Sports commentary: Season's gripings

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I'm cheery about this time of year; just not about the Bowls

By Mike Forster

  I’m happy to express Christmas cheer.  But that sentiment does not automatically extend to the college football bowl games..

First off:

I’m a Big Ten guy.  

It’s hard enough being so disposed while living in the heart of ACC country.  But, this year’s college bowl schedule does nothing to sweeten the old disposition.

There are eight schools from the Big Ten heading to bowl games.  The only schools not bowl-bound are Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota.

Yes, I know.  Eight plus three equals “Ten” only in the world of college athletics. 

But, that’s not my gripe.

I save that for how the Big Ten’s bowl entrants have been scheduled.

The Bowl season runs from December 18 to January 9:  that’s 23 days.  During that stretch, there will be 35 bowl games.

The Big Ten teams appear from Dec. 28 through January 4:  roughly a week.  OK.  That’s some compression.

But, dig this.  Five of the games are all on the same day:  January 1.

Four of those games, each featuring a Big Ten team, start at 1:00 or 1:30 on New Years Day.

Northwestern vs. Texas Tech (Ticket City Bowl) is on ESPNU.  Florida vs. Penn State (Capital One Bowl) is on ESPN.  Florida vs. Penn State (Outback) is on ABC.  Mississippi State vs. Michigan (Gator) is on ESPN2.  

That’s what we call a feast and a famine.


The wife and I were in St. Petersburg last weekend, home of the Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl (Dec. 21).

We did not stop at a Beef O’Brady’s, because of a basic principle by which I have lived my life:  Irish and cooking do not go well together.

If there’s a hint of Irishman in a restaurant’s moniker, it is a bane to me.

Irish beer?  Aye!  Irish music?  Begorrah.  Irish food?  Sorry, boy-o. 

And I say that as a son of the Emerald Isle.

Nonetheless, there are 38 Beef O’Brady’s in the St. Petersburg area, by my count.  Go figure.


The New Era Pinstripe Bowl pits Kansas State against Syracuse.  It is the inaugural version of this game, to be played in Yankee Stadium.

A better name?  I like “I Wish We Were Watching These Two Schools Play Basketball Instead” Bowl.


Some bowl game ticket prices that I found:

-Humanitarian (Northern Ilinois-Fresno State):  $14.

-Ticket City (Northwestern-Texas Tech):  $45.

-New Mexico (BYU-UTEP):  $59.

-Rose (Wisconsin-TCU):  $249.

-Fiesta (Connecticut-Oklahoma):  $539.

-BCS championship (Auburn-Oregon):  $1700.

A couple of thoughts here.

First, if you want to go to the Ticket City Bowl, you’re probably better off getting your ticket from Ticketcity.com, instead of StubHub.  Just seems like the smart thing to do.

Second, I have a theory on why the Humanitarian Bowl tickets are so cheap, and it has nothing to do with the fact the game is played in Boise, Idaho in the middle of winter.

Fresno State is one of the entrants.  Fresno, the city, is loaded with Armenians.

The wife, who is of Armenian heritage, is known to squeeze 11 pennies out of a dime.

You think you’re going to get Armenians to pay a premium for a bowl game?  I’ve got a basement full of discounted crates o’ paper towels that says otherwise.


Does anyone know what these sponsors really do?  uDrove (Humanitarian Bowl), BBVA Compass, New Era (Pinstripe), GoDaddy.com, AdvoCare V100 (Independence).

 I diss that AdvoCare V100 outfit at my own peril.  That name sounds too much like it’s right out of a cheap science-fiction flick.

But one good thing I can say about AdvoCare V100 with certitude:  It’s not some type of Irish food.