Although the 2010 Muck Bowl, er, Capital One Bowl, went in Penn State's favor Jan. 1 in Orlando, the game gained notoriety for the appallingly poor field conditions at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. The aesthetic component really matters to bowl games; they're supposed to look good on TV, and this one didn't.
Needless to say, Wednesday's announcement that a new playing surface will be installed at Citrus Bowl Stadium was welcome news. Installation of an AstroTurf field will begin immediately and is scheduled to be completed by September.
“Hosting a large number of events in short time windows have challenged the ability to provide optimum field conditions and paint schemes needed for national television," Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan said in a prepared statement. "With this improvement, we are very excited about our ability to provide one of the safest, most technologically-advanced playing surfaces in the industry to our customer.”
The Big Ten's new bowl lineup includes only one game, the Capital One Bowl, at Citrus Bowl Stadium. The league previously had participated in the Champs Sports Bowl there.
"This new AstroTurf field is part of the city of Orlando’s $10 million investment in phase one improvements this year at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium,” Orlando Venues executive director Allen Johnson said in a prepared statement.
I got a bit concerned when I saw the word AstroTurf, remembering the rock-hard, ligament-busting fields at places like Veterans Stadium and the Metrodome. But the selected surface is an advanced product with a cool-sounding name (GameDay Grass 3D) that performs a lot like natural grass.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and others had voiced concerns about Citrus Bowl Stadium and its viability to host a premier event like the Capital One Bowl. Let's face it: after the BCS games, the Capital One Bowl is about as good as it gets.
Now the bowl can look the part.