The Fifth Down

Sugar Bowl well prepared for national championship game

Allstate Sugar Bowl staff members moved back into their Louisiana Superdome Offices in the middle of September and also shared their two-bowl hosting plans for this coming January.

From the perspective of FWAA officers and staff, the bowl appears to have fully recovered from the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which forced the bowl to move its 2006 game to Atlanta.

The 2007 Allstate Sugar Bowl Game was played at the Louisiana Superdome between LSU and Notre Dame. But this coming January will be the first time the bowl will under go the double-hosting format the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 and then the Allstate BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7.

One of the major differences will be the change of the press hotel, which actually went into effect last season for the Allstate Sugar Bowl game. The Hyatt, which was in close proximity to the Louisiana Superdome, has never re-opened because of damage from Katrina. The new main press hotel is the Marriott Convention Center, with press spillovers to nearby Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Springhill Suites. The Allstate Sugar Bowl has secured nearly 300 rooms at the main Marriott and a total of about 150 at the other two hotels for the news media.

In this issue of The Fifth Down:
President's column: Gundy out of bounds
Sugar Bowl well prepared
Sugar Bowl names Lewis director of communications
Chappin chosen Rose Bowl media director
All major pregame press conferences will be held at the Marriott Convention Center, except Media Day, when all players will be available at the Superdome. The Louisiana Superdome is about a 10-15 minute bus ride from the press hotels. There also will be a media work room at the main press hotel, which was relatively unscathed by Katrina and is actually much newer than the Hyatt.

The FWAA Awards Breakfast on the day of the game and the earlier FWAA Board Meeting will be held at the press hotel, which also will have security check points into the media interview and hospitality areas and work room.

The Louisiana Superdome has had a stunning makeover from the images everyone saw during the Katrina evacuation. In the largest stadium rebuilding project in history, approximately $193 million already has been pumped into the building in a myriad of structural areas and in amenities as well as in sound and video systems. In many respects, the Louisiana Superdome is in better shape than it has been in years.

The news media will have wireless Internet access and backups in the press box area, which was largely unaffected by the occupation of the dome in the days after Katrina.

Charles Bloom of the Southeastern Conference and BCS administrator Bill Hancock, in conjunction with Allstate Sugar Bowl staff of Chief Executive Officer Paul Hoolahan, President Ray Jeandron, Director of Communications Duane Lewis and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Hundley all have done an excellent job in preparing for the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.

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