BONANNO: Central Florida Football Fans Lucky With Football Feast
By Chris Bonanno // January 3, 2020
Three games in six days played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: The Friday Night Locker Room’s Orville Susong, Steve Wilson and Space Coast Daily’s Chris Bonanno are were at Camping World Stadium in Orlando wrapping up Alabama Football’s 35-16 win over Michigan Football in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Football fans in Central Florida have been exceedingly lucky this week.
The eyes of the sport’s fans across the country have been drawn to Camping World Stadium as it’s held three huge games in six days.
Included in that was the Under Armour All-American Game that was played Wednesday night featuring 100 of the country’s top players.
It was more than just that, however, for fans as, in addition to seeing those with local ties such as Rockledge’s Ladarius Tennison, they also had an opportunity to check out a bevy of players that will head to state programs as the game featured five future Florida and Miami and two future Florida State signees on the field.
Of course, previous to the showcase of football’s future was a reminder of the college level’s rich tradition as arguably the three most storied programs in college football history in Notre Dame, Alabama and Michigan, participated in bowl games in the area.
ABOVE VIDEO: Alabama Football head coach Nick Saban, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (who was named Citrus Bowl MVP after catching six passes for 204 yards and a touchdown), quarterback Mac Jones (327 yards passing and three touchdowns) and safety Xavier McKinney (seven tackles and a sack) spoke after the Crimson Tide defeated Michigan 35-16 in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.
The Camping World Bowl, played on Dec. 28, allowed fans to get a rare glimpse at the “New York Yankees” of college football in Notre Dame and an upstart in Iowa State featuring one of the up-and-coming head coaches in the sport in Matt Campbell.
Fans for that game certainly shared in the excitement as the game’s attendance was the highest since Miami defeated West Virginia in 2016 in what was then called the Russell Athletic Bowl.
“We love Orlando,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly in postgame remarks. “Every time we come back here, we have a great experience.”
ABOVE VIDEO: Notre Dame Football defeated Iowa State Football 33-9 in the Camping World Bowl on Saturday in Orlando. After the game, Fighting Irish wide receiver Chase Claypool (who was the game’s MVP), defensive lineman Khalid Kareem and head coach Brian Kelly spoke about the team’s win. The Space Coast Daily–Friday Night Locker Room team is Brevard’s No. 1 Source for Sports.
If that weren’t enough for college fans, Alabama and Michigan, in what was a matchup featuring arguably the college game’s two most high-profile coaches, met in the VRBO Citrus Bowl just four days later, which was very competitive until late in the fourth quarter.
Once again, fans shared in the enthusiasm for the contest, as the attendance for the game was its highest since Florida defeated Michigan in the 2016 version of the contest.
When one factors in the Week 0 opener between Florida and Miami and the annual match-up between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman held in the stadium and the Cure Bowl held between Georgia Southern and Liberty in nearby Exploria Stadium, it’s fair to there’s been something for every football fan this year in the area.
That only figures to continue moving forward with more “kickoff” games likely in addition to the repetition of bowls.
What could be better than that?
Central Florida may not have the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff or even a New Year’s Six game. But we’ve got the next best events, really and given the recent improvements made to Camping World Stadium, it’s not impossible to think that one or more of those events could be held in Orlando in time.
The best part for fans in our area (besides the fact winter coats won’t be required here unlike most of the country) is that the football festivities aren’t over yet, with many of NFL’s best set to descend on Orlando for the league’s annual all-star game in the Pro Bowl on January 26.
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