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Me Likey Football: An Intelligent Debate on The Case of and For Football Bowl Saturation December 31, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, Sports.
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There is a small majority in this country that will wake up this Monday, eyes bloodshot and their breath reeking of cheap champagne and late night cold pizza. They will strip off their tuxedo shirts, still creased heavily from falling a sleep where they fell. And they will not get brunch or make phone calls to people apologizing for the drunken words they spewed on New Years Eve. They will take no calls; they will not organize a laundry list of resolutions. They will be watching College Football.

Monday is to the college football fan what the eighties were to Tina Turner, Michael Jackson and the cast of Gimme A break – their time. And while my prognostication skills limit me making any predictions, I can relate. For the initiated, New years Day is like a Chinese buffet: so many choices. You obviously go for what you came for (Your alma mater or the General Tso’s) but you keep going back for seconds and thirds, even when all they have left is those green shrimp puffs or in football’s case, the Poulon Weed Eater Bowl.

For the uninitiated, the day is an anomaly. How could you wake up early on one of the country wide accepted days of rest and not take advantage of the state sponsored day of rest? And even if you can relate to some people’s fanaticism, why are there so many bowls to watch anyway? Well, as my yearly good deed (and may I say, I’m getting this one in right under the wire) I am providing the following:

EARWACS’ SOMEWHAT ACCURATE HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND BOWL SEASON AND ADVICE ON HOW TO GET LAID

(That last part is a lie and strictly there to get traffic from horny and lonely exchange students who think their key to sexual prowess can be found late at night while surfing Google with a glass of light beer in one hand and an unanswered love letter in the other. But don’t click away, Sexually Deprived Youth…stick around, you may learn something before it’s done. Hey. Hey. Hey. Though you’ll still be lonely)

In the beginning, man created football. People aren’t exactly sure as to the basics of how the game got started. Theories range from people who just tired of the broken sternums and rampant deaths from more violent games like rugby and horseshoes (see the various stories on the 1826 Athens Horseshoe massacre and the short film Blood on The Grass and Spleens on the Sideline: A rugby Primer for more info). Whatever the case, some men got together with leather helmets and shoulderpad puffed shirts they borrowed from a few 1950’s female stenographers and the game of football was born.

The game of yesteryear is a far cry from today’s wide-open pass and run style. Passing back then was for wimps. Throwing the ball was a symbol of your fear of getting clobbered. And when you did throw the ball away, you did it in a flailing girlie style that practically screamed, “Don’t Hurt Me, Scary Man in Poofy Shoulderpads.” (For a modern representation of this act, please watch any game film from the Detroit Lions.) It was essentially a gladiator like struggle as men crashed and bumped into each other, all while still maintaining perfectly coiffed buzz cuts and keeping up enough stamina to dance the Charleston and drive around in Studebakers that had tiny little raccoon tails hanging from the antennae (Vodeo-vodeo-vodeo-do)

The game was a natural fit for college campuses. Collegiate administrators viewed it as a way to unite and enthrall students in the fall and young virile males saw it as a chance to unleash their two inner demons: condoned violence and sexual tension (Girls in long poodle skirts and turtlenecks would show a little shoulder and maybe some calf for a football player.) Soon, school after school was fielding teams. The leather industry was pumping out helmets at record pace (now third behind stirrups and belts). And shoulderpads were now disappearing from shirts, not again to be seen until the mid eighties (Damn you, Melanie Griffith and your letting the river run!)

With the game blossoming like an ill advised rash, the school administrators looked at other ways to exploit, I mean, spread their game across our great nation like Johnny’s Appleseed or faux fur. It was the West Coast schools that thought of the bowl idea first.

“Hey, we have some good football teams on the West Coast that nobody knows about. Heck, nobody comes to visit us. The Donner Party never showed and people are off making movies in New York. Maybe we should have a big football game at the end of the year that pits one of those teams that play in bad weather up north against one of our good teams. The weather alone should bring them here. It never rains in Southern California…that’s catchy. Here’s another great idea; somebody get an effeminate, whiny guitarist to write a song about that. But do the football thing first.”

And so the Rose Bowl was born. And it was momentous. Both coasts finally had something to play for at the end of the year, other than campus notoriety and a long off-season spent nursing gaping head wounds (As it turns out, leather helmets were not as safe and reliable as originally thought.) The game was so successful and so watched and written about, other cities took notice. New Orleans, Miami, Dallas. All cities with burgeoning football traditions and good weather of their own (though, strangely, each city eschewed whiny guitarists and wimpy anthems.) Their thinking was, “hey, there’s more than just one or two good teams in this country and they should all have something to play for. There were a whole bunch of Middle America teams who wanted their own prize at the end of the season to go with the wounds, the campus love and the corn (Extra bonus for Middle American college football.)

And so the bowls were at peace. There were a few and it was just enough for the teams in college football. But like any good thing (peace, tax-free week, non-corrupt governments), it would not lose. As other colleges added football (thanks to the genius who finally made the helmets harder), there were more people who wanted their piece of the pie. Places were fish don’t fry in the kitchen. Where beans did not burn on the grill. And it took a whole lot of tuh-ry-in’, but they got their wish. Soon, other cities that had no business holding end of the year events were throwing their own invite only bowl parties. I mean, sending teams freezing in January to Miami or Tampa or L.A. makes sense. But how pitiful do you feel when your team spends the holiday in weather slightly worse than what you play in normally? It’s like watching everybody else get PS3s on Christmas and you get socks.

Which leaves us with where we are today. The Bowl game invite is no longer a congratulations for a good season or a reward in the sun for an accomplished team. It’s like a ribbon on 3rd grade field day: you have to be completely inept and unathletic to not get one. It’s good in that it gives you the chance to possibly face the alma mater of that guy in accounting that you hate because he always makes a “KAPOW” noise when finishing an e-mail. It’s bad in that you could lose to him and be forced to hear about it all year.

SO, while I will be watching on New Year’s Day, but not for the reasons you would expect. I’m watching each year, praying for the play to get worse, for the ratings to drop. Maybe just maybe, they’ll come to their senses, those rich people who run the bowls, and give us only a few thrilling matchups.

Yeah, and it may rain in Southern California.

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Comments»

1. Ratboy - January 3, 2007

My favorite ‘bowl’ ain’t played on grass… It’s full of it!

Love,

Bobby Bowden


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