Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

You've gotta love...

January 1st

New Year's Day bowl games truly put the rest of the post-season to shame, which is the way it should be. Let the MySpace bowl continue placing the fourth place team from the Sunbelt conference against the loser of Harvard-Yale, it won't cheapen the intrigue and entertainment value of marquee Jan.1 bowls.

In that sense, one has to be somewhat disappointed that a majority of the BCS games are yet to be played, regulated to stand-alone prime time sports events instead of juicy additions to the schedule of
the day for college football.

Good for FOX, bad for everyone else.

The Fiesta Bowl at 8:00 PM on Jan. 2, a Wednesday night? Is this the MAC championship game? Particularly in a year when the glamorous Rose Bowl is allowed it's traditional trappings, everything after the first of the year seems like a forgotten coda to the college football season.

It's also a real shame that the Michigan- Florida game wasn't played in a BCS location, because it was certainly the quality game that BCS officials are striving for. Other than a marathon viewing of HBO's The Wire, season one, this was the most entertaining 3 hours of couch time all (extended) weekend.

Like David Simon's razor sharp sociological mind-fuck (*ahem*entering it's fifth and final season on Sunday *ahem*), the Capital One Bowl was a multi-layered drama without a discernible heroes or villains. One one side there's the outspoken Mike Hart, jawing at Florida DT's four times his size and clearly involved in some kind of point shaving scheme, evidenced by his pair of goal line fumbles. Though across from the Wolverines stood an even less likable character, Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer's charismatic errand boy who has the best PR rep in the business. CBS's Gary Danielson ought to be furious with the way ABC was flattering Tebow, on whom Danielson has a well-vocalized man crush.

Yet, from the standpoint of an OSU fan, it wasn't too difficult to pick a side. As is the case every year, any animosity between Ohio St. and Michigan is rightfully put to rest for the small window of time when each team is representing the Big Ten. And, considering his record against Tressel, who doesn't love Lloyd Carr, the man who coached his last game at the school he loves? His team certainly does.

Between Hart making OSU's defense look like a brick wall and waiting for Rich Rod to mistakenly call maize "yellow" in the announcer's booth, this game was a great way to kick off the new year. A statement game for the Big Ten.

...Amidst a day of other conferences "stating" that the Big Ten isn't so great.

Illinois and Wisconsin both fell, the latter in a much more admirable fashion. The Illini lacked any fight and the Rose Bowl quickly began to resemble last year's Championship Game.

Illinois was outmatched from “go” and made things difficult on Herbstreit and Musburger, who were calling the game. When I changed the channel at 21-0 Kirk was listing all USC's Heisman winners while the camera lazily found them in the stadium. Hours later, in the fourth quarter, I stumbled upon the game again to find an info graphic of Pete Carroll’s successes on the screen, most likely recycled from the first half. Bad, bad television.

Thirty-eight Colt Brennan pass attempts and zero Colt Brennan touchdowns later, Georgia players were presenting their argument for #1. Not surprisingly, plenty of others have already written off the up-coming OSU-LSU game after the newly crowned best teams in the country, USC and Georgia, beat up on lesser opponents.

The Sugar Bowl, in which Georgia ruined Hawaii’s vacation without offering to refund their plane tickets, somehow managed to out-suck the Rose Bowl. At best it was a chance to see superstar in-the-making Knowshon Moreno, at worst an unforgiving exposure of Brennan and his system offense. The Rainbow Warriors were one season too late to be a non-BCS Cinderella story so now they are just the team that took Missouri’s place in the Sugar Bowl (and that’s going easy on Kansas.)

The bowl records after today:

1. SEC (6-2)
2. Big-12 (4-2)
3. Pac-10 (4-2)
4. Big Ten (3-4)
5. Big East (1-2)
6. ACC (2-4)

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