Saturday, December 17, 2011


College Football Bowl Preview No. 1

by Wayne Robins

College football games used to be a great New Year's Day tradition. There would be four of them: the Rose, Cotton, Orange and Fiesta bowls, with a lesser game, the Gator Bowl, floating around in the days before. The games rarely settled arguments about which team was best in the country, but they did give one something to live for in case New Year's Eve did not turn out well. Now there are 35 games spread over three weeks, culminating in the January 9 Bowl Championship Series final between the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams, LSU and Alabama.

Imagine 35 games! When I was 10 years old, that would have been better than a whole series of books about Harry Potter that hadn't been written yet. Now, it's mostly inanity. Insanity, too, when you consider that some of the teams "honored" with bowl games have .500 records. Some have even had losing seasons. As I write this, the first game of the season, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, between the Temple Owls and the Wyoming Cowboys, is about to begin. Temple, once noted for its basketball team, is from Philadelphia. The University of Wyoming is from Wyoming, a state whose friendliness to drilling of any kind has been tempered by poisoned water systems in communities near hydrofracking sites. Gildan, a sportswear brand "is a marketer and globally low-cost vertically-integrated manufacturer of quality branded basic apparel." It has just started to develop a manufacturing hub in Bangladesh, in case you wonder where its jobs, now located in Central America and the Caribbean basin, according to the company website, are going.
The pick: Temple. Baby, do the Philly dog.

Next: The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. I didn't make that up, although it sounds like something Gail Collins might invent to tie in with her ubiquitous reference to Mitt Romney having once tied the family dog to the top of the car on vacation. Who's playing? None other than the famous Utah State Aggies against the famous Ohio Bobcats. No relation to the midwestern state's famous football power, the Ohio State Buckeyes. My pick? Who in the world cares? My pick is an "NCIS" marathon.

Tonight, it's the New Orleans Bowl, between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. That's the truth. Let's see: surfing and Mexican food against zydeco, gumbo and jambalaya. Being part Cajun (my taste buds and abdomen being the specific parts), I've got to fais-go-go with the fais-do-do and expect a crawfish fiesta at the Superdome, a virtual home game for the Ragin's.

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