Monday, December 6, 2010

But how do you celebrate a bid to the Tidey Bowl?

When TCU completed an undefeated regular season last week ensuring a place in a BCS bowl game, many of its players celebrated by carrying a single rose in their teeth.  It signified the Horned Frogs' postseason destination - the Rose Bowl, and the rose-in-mouth celebration of a trip to the game called "The Granddaddy Of Them All" is almost as old as likely Rose Bowl announcer Brent Musberger.  Same thing with the Orange Bowl; Virginia Tech's players were compliant in their copious displays of the most famous citrus after their ACC Championship game win ensured their trip to West Jupiter (or Key Biscayne or whatever burb Florida pretends is actually Miami these days).

But with 873 bowl games on the schedule this year and names and sponsors for those bowls, players (at least the ones who go to class) should get extra college credit for creative celebration of bowl trips.

Brigham Young University got the party started, which is interesting since the word 'party' was banned from the BYU campus in 1932.  When the Cougars found out they would play UTEP in the New Mexico bowl, the BYU players hurriedly put on their white button-down shirts and navy pants and mounted their bicycles for a celebratory ride through Provo, dragging behind their bikes the skeletal remains of armadillos.  UTEP players would have held their own celebration but, being in El Paso, were afraid to wake the drug lords across the border.  UTEP coach Mike Price reportedly whispered to a female friend "it's rollin' baby, it's rollin", an allegation Price vehemently denies.

Utah had a conundrum similar to their fellow Mormon-state brethren.  That's why the Utes' team made quiet arrangements to sneak across the state line so players could carry on their shoulders topless showgirls holding jars of Bondo and Turtle Wax to celebrate their invitation to the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.  Unfortunately, an intern in the Utah sports information office misunderstood and accidentally sent dozens of topless turtles holding bottles of Gold Bond powder instead.

The inagural New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium thought it had a great matchup when it invited Kansas State to play home state favorite Syracuse.  The Orange(men), having stunk for most of the last decade, were so ecstatic, they paraded around their home field at the Carrier Dome wearing gangster pimp suits while displaying a surprisingly comfortable and familiar hold of Tommy guns.  Their enthusiasm was slightly dampened when they learned that the Pinstripe in the bowl's name meant Yankee and not gangster pimp suit.  But the crushing blow came when both teams abruptly pulled out of the bowl when they learned they would be forced to wear Derek Jeter replica uniforms as part of Jeter's new Yankees contract.

Some bowl celebrations didn't go exactly as planned.  Tennessee's players tried to foreclose on hundreds of houses after learning they'd be playing in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, then learned that everyone in Knoxville had already been foreclosed upon.  Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson tragically lost his left arm doing a Crocodile Hunter impression after the Wolverines were invited to the Gator Bowl.  West Virginia's jock strap wave parade attracted the attention of Mountaineer fans, whose first instinct is to burn and/or shoot everything in sight.  Now, the Mountaineers are hoping the Champs Sports Bowl will comp them some cups.  By the way, a giant pile of burning jock straps emits a rather foul odor, though it reportedly improved the air quality of Morgantown.

There were similar bowl game celebrations across the country;  the obvious (Army launching a surprise air strike on the George W. Bush Presidential Library in advance of their Armed Forces Bowl against the library's home, SMU) and the unique (Troy's players collectively sunburning their left arms in advance of the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl).  But the best bowl celebration by a mile belonged to the unbeaten SEC Champion Auburn Tigers, who will play Oregon in the Tostitos BCS Championship Game.

After the SEC title game win over South Carolina, Auburn coach Gene Chizik gave his typical coach-speak answers to the easy questions, talking about his "fabulous seniors" even though his two best players are juniors.  Then, whenever he was asked about one of those juniors, star quarterback Cam Newton, the product placement bonanza began.  "Salsaaaaaa!" Chizik exclaimed when Newton's name was first mentioned by the airhead sideline interviewer.  A follow up question about how Newton overcame his father's pay-for-play scheme while Newton was being recruited was met with Chizik's emphatic "Toooooosteeeetooooos Hot and Spicy Salsaaaaaaaaaaa!"  But coach, "Saaaaaaaaaaalsaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

Newton, compelled to attend the post-game press conference under threat of a fine from the SEC (which of course he could NEVER afford to pay), did his coach one better.  Every question from the media was met with Newton stuffing his mouth full of delicious Tostitos chips.  When asked how he put the off-field questions behind him while on the field, Newton crunchily spattered "these Tostitos-brand tortilla chips are so light and crispy, made from all-white corn with no preservatives."  But Cam, did your dad..."I am particularly fond of the blue corn Tostitos, which pair nicely with Tostitos new Creamy Spinach dip, or Tostitos with a hint of lime - I still laugh at those singing Bill Parcells commercials from a few years ago."  But Cam, your father..."yes, my dad makes a great homemade mango salsa that's a perfect compliment to Tostitos with a hint of lime."

With a unique team celebration to match all the unique bowl names, the NCAA must be praying that Trojans and Tampax never becomes bowl sponsors.  Or Exlax, at least if any Najeh Davenport wannabes on are the team - he's the player who broke into a girl's dorm room at the University of Miami and pooped in her closet.  But the NCAA has one bowl that, unless Duke, Vanderbilt, or Stanford get invited, will never prompt a team celebration - The Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.  The teams from Nebraska and Washington are still learning how to spell and pronounce that one.  God help the coaches if the players figure out that education actually has something to do with going to college.

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