Friday, December 29, 2006


Let's face it: It was hella good fun a few years ago when the Moto-X Games Network was airing TV promos for "Capital One Bowl Week" and, in the re-worked lyrics from that bright Xmas song "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" (a song which became a holiday classic thanks to the velvety voice of Andy Williams), we, the consumer, heard that classic line:

"There'll be 50-yard kickings and risky flea-flickings ..."

Rhyming "kickings" and "flea-flickings" ... powerful stuff.

But, then the guy who wrote the original song -- George Wyle (who also penned the theme to "Gilligan's Island," believe it or not) -- died in the middle of '03 and, well ... maybe 50-yard kickings and risky flea-flickings didn't seem so important any more.

So, now, our "Capital One Bowl Week" is cluttered with updates of the location of the body of the recently-deceased Gerald R. Ford and up-to-the-minute newsflashes re: the Saddam Hussein execution scheduled to take place whilst the Champs Sports Bowl is taking place.
In other words, the week has been a little weak.

Therefore, we're left to simply "kill" time ... waitin' 'round for that killer Alamo Bowl matchup this evening between Texas and Iowa -- with the kickoff scheduled about an hour before Jerry Ford's body arrives in the District.
It'll be a nice change of pace from the Saddam Hussein after-party, that's for sure.

Now that we ponder it, Texas vs. Iowa takes us back to the only other time that the Longhorns and the Hawkeyes met in a bowl game ... December '84 ... "yesteryear" ... when life was simpler and the Free World's arch enemy was somebody named "Khaddafi."

Those were the days, all right ... especially when you're preppin' for that inaugural Freedom Bowl by finding a dry patch anywhere during the steady December drizzle at Anaheim Stadium (then known as "The Big A" ... home of the California Angels and the L.A. Rams, two teams which no longer exist.

1984 ... the days when Herb Kirkstreit was a snot-nosed, 14-year-old rather than the sexy-and-slick know-it-all who currently attempts to infringe on our personal space with in a pseudo-authoritative, college-football point of view.

When Herbie watched that inaugural Freedom Bowl, he had no inkling of what might transpire once Iowa QB Chuck Long began to dissect a secondary which had an All-America DB in Jerry Gray -- albeit the Longhorn secondary of the season before was the one we'll never forget because it featured the likes of Mossy Cade, Jitter Fields and Freddie Acorn.
True dat: When it's "Long vs. The Longhorns," it is necessary that there's a Freddie fightin' for freedom and dispensing some Acorn justice.
(Yes ... that WAS a ploy just to work Freddie Acorn into the plot)

Indeed ... nobody wins when December rain is more desirable than your new girlfriend who is indifferent to freedom and your dad is kinda cranky and not thrilled about freedom and/or the potential daughter-in-law prospect.

So, we left the stadium before Chuck Long found his rhythm ... and by the time we were drying off at home, Long was in the midst of setting a bowl-game record which still stands -- six TD passes in the Hawkeyes' 55-17 rout.

The losing QB that night was Todd Dodge, the head coach of prep powerhouse Carroll Dragons of Southlake, TX, who, as it happens, was named recently as the new head coach of the North Texas Mean Green.
If North Texas can work San Diego State onto the schedule in the next few years, Dodge and Long (SDSU's field boss) can meet on Main Street once again, their holsters full of six-shooter fury.

It makes ya wonder, though, if that soggy SoCal night was Chuck Long's last (ever?) hurrah in the Southland. He came back to SoCal a year after that 461-yd., 6-TD effort and, after having narrowly lost the Heisman Trophy to Bo Jackson (1,509 votes to 1,464), Long played well in the Rose Bowl (27 of 39 for 319 yds.), but his Hawkeyes were drubbed by UCLA, 45-28, when backup TB Eric Ball rushed for 227 yards and four TDs (three longer than 30 yards) in a game which some theorists theorize that Hawkeye RB Ronnie Harmon "tanked."

On top of that, Long's first SDSU team finished 3-9 -- and the Spaztecs didn't look good gettin' there.

That was always the underlying message of the Freedom Bowl that people often overlooked -- that freedom is never free.
Although the Freedom Bowl is now extinct, we now have the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to remind us of the price of freedom.

Yet, that's not doin' a damn thing to help us remember the Alamo Bowl, is it?
Well, funny thing is, the inaugural Alamo Bowl, like the inaugural Freedom Bowl, taught us some valuable life lessons.
And, again ... it was Iowa who did the teachin' while we did the learnin'.

That first-ever Alamo Bowl came at the end of the 1993 season ... and we all remember how THAT Iowa team took our breath away with the breathtaking QB skillz of Paul Burmeister (now of the NFL Network) -- and a lot of us remember how Paul Burmeister singlehandedly handed the Builder’s Square Alamo Bowl to the Cal Bears.

How so?

Well, on the final play before halftime, Burmeister felt the wrath of the pass-rushin' DT Regan Upshaw and hurried an inaccurate pass which LB Jerrot Willard intercepted and returned 61 yds. for a TD and a 23-0, Bears lead at halftime.
A lot of us wondered why Burmeister tried to win the game all by himself … why he didn’t throw more passes to Anthony Dean or why he didn’t focus on handing the ball off to the reliable Kent Kahl.

What seemed obvious at the time was that Iowa's best chance to beat Cal that night was to showcase an offense which featured more Dean and more Kahl.

Not that more of Dean and Kahl would’ve guaranteed a victory, but let's consider the positives of Hayden Fry reaching into his bag o’ tricks and ordering a halfback-option pass whereby Kent Kahl would’ve looked downfield for a wide-open Anthony Dean.
With some imagination, the result of such a gadget play would've prompted diehard Hawkeye fans to watch the action unfold as they coached from their seats:
"Throw it to Dean, Kahl! He's wide open, so hit Dean, Kahl!”

Oddly enough, it seems as though America doesn't have a corporate sponsor for this year's Alamo Bowl. Previously, we had six Alamo Bowls ('93-'98) sponsored by Builder's Square; three Alamo Bowls ('99-'01) sponsored by Sylvania; and four Alamo Bowls ('02-'05) sponsored by MasterCard, but, apparently Bell Helicopters had to get all Fort Worth-y on us and forget its San Antonio step-child.

Of course, when it comes to remembering the Alamo Bowl, Michigan left it out of its '06 media guide (and all other game-recaps from a 7-5 campaign in '05).
Nevertheless, none of us will forget the game's final play in which Wolverine Tyler Ecker took the seventh of the seven laterals on the game's final play and allowed himslef to be gently guided out of bounds at the Nebraska 13-yard line as the clock hit 0:00 in the 32-28 defeat.

It was such a wussy ending (on Ecker's part) because, well ... a player has to think on his feet out there and KEEP HOPE ALIVE.
Former Wolverine Jerry Ford woulda lateraled to a teammate.
Because he wasn't a quitter.

Anyway, we haven't seen any seven-lateral madness or any 50-yard kickings or risky flea-flickings, but we've been entertained so far.

Some of the highlights:

FREE SHOES U. 44, FUCLA 27 -- Coach Bobb-buh apparently strung together enough phrases w/ "dadgum" and "golldern" at halftime to inspire his Junior Chief Osceola pee-wee squad to take down the Powder-Blue Bru Crew in the Emerald Bowl.
Bobb-buh achieved Career Win #366 (Paterno's at #362 heading into his bowl game) and avoided a 6-7 record when the playmakin' Lawrence Timmons returned that blocked punt for a TD and when Tony Carter sealed the deal with that 86-yard INT runback on a pass attempt which QB Patrick Cowan aimed tentatively (a ball which Thousand Oaks High graduate Ben Olson never would have thrown).
While it's been brought to our attention that FUCLA coach Karl Dorrell is NOT a lifeless, life-sized, cardboard cutout (despite his sideline presence), he maybe doesn't want his players to know about what's pictured here on pg. 24 of this Street & Smith's 1984 Official Yearbook -- the photo where he and Mike Sherrard are leaping skyward in a quasi-high-five/Fun Bunch, exhilaration mode, likely a reaction to one of Dorrell's two TD catches from Rick Neuheisel in the 45-9 rout of Illinois in the Jan. '84 Rose Bowl.
Notwithstanding his constant deadpanned expression, Dorrell had to be fired up (inside, anyway) when he watched Brandon Breazell sprinting into the clear and looking like a young Karl Dorrell on that 78-yard TD reception -- although, for the rest of America, it wasn't nearly as interesting a moment as what happened a year earlier when Breazell returned those TWO onside kicks for TDs in the game's final 2:24 of a 50-38 win over Northwestern in the Sun Bowl.
God, that was some stupid-ass sh*t -- but, then again, this is FUCLA ... and the Bruins In Ruins, despite their memorable triumph over USC, didn't lose to a few mediocre teams this season because they're "well-coached."
Now, Karl Dorrell has until spring practice to decide what to do about Cowan vs. Olson, although it does seem as though the Thousand Oaks High phenom will win back the job so that he might break all (or any) of the UCLA passing records held by former Thousand Oaks phenom Scott McEwan, who elected NOT to turn pro before the '00 season so that he could help UCLA to a 21-20 loss to Wisconsin in the Sun Bowl.
By the way, the always-calm Karl Dorrell is now 1-3 in these "lesser" bowls -- not a big deal 'round Westwood, unless you, like most of America, is startled to learn that this was Dorrell's fourth season.
As long as Dorrell doesn't start any slugbait QBs from Newbury Park H.S. (as Donahue did with Wayne Cook in the early '90s), he'll be A-OK.
This isn't about, Karl Dorrell, though. It's about Bobb-buh stayin' one step ahead of Joe Pa.
And, it's about moving merchandise, such as Emerald Nuts, who assualted America with bushel-loads of TV spots for their product.
Kinda makes ya wanna call up FSU starlet Jenn Sterger and invite her inner thigh out to play.
Oooops. Jenn can't come to the phone right now.
She has a mouth full of nuts.

OKIE STATE 34, CLUMSY TIDE 31 -- Two things about this throw-away game really stood out:
1) What America heard when Alabma interim coach Joe Kines spoke to sideline reporter Todd Harris at halftime and 2) How lucky OSU CB Martel Van Zant is that he will never have to hear that.
That's because Martel Van Zant was born without eardrums.
And most of America lost theirs when Joe Kines began to speak.
Good gravy, Bob Davie, how in God's name does a person get a voice to sound that gravely, that hoarse, that raspy, that sandpaper-eqsue?
Joe Kines' voice was one-half rusty chainsaw, one-half Ford Escort engine which hasn't had an oil change since 1994.
Marlboros or Winstons didn't do that, America. It HAD to be unfiltered Camels or Pall Malls.
Hearing it live ... was ... shocking ...
And disturbing.
Luckily, Martel Van Zant will never have to hear that voice. Unlucky for America, all we got to hear was a one-minute-long mini-bio from Todd Harris re: a fascinating human-interest story of a kid who not only plays football, but starts at CB for the Cowpokes.
Van Zant has an interpreter, Allie Lee (a guy who we met for 30 seconds at halftime), who works feverishly to translate and keep pace with coach's instructions, etc ...
Van Zant was recruited to Okie State by then-coach Les Miles, who, apparently, has a deaf brother.
Great info ... an impressive story ... but it never made its way onto any of the Poker Channel's College LameDay presentations because America needs more, more, more Leak Orso and Herb Kirkstreit.
Leak Orso: "If Michael Hart can run the ball, that'll set up the play-action pass for Chad Henne."
Herb Kirkstreit: "The offensive line has to protect Chad Henne. And, Michigan's defense has to get after it ..." The Winter X Games Channel has stuck to the same format during the past three years -- and that is, "Don't stray to far from Teams #1, #2, #3 and maybe #4 (bonus coverage: Notre Dame!)
LameDay misses a dozen stories per week, but at least the viewers can amuse themselves with those signs that the kids paint and they hold up when the LameDay crew is "on campus" ... informative signs, such as who might get the first reach-around, who wears a merken and whether the Arkansas QB is better than the Florida QB ... "DICK TAKES A LEAK."
Same ol' sh*t, week in, week out. If, in fact, it's true what Big & Rich (and Cowboy Troy) sang about LameDay "comin' to your sittt-tayyy," it looks as though our sittt-tayyy is gonna be bored sh*tless -- and will remain as uninformed as it was before LameDay came to our sittt-tayyy.
Don't you d*ckheads have a Winter X Games to prepare for? Or, at least a Winter X Games ad campaign you can assault us with? (Note: The cool thing about Winter X Games promos is that they contain more useful college football info than any LameDay production)
Sure, it's understandable that the Winter X Games Network needs to gas up the jet which'll whisk Herb Kirkstreit from Auburn to Penn State on the same day just so that he can spank some heinie (we didn't say male or female) at 30,000 feet before he baby-sits those broadcasting f*ckups, Pusburger and Gravy Davie.
The important lesson we've learned from the Disney Football Enterprise known as LameDay is this: If it's interesting to 90 percent of America, it doesn't interest LameDay.
Even though Herbie is "cumming ... in your sittt-tayyy!"
Again ... we did not specifiy boy or girl.
Speaking of boys, Gavin Gundy, Gage Gundy and Gunnar Gundy had to be proud of Daddy for pullin' out that W vs. Roll Tide. While those may not seem like traditional Begins-With-A-Hard-G names (such as "Gary" or "Gabardine"), it probably makes a lot more sense than naming a boy Gandhi Gundy.
The game? Who cares? May Day, back in the studio, made a reference that OSU QB Bobby Reid was alllllll-most reminiscent of Vince Young.
America's response: "Ohhhh-kayyyyy" (while repeatedly pantomiming the act of putting a glass of hard liquor to our own lips).
Just a simple FYI: Bobby Reid doesn't even crack our Top 3 "Fave Okie State Cowpoke QBs of All-Time" list. In that group are: 1) Asoteletangafamosili Pogi (who, 5 years ago this month, nearly died in that car crash on Lawton Road) 2) Rusty Hilger 3) Gabardine Gundy's Papa.
As per Roll Tide ... is that program still relevant? Will Joe Kines be allowed to remove the "interim" label from his "head coach" title, just so he can sit in a recruit's living room and unleash that Growl From Hell?
Leak Orso: "Not so fast, my friend. I'm not finished talking about Michael Hart and Chad Henne."
Also, let's never forget the S.L.I.D.E. Rule which was discussed recently.
Too Stupid, too Lazy, too Incompetent, too Drunk, too Egomaniacal to get it right.
Grandpa Leak Orso and Grandma Holtz should have a S.L.I.D.E.-off.

UCB 45, Aggs 10 -- During the player intros in the opening stages of the Holiday Bowl, Cal QB Nate Longshore tried to assure America that the Golden Bears' yellow (not golden) jerseys were swell ... and that, for those of us who didn't like them, "don't lie to yourself."
OK, here's the juice, NotSoGreat Nate ... do you remember those games when you were wearing white road jerseys and white cleats and do you remember how your opponent from Tennessee and then USC violently violated you? Remember how you lay on the ground in Neyland Stadium as "Rocky Top" played while you writhed in the fetal position, coughing up blood and spewtum -- and, before ya knew it, there you were again, in the fetal position on the grass at the L.A. Coliseum while "Conquest" rang in your ears as you tried to wipe the USC cleatmarks off your face?
"Don't lie to yourself."
It was magi-CAL!
And, hysteri-CAL!
Ya gotta love Long Nateshore, though ... the next of the Cal Bear QBs to flame out in the NFL. Ever since Steve Bartkowski was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1976 draft, America has had a steady diet of untalented-but-cocky QBs on parade, such as Rich Campbell, J Torchio, Gale Gilbert, Troy Taylor, Mike Pawlawski, Dave Barr, Pat Barnes, Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers.
Not Joe Roth, though. Our Heroic #12 died of cancer shortly after his senior season.
Long Nateshore should try to remember that when he's Arena League-ing it in 2010.
Sadly, A&M DB Melvin Bullitt isn't totally in the clear, either. Although he has the coolest DB name since
"Freddie Acorn," Mel went a little too gangsta on America when he introduced the stars of the A&M D and then signed off by holding up his right hand with his fingers positioned thusly: his pinky, ring finger and middle finger extended to represent a "W" with forefinger and thumb curved (but not touching) to indicate a "C" ... a hand-signal for "WC" ("Wrecking Crew").

All that most of us Americans saw was Melvin Bullitt and his Aggie posse "wreck" was any credibility they had as being anything more than a bunch of pussies, their previous three losses by a total of 6 points notwithstanding.
Try covering someone ... try tackling somebody.
Dems da roolz of wreckage, Mel.
Tru dat! Double true!.
This game definitely was a snoozer, mostly because Herb Kirkstreit (another outstanding NFL-caliber QB, provided that the "N" in this particular "NFL" stands for "Nerf") embraced America tenderly and quieted our sobs by whispering that Cal's impossible task will be to attempt to stop the impossibley-unstoppable 311-lb. tailback, Jorvorskie Lane.
FTR: Jorvorskie Lane rushed for 600-something yards this season. Before you ask, "Is that an all-time record?" well, yes ... it is.
For a 311-lb. load of ()()().
And for any/all RB's named "Jorvorskie."
Seriously ... does Jorvorskie Lane look like Ja'Mar Toombs to you, America?
And, did anyone confuse this Aggie backfield of Lane, Stephen McGee and Michael Goodson with the all-time Aggie QB-TB-FB terror known as "Mike Moseley, Curtis Dickey and George Woodard"?
(Note: Those guys played in the 1970s, so, if it happened before 1995, Herb Kirkstreit doesn't know about it. And, if it happened in college football between 1961 and 2004, Leak Orso definitely doesn't know about it.

CAN'TUCKY 28, CLUMSY 20 -- That's always fun to type ... "Can'tucky vs. Clumsy."
But even more fun to type than that are the names of the classic UK QBs which have started for the Can'tucky Wildcan'ts since Bill Ransdell led the 'Can'ts to their most-recent bowl-game victory (a 20-19 verdict over Wisconsin in the '84 Hall of Fame Classic).
What a list of illuminaries: Freddie Maggard, Pookie Jones, Antonio O'Ferral Billy Jack Haskins, Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner, Jared Lorenzen .... some real legends, but not exactly George Blanda and Babe Parilli, is it?
So, Andre' Woodson ... what's yer damage?
By halftime, Clumsy had committed three turnovers, missed two FGs and and a PAT while the Can'tucky Wildcan'ts had goofed off almost equally as superbly, except maybe for that fake punt ... which led to that long-bomb TD pass by Woodson, which kinda/sorta had America thinkin' that maybe Can'tucky mayyyy-beeee could win (or at least challenge for) the Frontier League title or the Metro Seven North Division title. FTR: Nobody in America watched the second half of this game.
FTR, part II: Nobody in America remembers which bowl game this was.
Shhhhhh ... don't ruin it for other Americans, America.

RED RAIDERS 44, GOLDEN GOPHERS 41 (OT) -- Since more Americans have access to Al-Jezeera than they do to the NFL Network, the execution of Saddam Hussein definitely got better Nielsen ratings than Minnesota's Insight Bowl-implosion after building a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter and a 38-7 edge midway through the third quarter.
The greatest collapse in bowl-game history wasn't a broadcast bonanza, but the public lynching of Minn. coach Glen Mason took place before several thousand on-the-scene eyewitnesses.
Although according to people such as former Minnesota QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq, executions are NOT the most-viable way to celebrate Ramadan, this was not a shocker to any of us who spent some time (probably too much time) watching the Gophers beat North Dakota State, 10-9, when NDSU had a last-second field goal blocked.
Some of us rooted our guts out for ol' NDSU for givin' it the ol' college try.

TERRORPINS 24, BUMBLERMAIDENS 7 -- Nothing pisses off Americans worse than when we in the Kevin Kolb Fan Club are deprived of the final minute of Kevin Kolb's final-minute Liberty Bowl drama as ESPN elects to cut away to give America the pregame of the Team Click Clack! vs. the West Lafayette Rotary Club.
Look ... the only reason to cut away from Kevin Kolb leadin' his Coogs on a last-ditch drive vs. the 'Cocks is if the Champs Sports Bowl pregame promises to showcase the Ralphfrigerator -- all four of him -- gang-tackling a meat-loaf hoagie.
In case it matters (and, dammit ... it does!) ... Kevin Kolb's Coogs came up short vs. Spurrier (44-36), despite Kevin Kolb's bid for some sort of lifetime-achievement award.
With his 386 yards passing against USC East (which could've put a smile on the face of America if Spurrier had started freshman Chris Smelley because, sometimes, the path to victory is best paved by a Cock That Is Smelley), Kevin Kolb finished with 12,964 yards passing in his career -- although, if his receiver had run a 25-yard route on 4th-and-23 instead of an 18-yard comeback route, that drive would STILL be alive and Kevin Kolb could be attempting to eclipse the 13,000-yard mark.
As it is, Kevin Kolb finished #4 all-time behind Timmy Chang (17,072), Ty Detmer (15,031) and Philip Rivers (13,484), surpassing Louisiana Tech's Tim Rattay (12,746) and Luke McCown (12,666).
If only Sean Salisbury were available to give us the pros n' cons of what'll make Kevin Kolb a good pro QB -- as opposed to what Salisbury is qualified to talk about (i.e. playing backup QB at 'SC; completing 6 of 20 passes in his only NFL playoff game; leading the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the Grey Cup).
WAIT! What about Terps-Boilers?
Well, since this game conflicted with the Hussein Hangman Hulabaloo, it was pretty easy to lose focus.
The deed was done sometime between 10:01 PM EST and 10:06 PM EST and nobody really remembers at what point we were at in the bowl games which were relatively uneventful up to that point.
Disney's Football Paradigm attempted to rectify the unpleasantness, but rather than giving us what we craved (hidden video of Maguire spilling his Scotch all over his game notes), all we got was a mighty serving of "A Very Griese New Year."
Heaven knows, the only way to counter-act Hussein hatred is to remind America what a great American Bob Griese is.
It began with the AFLAC Trivia Question when America was asked to name the three Purdue players who finished as Heisman Trophy runners-up (that was pretty easy ... Griese, second to Spurrier in '66; Leroy Keyes second to Orenthal in '68; and Mike Phipps, second to Steve Owens in '69).
It didn't end there. Next, it was necessary to see a flashback of Bob Griese during the era when he won back-to-back games vs. Michigan ('65, '66) and when Phipps won back-to-back games against Notre Dame ('68, '69).
Then, there was photo of Griese surrounded by five or six chicks as part of a bowl-game promo or somethin' (although there was no photo caption provided to explain which of those chicks Bob nailed and/or which of 'em, if nailed, woulda been a Mommy which would've had Brian throwing like less of a girl).
To fully quench our thirst for More Griese Right Now, the Griese P.R. Machine provided a graphic of Purdue players in the NFL Hall of Fame -- Griese, Len Dawson and Hank Stram.
Four Griese snapshots simply did not seem like enough, did it? Particularly when we compare the Bob Griese-Brian Griese relationship, vis-a-vis the Saddam Hussein relationship w/ Uday and Kusay.

When it comes to the matter of public hangings, most of us prefer the way that Tuco and Blondie ran the scam wherein Tuco's neck was in the noose and just after recapping the crimes against Tuco, the sheriff finished with, "Thereby, we sentence the accused, Tuco Benedicto Juan Maria Pacific Ramirez -- and any other aliases he may be known as ..."
BLONDIE: "Known as The Rat ..."
"... to hang by the neck until death. May God have mercy on his soul. Proceed!"

Then, Clint would shoot the rope, shoot the hats off the heads of the lawmen, et cetera ... Tuco would fall from the gallows and the two would ride off, eventually splitting the reward money.
Which pretty much describes the payment plan set up between bowl reps and A.D.s nowadays.
Hey ... freedom is never free ...

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