Saturday, December 17, 2016

The WHAT? bowl

We knew it was coming and it has begun. College bowl season is upon us. This is nothing like the old days when there were only four bowls -- Orange, Rose, Cotton, and Sugar. It seemed a shame that only eight teams got to participate in the post season. The upside, of course, was those games would always feature really good teams slugging it out.

But now it's gone crazy the other way. This season we will be treated, and I use that word loosely, to a whopping 41 bowls. Eighty teams in all (the two that make it to the national championship game will play in two bowls -- semis and final).

Many of these are TV driven, see ESPN, and generate little fan interest. Worse, out of those eighty teams, a full twenty of them don't even have a winning record. When we've got bowl games featuring teams with losing records, there's too damn many bowls.

At any rate, earlier yours truly clicked on the 4-letter network and what did I behold? The Air Force Reserves Celebration Bowl. Dang, who knew the back-up flyboys and girls had a bowl named after them? Evidently, they were supposed to celebrate watching the likes of North Carolina Central take on Grambling in Atlanta.

Wait a second. There's such a school as North Carolina Central? Who knew? Grambling is different, of course. I knew of a Grambling man once. Bob Segar even sang a song about him. Or was that the Allman Brothers?

To be honest, I wouldn't watch such a nothing bowl game on a bet, but just happened to tune in as the game was nearing conclusion. Grambling was ahead 10-3. The NC Central crowd, what little there was of them, grew restless. Then holy Jim Thorpe, NCC broke through for a touchdown. The game was going to be tied up, as soon as they kicked the extra point.

But not so fast. The player that scored the touchdown went into bonehead mode. First he took off his helmet, a no-no until players get back to their sidelines, then danced in front of the sparse NCC rooting section. Another no-no. So naturally, and rightly so, he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Move the ball back 15 yards from where it would usually be spotted for a point after attempt. Now it became not quite so automatic.

And sure enough, it happened. The ball was snapped, spotted, and the kick is ---- blocked. Grambling still led 10-9. After a botched onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff by NCC, they retried and Grambling recovered to run out the clock. Game over.

Yet the failed extra point attempt had shown something a bit odd. The holder and the kicker were both white. They appeared to be the only Caucasians on the team. For that matter, in the whole stadium, which was pretty much empty to begin with. See lack of fan interest mentioned above.

So how would you like to be those guys? Their team finally comes back to almost tie the score and they muff the extra point?

Good luck in the locker room, and even better luck when they have to go back to campus. That could get uglier than about half the bowl games we'll be force fed in the next couple weeks.

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