The timing could be right for Nashville to land a college football national championship game if the proposed Tennessee Titans stadium is built by 2026.
The $2.1 billion enclosed stadium would greatly increase the chances for Nashville, according to TransPerfect Music City Bowl president and CEO Scott Ramsey, who plans to bid on the national championship game when the next bid cycle opens.
The national championship game is already set for the next four seasons.
Ramsey, who also serves as president and CEO of the Nashville Sports Council, already planned to bid on an early-round College Football Playoff game for Nissan Stadium after expansion from four to eight games was announced in 2021.
Ramsey set his sights higher when the Titans and Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced on Oct. 17 details of the deal to build the new stadium, which would meet the baseline criteria for the national championship game.
“I certainly think (the NCAA) will continue to bid out the national championship and right now they’re not going to come to a Mid-South, open-air, natural grass facility in mid-January (like Nissan Stadium),” Ramsey said. “They just don’t want the national championship game to be dictated by inclement weather, which I understand.”
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The proposed 1.7-million-square-foot stadium, which would be located next to Nissan Stadium, would be a game-changer. It would have an artificial turf playing surface and translucent stationary roof. The plan will require approval from Nashville’s 40-member Metro Council.
Ramsey publicly endorsed the building of the stadium last week.
The next available national championship game site is for after the 2026 season, currently scheduled for Jan. 11, 2027, just after the new Titans stadium could be completed if ground is broken in 2023 as proposed.
The next four national championship games will be at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles at the end of this season, NRG Stadium in Houston in 2024, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in 2025 and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami in 2026.
“It will line up pretty well for us for 2026 and beyond,” Ramsey said. “Certainly that’s something we’re starting to really gear up and position for so we’re ready when they open that bid process up and pursue it pretty aggressively.”
Music City Bowl needs volunteers
Speaking of the Music City Bowl, volunteer opportunities are now open for this year’s game.
The opportunities are available throughout bowl week (Dec. 28-31) including special events, media credential distribution, youth football champions ceremony and more.
The game will be played on Dec. 31 at 11 a.m. at Nissan Stadium. Volunteer opportunities take place at Nissan Stadium and other locations.
For questions contact volunteer manager Joseph Donaldson at JDonaldson@NashvilleSports.com or visit bit.ly/3zvBBtP.
World Series tanking on local TV
The World Series is not drawing many television viewers in the Nashville market.
The first two games in the series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros earned an average rating of just 3.65, the equivalent to 42,650 Nashville households, according to WTVF-5 senior programing director Mark Binda.
The first game, won by the Phillies 6-5 last Friday, earned a 4.0 rating and the second won by the Astros 5-2 on Saturday earned a 3.3.
That made the first game the eighth most-watched sports event for the week in Nashville and the second the 11th most-watched.
The most-watched was the Titans-Houston Texans game Sunday, which earned a 21.4 rating (251,228 households) and second was the UT win over Kentucky Saturday, which earned a 14.3 (167,096 households).
Hank Hutcheson joins father at Lipscomb
Hank Hutchesonthe son of Lipscomb athletics director Philip Hutchesonhas transferred from Trevecca and will play his junior season at Lipscomb.
Hank is a 6-foot-6, forward, who started in three games and played in a total of 16 over the last two seasons at Trevecca.
One of the games he played in was against Lipscomb when he was a freshman.
Hank played at Lipscomb Academy where he averaged 14.5 points and 4.5 rebounds as a senior.
Belmont men’s and women’s basketball teams ranked in Mid Major Top 25
The Belmont women’s basketball team is ranked No. 9 and the men’s team is No. 21 in the Mid Major Top 25 by collegeinsider.com released on Monday.
The women’s team is coming off a 23-8 season, which included a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It also received votes in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll.
The men’s team went 25-8 and played in the NIT last season.
Belmont is moving this season from the Ohio Valley Conference to the Missouri Valley. The women open the season Nov. 9 at home against Chattanooga and the men open Nov. 7 at home against Ohio.
Tennessee Tech also received votes in the women’s poll and Lipscomb received votes in the men’s poll.
XFL has ties with local coaches
The official reveal for the XFL teams and mascots came Monday. Eight teams are set to play their first season in 2023.
The are some local connections on two of the staffs.
The Washington D.C. Defenders coach Reggie Barlow has the most individuals with local ties on his staff.
They include defensive coordinator Gregg Williamswho served as the Titans defensive coordinator from 1997-2000 and returned in 2013, and offensive coordinator Fred Kaisswho spent two stints at TSU from 1997-99 and 2006-10.
The Defenders quarterbacks coach is former TSU quarterback Shannon Harriswho was on the Tigers staff from 2002-09, was an intern for the Titans from 2014-15 and returned to TSU from 2018-20, and the offensive line coach is Russ Ehrenfeldwho spent three stints at TSU and two at Austin Peay.
The Vegas Vipers coach is Rod Woodson and the director of player of personnel is for former Tennessee Vols wide receiver Joey Clinkscales.
Brentwood Academy’s Mensi Stiff named All American
Brentwood Academy’s Mensi Stiff was named to the Track & Field News 2022 All American team.
Stiff, an Ole Miss commitment, made the team as a shot put and discus thrower. She is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in the shot put and fourth in the discus.
Stiff was the Gatorade Tennessee girls track and field athlete of the year as junior.
Belmont baseball schedule includes UT, Vandy, MTSU, Lipscomb
Belmont released its 2023 baseball schedule, which has some interesting matchups before the Bruins begin their first season in the Missouri Valley Conference.
After opening the season Feb. 17 at home with a four-game series against former OVC foe UT Martin, Belmont’s slate includes a three-game series at NC State (Feb. 24-26), then games at MTSU (Feb. 28) and Lipscomb (March 8) followed by a game against Vanderbilt at First Horizon Park (March 14).
Belmont opens the MVC season at home with a three-game series against Illinois State (March 24-26).
The Bruins have other non-conference home games against Tennessee Tech (April 4), MTSU (April 25) and Lipscomb (May 9) then play at Tennessee (May 16).
Nasse wins All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
Stephen Nasse went from fifth to first after the top three crashed in the 38th annual All American 400 then held off Luke Fenhaus on the final lap to win the race at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway
The All American 400 serves annually as the final race of the season at the track.
Fenhaus was disqualified in the post-race inspection, moving Gio Ruggiero to second, Kyle Crump to third, Casey Johnson to fourth and Derek Thorn to fifth. Defending champion Matt Craig was ninth in the 40-car field.
Nasse, 27, a native of Pinellas Park, Florida, overcame several equipment issues, including a broken axel in practice, to claim his third straight win. He won the Southern Super Series finale at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, on Sept. 24 and the Winchester 400 at the Winchester (Indiana) Speedway on Oct. 16.
Along with Craig, Dylan Fetcho from Gladeville and Conner Jones, Gabe Sommer and Michael House from Columbia rounded out the top 10.
In other races:
- Jake Bollman won the final pro late models points series race of the season on Friday. Chase Johnson was second and Fetcho was third. It was Bollman’s first win in the 10-race season. He took the lead on lap 98 of the 100-lap race when the leaders, Jackson Boone and Cole Williamsran into each other coming off the corner. With the third-place finish, Fetcho claimed the pro late model series championship.
- Brett Hudson won the CRA street stocks race, and Kyle Stark won the Vores Compact Touring Series race.
TSU’s Lacey will play in the HBCU Pigskin Showdown
Tennessee State offensive lineman Robert Lacey accepted an invitation to play in the HBCU Pigskin Showdown.
The game will be played on Dec. 17 at the Marion Military Institute in Alabama.
Lacey, a 6-foot-4, 340 pound senior from Mobile, Alabama, is on the Preseason All-OVC team and the Senior Bowl watch list.
He played his first two seasons at Hutchinson Community College.
If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.