Sunday, January 3, 2016

Empty bowls

So bowl season is over, almost, mostly, and what we got out of it was a pile of BattleFrogs and Belks and various military themes and a whole lot of chicken (Zaxby's, Chick-fil-a, Popeyes). And on the big weekend, a saving grace named after a string of gas stations.

That would be the Valero Alamo Bowl, and thank you, TCU, for turning a snore of a weekend into, briefly, an oh-my-god-did-you-see-that fiesta (as opposed to Fiesta). All the Horned Frogs did, besides do the right thing by suspending their clueless quarterback Trevon Boykin, was spot Oregon a 31-0 lead and then roar back to win in three overtimes, 47-41.

It was at once the most memorable game of the entire bowl season, and maybe one of the most memorable games ever, anywhere. And it came Saturday night, just when we had all given up and gone back to watching "Law & Order" reruns, TV evangelist/hucksters and infomercials for the amazing Ronco combination indoor grill and wet vac.

Seriously, has there been a worse New Year's weekend, bowl-wise? Among the big bowls (the Rose, Cotton, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar) the closest game was the Fiesta, in which Ohio State nipped Notre Dame 44-28. The two national semifinal games were over by the first commercial break, with Alabama proving that, except for Ohio State and Michigan (which hammered Florida 41-7), the Big Ten is still just kibble in the SEC's bowl.

I mean, when the two teams who played in your conference championship game get floor-waxed in their respective bowls by a combined score of  83-16, it's probably not the weekend to roll out that new ad campaign crowing about how big the formerly Big Ten is.

'Bama 38, Michigan State 0 in the Cotton and Stanford 45, Iowa 16 in the Rose put the kibosh on that, at least until Ohio State decides not to spend half the season napping and winds up on the big stage again. Or perhaps until Jim Harbaugh's finished remaking Michigan in his own image and winds up there, too.

The B1G or whatever it's calling itself these days may never be the Big Two and Little Eight again, partly because Mark Dantonio's in East Lansing and partly because the math doesn't work anymore. But it doesn't take a seer to see it trending that way.

In any case, the whole weekend made the growing part of America that's ditching cable feel it didn't miss much.  So, thanks for that, college football. Now it's back to Netflix.

Wait ... you're saying TCU did WHAT??

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