TELANDER: Stupidity being served by the bowl
BY RICK TELANDER Sports Columnist December 21, 2013 12:08AM
Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl - Florida International Panthers v Marshall Thundering Herd
Updated: January 23, 2014 6:21AM
Bowl season is upon us, and I’m here to give you some guidance in the jungle of fraudulence, hyperbole and worthlessness that accompany the majority of these 35 games.
Until there is the Clorox Disinfecting Toilet Wand Bowl, we likely will not have truth in advertising or in matchups for most of these ‘‘bowls.’’
Bowl games used to mean excitement.
What is riveting about the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, to be played Dec. 31 in Shreveport, La., featuring 7-5 Arizona against 7-5 Boston College? The word ‘‘nothing’’ comes easily to mind.
The Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl on Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla., pits 7-5 Ohio against 9-3 West — excuse me, East Carolina — in a clash of nobodies playing for a chain of restaurants featuring the OMG Burger.
This game was invented for couch slugs who, after the winter solstice, settle their lard into darkened, wings-and-beer-fueled chambers for more than two weeks of Barcalounging and brain-deadening much resembling hibernation. ESPN will televise this nothingness for us because, as the media giant says on Beef ‘O’Brady’s website, ‘‘The mission of ESPN is ‘to serve sports fans whenever sports are watched, listened to, discussed, debated, read about or played.’ ’’
Or slept through, gambled upon, contrived, manufactured or otherwise concocted with the support of ESPN itself.
At any rate, you may want to put your lounger on only half-recline and actually pay attention to a few bowls. I’ll get to them in a minute.
First, a few more of the silly ones:
† The Gildan New Mexico Bowl, which, alas, will have been played by the time you read this, since it kicks off bowl season Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque, N.M. It features (featured) 6-6 Washington State against 7-6 Colorado State. There is no compelling reason to have watched this battle of the norm other than to say you are celebrating the shortest day of the year.
† The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl comes on shortly afterward, and is anyone yearning to see 8-4 Buffalo take on 7-5 San Diego State? Will you stay awake long enough to hit halftime, since hibernation creeps up the lounger, past the chips and dip, on little cat’s feet?
Of course, alumni from each school might think this is grand, this late-season game. But it’s the 13th game of the season for each team, and aren’t the players supposed to be students? As I’ve stated before, if player perks from this ‘‘bowl’’ don’t include free french fries at any restaurant in the U.S. —for life — why play? Winter, in Boise, Idaho, on a blue field? Come on.
† Texas Bowl, Friday; Syracuse (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4). Each team finished 4-4 in its conference. Syracuse lost to Northwestern. Can any team that was beaten by the woeful Wildcats belong in a bowl? I don’t think so.
OK, since there are too many dumb bowls to go through individually, let’s just name the most absurd: The Fight Hunger Bowl, the Belk Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the GoDaddy Bowl.
My test for the worthiness of a bowl — from a players’ perspective — has four essay-type questions that can be weighted for personal choice:
1. Are there perks that are, if not translatable to simple cash, substantial (i.e., jewelry, cars, companionship, etc.)?
2. Is the location valid (i.e., in Hawaii, Southern California or South Florida and not Detroit)?
3. Is there a beach? (Yes or no.)
4. Will I be embarrassed as I grow into adulthood and wear the namesake watch or display the tattooed logo on my forearm to say I played in this game (i.e., former Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl, Poi Bowl, Salad Bowl, Tobacco Bowl, current Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, etc.)?
In other words, boys, be careful. Be wary. Get yours.
Now, the bowls that holiday viewers might want to pay attention to are the Orange Bowl (12-1 Ohio State vs. 10-2 Clemson), the Rose Bowl (11-2 Stanford vs. 12-1 Michigan State), the Sugar Bowl (11-1 Alabama vs. 10-2 Oklahoma) and the BCS National Championship game Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif. (No. 1 Florida State against No. 2 Auburn).
For those of you who dread the bowl season ending that day, remember there are all-star things like the Senior Bowl yet to come.
And it won’t be long until next year’s bowl season begins. It’s kind of funny that there are 70 teams in bowl games, and college football usually produces only 71 teams a year that even qualify — at least six wins, non-losing record. ‘‘Absurd’’ may be the word. But in 2014 there’s supposed to be a new dandy joining the glut: the Bahamas Bowl in Nassau, Bahamas.
To be played in teensy (15,000-seat) Thomas Robinson Stadium, this is what I’d like to call a ‘‘getaway game.’’ Get away from it all, fellas. Winter temps average between 73 and 81 degrees.
You probably wouldn’t have to show up for the game until kickoff. Maybe not at all. Check this one out.
Gotta be better than a thousand Belk Bowls.