Anchoring Down with BOWL CENTRAL
Anyone who follows me on twitter knows I am a HUGE Vanderbilt football fan. I paint my nails black and gold for home games, am a season ticket holder, and bleed black and gold. During home games, I also post for Vanderbilt on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Sooo… when we get to the point in the season where we’re pretty sure we are going to become Bowl Eligible — I start getting really excited because I know we’ll be working on the Bowl Central site with the Athletics communications team.
This is the third Bowl Central site I’ve worked on for Vanderbilt — the first one was back in 2008 ( the first time we’d been in a bowl game in 26 years and thus the very first bowl website for Vanderbilt!) We were bowl eligible again in 2011, and more Bowl Central fun times ensued. And now, for the first time in Vanderbilt football history, we’re bowl-eligible two years in a row for the 2012 season. Bring on the bowls for Commodore Nation!
This year I wanted to take advantage of some of the amazing photos we have from this season, as well as take a slightly different approach than previous years. Instead of separate pages for all the various sections — I simplified the site into a single page — with a floating navigation bar that will slide down with you as you go to each section. Keeping the photos big gives the user a bit of drama and conveys a sense of our team and our fans.
The site is actually VERY simple on the backend. Each section (Events, Travel, Students, Tickets, etc) of the site is setup as a separate page in WordPress, thus allowing the Athletics web team the ability to edit each section individually as needed. Because it’s WordPress – it’s also dead easy for them to use. They can upload images, docs, pdfs — anything they need to have in a section.
The News and Media section is powered by feeds — the top portion by the vucommodores.com football rss feed — the bottom video section powered by a YouTube playlist, jQuery, PHP and VUFairyDust™. Whenever something new is posted to the vucommodores site or youtube — it will automatically populate the bowl site. Currently the top portion of the site is an #ANCHORDOWN section containing a twitter widget and a countdown to the bowl announcement. Post bowl announcement on Dec. 2, this section will contain Game Day information (and the countdown will change to a bowl game countdown).
As the time grows closer to finding out which bowl we will be playing in — we’re working closely with Athletics to be sure the site is ready with bowl logos and opposing team information. We will coordinate the launch of the bowl-specific site with the announcement on December 2.
We work closely with several people in Athletics on bowl communications — primarily Brandon Barca and Ryan Schulz. It’s a great partnership! I hope building Bowl Central sites becomes a yearly tradition for our office.