Horned Frogs Head For The Rose Bowl

 photo: u.s. air force

I’m no huge sports fan, but I do enjoy a good game now and then.  Like the Rose Bowl.  The “Granddaddy of all the bowl games,” as we are so often reminded each New Year’s Day.   However, this year I just can’t get my head around the BCS matchup (still trying to figure out the whole BCS rankings thing),  pitting Texas Christian University (TCU) against Wisconsin.

Far be it for me, a Golden Gopher alum to say anything against the Horned Frogs of TCU.   In a battle of the mascots, almost anything beats out a gopher.  Except for a banana slug.  And a horned frog can be pretty scary.  But TCU in the Rose Bowl?  Shouldn’t they be in the Orange Bowl or the Cotton Bowl, or another of those bowls in a more traditionally deep south location?

Like I said, I don’t understand precisely how the BCS puts these games together.

Connecticut, which lost to Rutgers and Temple, is going up against Oklahoma (with its 7 national championships) in the Fiesta Bowl?  Whaaa?

Okay, so TCU apparently earned the right to play in the Rose Bowl and what they’ve accomplished shouldn’t be understated.  They are, after all, a school with only 9,142 students going up against mighty Wisconsin, which has an enrollment of 42,000.   It’s almost unbelievable.  As are the regular season schedules.  Like Wisconsin vs. the Austin Peay Governors?  Huh?  Wisconsin won that game, 3-70.  Austin Peay, has an enrollment of around 10,000.   I’m sure you’ve heard of Ausin Peay?

And let’s see.  Who did TCU have to “roll over” to get to the Grandaddy of all the bowl games?  They had to go out and crush traditional powerhouses like Brigham Young and  Air Force, that’s who.  And they’re 13-0?  So what?

So they have a really good team, that’s what, and according to one of the announcers I’m listening to, the Rose Bowl is the only bowl game they have never played in.  I think he’s misinformed.  But they do have a good team.

So why does it feel like this isn’t working?

It feels like a great American tradition is being cast aside, and in the name of what?  Equity?   I’m not sure equity necessarily has anything to do with tradition, which gives us a sense of stability in an unstable and increasingly complex world.  A sense of continuity, in a world where nothing lasts forever.

I liked it better when it was the best team from the sunny Pac-10 going up against the best from frozen Big-10 (which is now actually the Big-11), thumping into Pasadena like a herd of Polar Bears, heading straight for all the prime rib they could get their paws on at Mortons, while being interviewed about how much better the weather is out here in Los Angeles.  With what’s happening now, with the Pac-10 being shut out of a Rose Bowl game, I presume the same will happen to the Big-10?  Will the BCS get to a point where the Big-10 and the Pac-10 are no longer welcome at the Rose Bowl?

I grew up with Murray Warmath and the Gophers and some really good University of Minnesota teams in the 60’s.  It didn’t last of course, but through the years Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin or another Big-10 school always came up with a formidable team, fully capable of taking on the best that USC, UCLA, Stanford or Oregon could put on the field.

It started with a game between Stanford and the University of Michigan in 1902.  It was a Pac-10, Big-10 New Year’s tradition.  It was something I could understand.  Something to look forward to.  And now it’s gone.

Through the 50’s and 60’s, there were eight major college bowl games.  And each game was special.

There are currently 35 post season college bowl games.   When everybody’s special, nobody’s special.  Just how far will they go with this?  As far as they can, until they can no longer find enough sponsors to turn a profit, apparently.

Boolah, boolah.

Nothing lasts forever I guess, and I admit that I really can’t grasp all the actions of the BCS brain trust.  Keith Olbermann probably does, but I’m no Keith Olbermann.  I’m just going with my gut, and it tells me the Pac-10, Big-10 Rose Bowl rivalry is one one tradition that probably should have been maintained, even though TCU does have a good team.

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Here’s the final:  Wisc – 19  TCU – 21

The Horned Frogs are the Rose Bowl champions.

It was a great game.

The BCS makes my head hurt.

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