Tech lineman who snapped the two bones just above his ankle. I saw his foot was turned the wrong way and heard the screaming until the trainers got to him. Having been through something similar made it tough on me.

I rarely have the opportunity to get a flight out right after the game but CBS had booked me on one that left Jacksonville at 7:20 p.m. New Year’s night.

I should know to never assume almost six hours would be plenty of time to get a game in and make it to the airport. Typically it would but then you never know when a serious injury might happen or the game goes into overtime.

We were real close to overtime until Texas Tech kicked the winning field goal with only two seconds left in the game. I’d never have made it if we had gone into overtime. But all worked out okay and as I write I’m getting ready for the big one.

By the time you read this, the National Champion will be known but I’ll still talk about some of the TV procedures.

Working with the BCS is already a lot of work as I write this. I’ve been evaluating each BCS game for each TV break time, at their request.

This is the first time the BCS has assigned TV coordinators as they do officials and I will be doing that job in the National Championship Game. In all the BCS bowl games this year all TV procedures will be, sorry, were the same that we use in the SEC.

I wrote these back in 2000 and they are updated every year. I was told most of the large Bowl Division conferences use these procedures with their TV operations. Not that it’s a secret or anything; they were designed to keep relations between football officials and game operations people with TV on a professional and cooperative level.

So many old timers in the officiating world didn’t like the influence TV had on their game but looking at the SEC and the millions of dollars received from TV every year, the fact is we all need to get along. We all need each other, as it were. The schools, TV, the officials, the teams and players and the fans and supporters.

These procedures deal with everything from the meeting with the on-site Producer to the rules for when a break may be taken to the signals used on the field. TV will get three to four protected breaks every quarter.

By protected it means they have a certain amount of time to insert their commercials and we hold the game for that specified time period. And each contracted format only allows these at certain times such as after punts, scores or charged time outs.

It’s a lot to keep up with but it’s worth it since last year the SEC received over $124 million to be divided among the twelve schools. My job is simply to keep the show rolling along as smooth as glass.

We’ll talk about the BCS National Championship Game next time.