Bowl Malaise

This blog has been lacking a couple of regular winter features this year. One is a more in-depth celebration of the start of the ACC basketball season proper; that will start tomorrow with the traditional imbalanced schedule summary. The second is any coverage of the college bowl season whatsoever. I didn't intend for it to be like that - languishing in the to be edited fie is a dramatic post on how This Is The Year It All Changed, with a list of hypothetical events that would happen this December that would mark it as the turning point towards the acceptance of a college football playoff. But in the end, I just couldn't be bothered to care.

(As an aside, one of those points was going to be This is the year Pete Carroll started looking at job opportunities in the NFL, for after all, how fulfilling can your job be if the year-end reward is always an undermatched opponent in Pasedena? This I now realize from watching the Rose Bowl, will never happen. Southern Cal is doomed to an unending future of mediocre Big Ten teams in the Rose Bowl every year, but you can see from his face on the sideline that Pete Carroll absolutely loves it. And why wouldn't he? Trojan fans are never going to tire of Rose Bowl victories, and with the state of the Pac-10 and Big 10 going forward, he has a job security positively enviable in modern college football.)

I was interested in the UNC-West Virginia game, sure, but there wasn't much to write about besides "UNC is playing West Virginia." Few people outside of the two fanbases cared; it had been twenty-eight days since either team had taken the field, and winning the game would not change either team's season as a whole. Both would still be heading in the same directions they had all season, and beyond the contest of who would impress more, Pat White or Hakeem Nicks, there wasn't much to hold one's attention.

Nor did any of the other games appeal to me. I caught most of the aforementioned Rose Bowl down at one of D.C.'s finer drinking establishments at a friend's invitation, where, faced with the thought that I would actually have to root for one team or the other, I chose Southern Cal. It wasn't for any Trojan sympathies - spend time in Southern California and you get pretty sick of any USC-UCLA talk unless you have a vested interest, and USC maps to Duke in that particular rivalry anyway. No, I decided that my hatred for Jim Delany outpaced my interest in either team, and that I would like to see the Big 10 punished for as long as they cling to the Rose Bowl and remain the biggest impediment to a rational postseason. (I will, apparently, be hating on the Big 10 for quite some time.)

Now it's insanely stupid that the beliefs of a conference commissioner are the overwhelming inflamer of passion more a sporting event, and I realize this. And it just drains any remaining interest in the sport further out of me. The protest that Utah is being jobbed writes itself, but I can't be bothered to transcribe it. (They're undefeated and they weren't even allowed to... oh just read last year's rant and replace "Hawaii" with "Utah." Or gaze upon my prescience in August, where I used the wrong team from Utah as the example.) I couldn't tell you who played in most of the bigger games, and in the case of the ACC's Orange, neither could many other people. I was aware of bowl games this season, and surely walked by the TV while they were on, but couldn't tell you much about them. Rutgers beat State, right? And Maryland won their game. I know folks around here were excited about that.

That's what this football season as imparted on to me. In a year where football parity finally reached a stable equilibrium, with a bunch of excellent one-loss teams (and undefeated Utah) that in a normal world would lead to a hell of a postseason, I have and any joy just leeched out of me. This is The Year It All Changed, but for me, not the NCAA. Maybe I'll care if UNC jumps to these rarefied heights and I have skin in the game, maybe not. And if it does, I'll be throwing demands for a playoff around again (With one small difference: I know longer believe in the conference champion-only philosophy. This season has taught me that I want to see Texas and Texas Tech and Oklahoma fighting it out, and Virginia Tech and Cincinnati belong nowhere near it. Automatic bids were away to get conferences on board, and I no longer care if they want to kill their sport. I just don't.). But that could very well not happen, I could just drift away from college football altogether by December '09. There's the NFL, and conference basketball, and to step outside of sports, friends and family and holidays. College bowls are tiny, petty things ruled over by small, greedy, shortsighted people, and I just can't be bothered to care. There's the sound of rubber hitting hardwood to consider and merits decided on the court and not in the minds of voters. I don't think I'll be looking back.

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