Once upon a time, before we had a college football playoff system that’s no better than what it replaced, before the World Series became the November Classic, before we had talking head shows debating whether the Cleveland Browns will win five games next year when their season ended yesterday (honestly, I just saw that), we had bowl games.
We sports fans of the 70s and 80s didn’t need TV Guide (ask your parents) to know what games were on when. New Year’s Day meant the Cotton Bowl from Dallas, with a game involving the best from the Southwest Conference (ask your parents) against worthy challengers like Notre Dame, Alabama or Penn State. The game was on in the early afternoon and it was on CBS. Always.
Then at four o’clock, NBC would have the Rose Bowl, in which Southern California or UCLA would beat the snot out of the Ohio State-Michigan winner.
Later that night, NBC would have the Orange Bowl. By the way, that’s all these games were called. The Orange Bowl didn’t have a sponsor and it was played in a stadium called the Orange Bowl. Not the Florida Orange Juice is delicious, you should rush out and buy some now dot com Bowl. I know, things were weird then. Oklahoma and Nebraska would take turns piling up 500 wishbone (ask your parents) rushing yards against some fancy pants pretender like Florida State.
Then, ABC would have the Sugar Bowl, featuring Bear Bryant (ask your parents) and his porkpie hat and a few “whoa Nellie’s” from Keith Jackson, who was the only reason anyone ever needed to watch a football game. He was usually teamed up with a former coach from the south who talked about the bad things that could happen when you “thow” the ball.
Today? I don’t know, I think the playoff semifinals are tonight, followed later in the week by some Bowl games that used to be big, but now feature acres of empty seats, then eventually the Northwest Mutual Home Depot Mercedes Benz Bud Light championship game somewhere around the first of February.
That’s all the time I have, there are some kids on my lawn.