Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Storybook Season Ends With Tale By The Tigers

(Reprinted from the Jan. 8, 2012 editions of The Times and The News-Star, before Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU)
Got any plans for tomorrow night?

I hear LSU has a game.

It is with bittersweet emotion that I will tune in for the Allstate BCS National Championship scrap between the LSUs and the Alabamas, a contest that, on the Anticipation Scale, ranks right up there with Christmas morning and the last day of school.

Tuesday, it'll all be over but the arguing, this memorable college football season. Time to take a knee. Hurts me.

Sometimes, too much of a good thing is a good thing.

I am in the minority here but Bowlfest, college footballs month-long postseason proliferation of oddly named ballgames played in stadiums across the land, is one of the great inventions of modern man.

Temple versus Wyoming? I'll watch it. Toledo and Air Force? What channel?
Wisconsin and Oregon? Count me in. I'll even bring the Mountain Dew!

True, somewhere between the Meineke Car Care Bowl (the who?) and the Grand Theft Auto Bowl, I blacked out. Stone cold. The sound of a Progressive Insurance commercial woke me up, assured me that all I had to do was sit up straight and toothpick my eyes open to enjoy watching teenagers I didn't know and would forget by tomorrow play another three hours of football.


I made one bowl in person: Western Athletic Conference outright champ Louisiana Tech and the impressive Texas Christian Horned Frogs, warts and all, in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the War and Peace of all bowl game titles. Made a prelim event but missed the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl proper due to sickness: I watched, between coughs, on television. God bless the I-Bowl, born in 1976 and still breathing with so many Bluebonnet and Garden State and Heritage Bowls in its wake.

LSU will play Monday night's biggie and, win or lose, there will be arguments about who is No. 1. This is why I love the bowls and dont mind the lack of
playoffs: the bowls give us more to argue about -- though with playoffs, it would be the exact same thing. Just sayin

(Thoughty side note: If the Tigers DO win, the argument that they are not the champs -- for instance, that Oklahoma State would have whupped them -- will be shallow but still made. But with a defense from outer space and a record of what would be nine wins over nationally ranked teams, the Tigers can boast to sane people of being unquestionably the best team this season, maybe the best team ever. Unless you count the 92 Crimson Tide. Or maybe the 98 Vols. Or the 80 Georgia Herschel Walkers. Or the 88 Gold Domers or one of those great Miami teams. See how wonderful college football can be for the argumentative types? Sometimes, you beat everybody and still, you just can't win.)

There are some things I won't miss though. Some day I want to write about how ESPN changed the world, how players came to mistake TV cameras as spotlights for various Look-At-Me antics in what is the ultimate team game. It's easy to tell the difference between unrestrained joy and an audition. Tacky.

But I won't let that take away from the joy of tonight's title-game prelim, the Bowl. (I like Northern Illinois; they can score the ball!) For two more nights, I get to sit in front of the TV, worthless as a pile of No. 2, just to see who'll be No. 1.