Competing For The Belt
Players Serious About Competing in Light-hearted Battle for Bowl Week Belt
Competition is king at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, even when there’s no football involved.
The desire to come out on top – and earn some early bragging rights — was on display in the annual Battle For Bowl Week, a competition that offers a fun opportunity for representatives from both teams to compete away from the field.
And it is competition.
Players and staff members from Oklahoma and LSU this week will participate in three competitions –a game show, go-cart racing and basketball — with the winner earning a WWE-style wrestling belt. But, based on the intensity of the players, the prize didn’t really matter. It was all about winning.
“That’s the way I thought it would go,” said LSU safety Grant Delpit. “It’s just the competitive nature that we all have. Everybody wants to win everything.”
LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson said, “It can be musical chairs and everybody wants to win, regardless of the situation. It’s a good thing to have.”
The atmosphere inside the College Football Hall of Fame’s Peach Bowl Field was electric for the first round on Monday, a Family Feud-type game rebranded as Football Feud. The large overhead video screen kept track of the answers and the score. On the stage the emcee – wearing a bright red sports jacket that must have come from the Nick Saban Spring Collection – kept things moving at a rapid pace and encouraged the audience to remain involved.
LSU got off to a huge lead in the game, but had its momentum crash to a halt when guard Damien Lewis got nervous and gave an unpopular answer to the question, “Name a type of chocolate candy bar.” His response was “Mr. Goodbar.” The Oklahoma players hooted in laughter and even the LSU players were jumping out of their chairs and throwing their hands up in disbelief. Given new life, Oklahoma won the round and won the game. Lewis was still hearing about it from his teammates on the way to the shuttle bus back to the hotel.
Chaisson said with a smile, “We were teasing him. We’re going to keep teasing him … tomorrow and the day after and the day after. We aren’t going to get over it.”
LSU linebacker Patrick Queen said, “I don’t like losing and my teammates don’t like losing anything. So, everything we do, we take seriously … this game, practice … it’s our competitive nature to be the best we can be.”
Football Feud was a lighthearted way to start the week. Unlike most bowl games, which feature a lot of down time and events, this year’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is different because it’s a semifinal for the College Football Playoff. The players rightfully put the emphasis on taking care of business and reaching the national championship, not having a good time. But having a few laughs never hurt anyone, right?
“It was a good time, for sure,” Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “Just having some good times with the other team. It was fun. Just ready for Saturday.”
But competition for the Battle For Bowl Week is serious. Regardless of the event, players on both teams are only interested in one thing: winning.
“Every game you play, you play to win,” Oklahoma defensive lineman Neville Gallimore said. “We want to win that belt because it’s available. This is a competition.”
Last year Michigan won the Battle For Bowl Week Championship belt, beating Florida in a tiebreaker. But the Wolverines weren’t so successful in the football game, which Florida won.