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Brooks Peterson


Brooks Peterson's column is published Mondays. Brooks also sits on the Caller-Times editorial board and can be contacted at petersonb@caller.com

Monday, January 1, 2001

Bowled over? We've only just begun

So: How 'bout those bowl games? Like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep going and going and . . .
   It was not ever thus. Back when I was a wee slip of a lad, round about the Cretaceous Period, you had your Rose Bowl, your Orange Bowl, your Sugar Bowl and, of course, your Cotton Bowl (in which teams from Notre Dame all too often came to Dallas to do terrible things to the Burnt Orange and White).
   And that was about it.
   At some point, however, as television was evolving into the pivot around which the whole wide world revolved, a bright soul said to him/herself: Hmm. There's serious dough to be harvested from these bowl games. Why not just add a couple more to the schedule?
   And, quicker'n you could say "Gadarene swine," the rush was on, resulting in . . .
   Well, resulting in what we now see before us: The four old faithfuls are still with us, though - to their everlasting shame - three have donned corporate livery: the FedEx Orange Bowl, the Nokia Sugar Bowl and the (aarrgghh) Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl. Those entrusted with the Rose Bowl, however, have valiantly staved off corporatization. Good for 'em, I says.
   Meanwhile, however, we have seen a veritable eruption of lesser bowls. True, a few of these have flickered and gone out altogether - among them, the Poulan Weedeater Bowl, my personal favorite - but there has been no shortage of replacements, some of which strike the casual observer as downright zany.
   We have, for instance, the dot-com-ization of post-season football. We can now dial up the GalleryFurniture.com Bowl, the HomePoint.com Music City Bowl and the Insight.com Bowl.
   Best of all, we have the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl. How ya not gonna love that? It embodies at least two linkages that send the needle on the Cognitive Dissonance gauge right off the end of the dial: Cyberworld with big-time college athletics, and humanitarianism with smash-mouth football. It almost makes up for the demise of the Poulan Weedeater Bowl. Almost.
   Look: I can see a critical juncture when it jumps up in front of me - and, friends, we're there. Can we turn back? I think not. Money talks, and big money talks with a very loud voice indeed. We must, then, come to terms with the thing.
   But how? We can sulk, of course, but no one will notice, no one will care. So, how about we embrace this thing? How about we clamor for more, not fewer, bowl games?
   Oddly enough, I have a few thoughts on the subject. There are quite a few possibilities that have to date escaped the attention of Corporate America.
   Such as? Well, how about a Thug Bowl, pitting the teams that led the nation in piling on, unnecessary roughness, off-the-field run-ins with the law, and failure to comply with (and/or inability to read) academic standards.
   Interestingly, a case could be made that such a bowl game will in fact take place this year: Scarcely had the gridiron gladiators of Florida and Miami descended on New Orleans for tomorrow's Sugar Bowl than a major brawl erupted among the scholar-athletes of the two schools on Bourbon Street. Ruffians? No way. These guys are obviously deep thinkers, intent on getting ahead of the curve.
   Or let's take things to the opposite extreme: Should college bowl games always and inevitably be the province of hulking 300-pound bruisers and guys who can run the 40 in 2.3 seconds? Hardly seems fair, does it? How about, say, the Nerd.com Pencil-Necked Geek Bowl, pitting intramural teams from, oh, say, M.I.T. and Cal Poly? Uniforms would include pocket protectors and taped eyeglasses.
   Here's another group that's gone un-bowled for far too long: those long-suffering schools saddled with howlingly inept football programs. Let's have the two worst teams in college football meet in the Ignominy Bowl (or, if we need a corporate sponsor, the Tidy Bowl) to crown the absolute worst team in football.
   I have but scratched the surface here, but you get the idea. If we are to be swamped each holiday season, let's give everybody a shot. The possibilities are endless - and if we turn a buck or two in the process, what's wrong with that?
   (Brooks Peterson can be reached by telephone at 886-3772, or by e-mail at petersonb@caller.com)
  
  




Brooks Peterson

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