Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bowl Preview 9: Blown Sugar

After six games on New Year's Day, just one on the day after. It used to be that New Year's Day was the last day of bowl season, and then it was time to get into winter business. But now it gets extended for another week, and with the new Playoff system could go well into mid-January. That's because the championship game will be played the Monday following the semifinals, with at least a six-day layoff. So when the semifinals are played on a Thursday, the final will be ten days later. A Wednesday, and it's eleven days later. Meaning that two rounds of the NFL playoffs could happen between the college football semifinals and the final. And won't that be fun. I'm on record as the first person to complain about it, so there.
No, no no. Sugar Bowl, not.... oh.


Thursday, January 2nd
5:30 PT, ESPN
Bowl #30: Sugar Bowl. #11 Oklahoma (10-2) vs #3 Alabama (11-1)

Several problems with this game. One, the wrong team with the letters “O” and “U” is in this game. Oklahoma shouldn't be here, Oregon should. But because the Big 12 has an alliance with the Sugar Bowl in the new Bowl playoff picture, they were being nice. Plus they didn't think Oregon would travel well. Well, despite my thinking that the reason the Alamo Bowl was sold out was because of Texas fans... as it turns out, Oregon was one of the few schools, period, to sell out its allotment of tickets.

I think Oregon goes to a lot of prime bowls in the new era, when the committee makes the decisions on who plays where in the top bowls. But this isn't a column on the committee.

It's a column about how Oklahoma should get drilled by Alabama. But that depends if Alabama shows up. The Tide have had a month to stew about the Kick Six that derailed their three-peat hopes. I'd say they have a lot to play for, but they would only have a lot to play for if they weren't Alabama. A big bowl game is great except for a school that expects to be playing for the national title.

It's like Kansas and Duke basketball fans. Where most teams are glad just to get to the NCAA tournament, if the Jayhawks and Blue Devils don't make the Final Four, that season is a failure. You have to be pretty good when that's considered a bad season.

Anyway, I think Nick Saban gets Alabama into shape just fine for this one. They could probably play their second string the whole game and do pretty good. Oklahoma is not that good.
Sugar Bowl, California style

Side note: look, I grew up in California and my folks are not college football fans. They're skiiers and outdoorspeople. So when I was a kid, when I heard the words "Sugar Bowl," I thought about the ski resort. Even now, when people tell me they're travelling to the Sugar Bowl, I have to pause for a second. If they say, "We're going to the Sugar Bowl," I think the game, if they omit the "the" and just say "We're going to Sugar Bowl," I assume they're skiing. Isn't the English language great?  Also, if they're actually from California I just assume they're going skiing anyway.

Guest picker Bob of Arabia:

During college football season, I can always judge how my dad's weekend is going by checking the score of the Sooners game.  You see, both of my parents are from Oklahoma.  I am still not entirely clear how I came to be from Los Angeles, but I'm sure there is some "Grapes of Wrath" correlation in there somewhere.  If the Sooners win, I know it's safe to call and say hi.  If the Sooners lose, I steer clear of any communication until they post their next 'W'.  If my dad's Thursday isn't completely wrecked by halftime, I am going to encourage him to chalk that up as a victory so that I don't have to wait until August to call him like I did following the (cover your ears Pop) Boise State game in 2007.  I think the Tide rolls the Sooners like a bum in the alley and lays claim to number 2 in the last ever BCS rankings.  Let that sink in.....the last ever BCS rankings.  Only time will tell if that is actually a good thing or not, but that is another posting.  (Queue the foreshadowing "Duh, Duh, Duuuh" music).

The football Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium, colorized vintage postcard


photos courtesy: dreamstime.com, tahoebest.com, rubylane.com