Tuesday, January 01, 2013


American College Football Bowl Games-2012-2013


More than fifty years ago, Disneyland opened in California. For some reason the concept captivated my father, and he decided that the entire family would visit the West Coast. We combined the excursion with visits to San Diego, San Francisco, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the Rose Bowl Parade.

It was indeed a monumental adventure. We boarded the train in Belleville, stopped in Toronto, caught another train to Chicago, then headed across the United States to California. I spent most of the cross country trip travelling up and down that train with my younger brother David. There were few people who did not know us by the time we screeched to a halt in San Francisco. I was ten years old, he is fifteen months younger than I. We were avowed sports fans at the time, still are.

We were bitterly disappointed in Los Angeles when my father announced that he had procured tickets to the Rose Bowl game for my older brother Dick and himself. David and I got shut out.

I remember that Michigan State played UCLA, and that the Spartans triumphed 17-14 against the Bruins. With a little internet snooping, I discovered that Earl Morrall, later to become a legendary Baltimore Colt, threw a touchdown pass for the Spartans. Ronnie Knox was the quarterback for the Bruins. More than 100 000 fans attended the game.

There were few Bowl games at that time. This of course was long before there was a Super Bowl, and the Grey Cup was only fifty years old. We had a Cotton Bowl, a Sugar Bowl, an Orange Bowl, and a Gator Bowl.

How times have changed!

At last count, I discovered there are now thirty-five bowl games this season for college players in the United States. It has become a nightmare of names.

The first bowl game of the year, the New Mexico Bowl, was played in Albuquerque on December 15th. Arizona defeated Nevada 49-48. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl also took place that day.

You may have missed the Poinsettia Bowl, before Christmas.  The Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl followed the next evening. That was followed by the MAACO Bowl, the Little Caesar’s Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl, and the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Last Saturday they played the following: the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the Pinstripe Bowl, the Alamo Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. 

Most Americans have their favourite school represented in a Bowl. Some of the locals around the pool will be in front of the television when the chosen Bowl takes place. Paul Cross is an avowed Georgia fan, and he will watch his team play in the Capital Bowl against Nebraska on Tuesday evening. His daughter attended Georgia Tech, and they play in the Sun Bowl the night before. He told me his house is divided. Good thing they do not face each other in post season activity.

Art Mercier hails from the Boston area, and supports local teams. With no appearances by eith BU or Boston College, he is focusing his attention on his beloved Patriots. “Anybody except Ohio State,” he told me.

Don Cole was pleased to see the Orange from Syracuse crush West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium last Saturday. He entered a state of mourning Sunday afternoon when his Giants were ushered out the playoff door.

The game which garners most of the attention of football fans takes place on January 7th. It is entitled the BCS Bowl, and features the two top teams in the country, as chosen by a panel. Notre Dame has yet to be defeated this year, and they will play Alabama in Miami Gardens, Florida. A great rivalry from two legendary college football franchises.

There is almost $ 18 000 000 doled out to the colleges involved in the top five Bowl Games. Buys a lot of pens and pencils.

Many pundits would like to see a system in place whereby there is a playoff structure, like the Final Four of basketball. Then again, the game is supposed to be secondary. That is supposed to happen next year.
After all, the players are students, and their education comes first. There are more than 400 000 student athletes in National Collegiate Athletic Association programs in the United States. All worthwhile.


James Hurst

December 30, 2012



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