It's New Year's Eve and the visions of sugarplums have quit dancing and are sitting on a chair and rubbing their little plum feet. Replacing them in my head are the memories of past New Year's Days. Here on this farm New Years Day has traditionally been a day of football. Years ago, I was the last of seven children still at home so Mom and I would take our Christmas decorations down, sometimes we'd accidentally tip the long-needled ponderosa pine tree over on Dad's bald head while he sat in his old rocker, then we'd finally throw the tree out the door, and put a big pot of chili on the stove. We'd sprinkle the soup with cheese and oyster crackers and then crunch down some of Mom's homemade dill pickles.
We'd spend the day watching the Sugar, Cotton, Rose and then the Orange Bowl. Nebraska would sometimes play in one of those. I recall well the battles with Alabama and the likes and once we even had to play Oklahoma for the second time in the same season in the Orange Bowl. The bowl games really defined my New Year's Day. The buildup to the bowl games was always a month long parade of emotions reported from both football camps and Mom and Dad's house became a huge game watching party for the family.
There were just three main channels and Dad had all of the times and games memorized. The Rose Bowl was just finishing up when the Orange Bowl began from Florida. It was an easy pattern that was followed year after year. There was not a plethora of bowls to confuse us unlike what we have now. There have always been some lesser bowls like the Liberty and the Sun and the Bluebonnet but nothing like today's BCS offerings.
Currently, every town with a corporate sponsor and an empty stadium can host a bowl game. Case in point is Charlotte, N.C., hosted the "Belk Bowl," featuring Louisville and North Carolina State. Not knowing what a "Belk" is and whether I might want to someday eat one or possible have an operation to have mine removed, I watched part of the game. No, I still don't know what a "Belk" is, but I've for sure decided to keep mine.
Dallas hosted the "TicketCity Bowl." I understand that one because I got a ticket there once. The "Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl" in San Francisco was a catchy title and Kraft does sell food products, so maybe that's what that means. In St. Petersburg, Fla., the locals hosted the "Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl" which I'm guessing is some kind of corned beef product for St. Patty's Day.
By the time this goes to print Nebraska will have played in the "Capital One Bowl" in Orlando on Jan. 2. There will be no college football games on our "pot 'o' chili day," Jan. 1, because the day was reserved for NFL games. Well you're thinking that by Jan. 2 Nebraska must be one of the last games. The short answer would be "No." There were nine bowl games after that including the "BBVA Compass Bowl" and the long awaited "GoDaddy.com Bowl." By the way, if your husband was watching the latter, it probably wasn't because he follows Northern Illinois with a passion, it's because he follows GoDaddy.Com commercials with a passion.
This is beginning to look like some kind of new entitlement program they're trying to implement. Everyone is equal and gets a bowl game whether they deserve it or not. It appears to be a way to keep the lesser teams "needy" by keeping them practicing in December for an extra game instead of letting their athletes study and the coaching staffs hit the road recruiting and thereby improving their chances of getting to a bowl game the following year that happens to have just one name.
In the future they should consider combining some bowls to fix problems. If the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl would team up with the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, the Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, they'd have their answer to hunger. How about combining the BBVA Compass, Belk, and Meineke Car Care Bowl into one called, "I Actually Have No Idea Who the Sponsor Is Bowl."
We may have taken our eye off of the goal of a diversion for students on their way to obtain a higher education, yes, a preparation for life and raising the collective bar for society has turned into who will put the most money into the coffers of the NCAA and the universities.
We need to get back to the basics. For me it begins with "Take one tablespoon of chili powder" ...