Envision a sellout crowd in Falcon Stadium in late December, witnessing the clash of two college football programs in the inaugural Colorado Springs Bowl. Could that image become reality? That question was posed Thursday to Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson, the featured speaker at the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation’s first Sports Leaders Luncheon of 2006, held at the El Pomar Foundation’s Penrose House. The MWC has been involved in the start-up of four bowls in recent years: New Orleans, Silicon Valley, Emerald and Poinsettia. So, when Thompson mentioned that the conference was “actually talking with, potentially, a city right now about starting a fifth bowl,” the prospect of that city being Colorado Springs was raised. While Thompson, in his eighth year as commissioner of the Springs-based conference, said he thinks Colorado Springs would be a perfect host, he indicated that earlier talks included Invesco Field at Mile High. He also cautioned that weather complicates the possibility of any site in Colorado. “Weather is the biggest concern, because it could be 60 or 55 (degrees) and, in four hours, we might be in a snow storm,” Thompson said. Falcon Stadium is scheduled to be fitted with artificial turf for the start of the 2006 season. Falcon Stadium compares favorably with Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho, host of the MPC Computers Bowl. Bronco Stadium seats 30,000, with the Boise metro area home to 432,000, according to census information. Air Force’s 46,962-seat stadium can draw from more than 517,000 people in the region, plus almost 2.2 million in the metro Denver area. The average temperature in Colorado Springs in December is similar to Boise’s, with almost an inch less precipitation (0.5 to 1.4 inches). Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh enthusiastically endorses the prospects of a bowl game at Falcon Stadium. “The quick answer is we would be delighted,” Mueh said. “I’ve been in Colorado long enough to know some of the best winter weather we have is in December, so I don’t think the logistics would be an issue.” The academy has placed numerous restrictions since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But Mueh said academy superintendent Lt. Gen. John F. Regni has “looked hard at” allowing visitors to enter the grounds without restrictions, such as showing identification or needing previous permission. “There are no guarantees yet,” Mueh said, “but we’re in the planning stages of trying to get the American people back onto this great facility, including pulling the perimeter back, allowing access to the stadium and the field house.” This fall, the MWC’s deal with College Sports TV kicks in. The deal will mean better starting times for conference games. It will also allow fans to watch some games on the Internet and wireless devices, which means a lot to Air Force because its alumni are stationed throughout the world. “Every game that’s not on television is going to be broadcast on some form,” Thompson said. “The all-access package is phenomenal.”
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