Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Rose is a Rose is a....

My favorite sporting event, without question, is the Rose Bowl. Ever since I was a kid I have loved the pageantry, the game, Keith Jackson, the parade, and most importantly the idea of turning on the TV in the dead of winter to see blue skies and 70 degrees.

I love the Big Ten. Even though I went to school (Missouri) in what was then the Big Eight, when I look back Oklahoma-Nebraska never did it for me like Michigan-Ohio State.

I love that the Rose Bowl is a traditional matchup, Big Ten vs. Pac Ten. Most of the time, thanks to the BCS.

I hate the BCS, and the idea of a playoff. Football is a unique sport. You can't turn around after a game and play again two days later, like they do in basketball, baseball or any number of sports. I played enough to know how painful it is the next day, when you wake up and your entire body aches.

I realize other divisions have a playoff. Good for them. How many of you tuned in to watch Appalachia play Western Idaho in the subdivision bowl, or whatever they call it? The bowl games are exhibitions, nothing more. A reward for a good season (6-5?) and a chance for coaches to get in extra practice time.

Why do we need a National Championship game? Of course, $$$. I liked it when writers and coaches voted. It was purely subjective, and OK with me. And without a playoff a lot of good teams never get a shot at the championship game. So leave it alone, I say.

Sports traditions are cool, like NHL teams lining up to shake hands after a playoff series, or the Yankees not having names on the back of their uniforms. Or the Rose Bowl.

I am old enough to remember when there were 15 or so bowl games. I remember games like the Peach Bowl and the Bluebonnet Bowl. But the big four were the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange. Now there are what, 60 or so games? My school, Missouri, played in something called the Texas Bowl, or Houston Bowl. I don't remember and didn't watch. Did I also miss a big parade?

I love the Rose Bowl. As a kid it was the game for Midwestern football fans. It was our chance to match our folksy, down home Midwestern values against the loopy free spirits from the west. Every year we would watch to see which Big Ten team would make it through and have the honor of heading out to Hollywood for a week before losing the big game.

Because the Big Ten always lost. At least it seems that way. And coaches tried everything. From locking players up other than practice to letting them run wild. It didn't seem to matter what they did. Bo and Woody won a ton of games, but not many Rose Bowls.

I still love the game. See you next January 1st at 4pm cst.

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