Bowl Week: or, Holy Hopping Baby Jesus, It’s Eastern West Virginia Tech vs. Cal-Poly San Luis State!

   Yes, friends, it’s here. Bowl Week. 'Tis the season for the conclusion of football season. Bowl Week? Before we get to the good stuff – the BCS bowls that actually mean something – we are offered a plethora of bowl games that seem, like illiterate families from the Florida panhandle, to multiply every year. Thanks to the corporate interests that give us such intriguing games as the Papa Johns.com Bowl, Capitol One Bowl, and Outback Steakhouse Bowl, Bowl Week is actually more than two weeks long.
   Does anyone remember the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl?

   I do. But then, I remember a time when football stadiums, like bowl games, had names you could recall, that weren’t subject to change every two or three years when a corporate sponsor would buy the naming rights, only to lose them when outbid by another business behemoth.
   Oh, for the days of Candlestick Park and the Bluebonnet Bowl.
   Part of what makes sports so great is, I suppose, nostalgia. Fine. I’m nostalgic. But not because I think the Bluebonnet Bowl was a perennially great football game. I look back with bittersweet reflection because of what sports has become.
   For every feel-good story sports gives us, whether it be a George Mason reaching the Final Four or the Boston Red Sox finally winning a World Series, it gives us that many more Terrell Owens, Barry Bonds, Latrell Sprewells, and Enron Fields.
   I still can’t thank the city of Houston enough for that one. Well, that and Roger Clemens. Way to go, Houston. You’re a classy, classy city.
   Which brings us back, in a roundabout way, to the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl. It seems that these days, anyone with the cash can throw their own bowl game and invite whomever the hell they please, provided the teams each have a paltry six wins. Witness this week’s Albuquerque Bowl. Apparently, the city of Albuquerque decided it wanted to throw a little party. Nothing wrong with that. They put up the cash, a huge chunk of which, I’m sure, serves as a kick back to that benevolent and noble organization, the NCAA. Of course, the bowl needed a couple of teams to play, so they invited the hometown New Mexico Lobos.
   What’s to stop any city – or hell, any individual – with the money to start a new bowl game in their town and invite their favorite team? The possibilities are truly ugly. Jesus, we’ve already had a Houston Bowl. My beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys played in it once.
   This year, my team gets to travel to beautiful Shreveport, La., to play in the Independence Bowl. A 6-6 record was good enough to get them and the also 6-6 Alabama Crimson Tide invites to the first-ever .500 bowl, a bowl game where the loser will actually finish with a losing record.
   I suppose I should feel my Cowboy blood boil with pride that we aren’t headed for the Toilet Bowl. No, the Independence Bowl at least has a nice ring to it.
   Better than, say, the Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl.

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