King Kaufman's Sports Daily

GMAC Bowl? I'll take New Orleans, Vegas or San Francisco, thanks, as long as Notre Dame stays home. And other rivalry weekend thoughts.


Salon Staff
November 25, 2003 1:00AM (UTC)

If I were a player on a team good enough to go to a bowl but not good enough to win the conference championship, I might be secretly wishing to finish a little lower in the standings if it meant going to a city where I'd have more fun.

For example, the second-place team in Conference USA goes to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., but the fourth-place team goes to the New Orleans Bowl. Neither game is particularly prestigious, but I'd rather spend a week or so in the Big Easy than in Mobile, wouldn't you? Nothing against Mobile, you understand, but we're talking New Orleans here, and I'm a hypothetical college student.

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The No. 3 Pac-10 team goes to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, while either the fourth- or fifth-place team will go to the Las Vegas Bowl. The Big East runner-up goes to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The No. 4 or 5 team goes to the San Francisco Bowl. "Would it be so bad if we gave up this touchdown and finished 8-4 instead of 9-3?" I might be thinking.

I think this attitude of mine, combined with a lack of physical ability, explains why I didn't play college football.

  • There are few sports headlines sweeter than "Irish out of bowl picture," spotted in Sunday's Indianapolis Star. The Fighting Irish are 4-6, but could have snuck into a bowl through their Big East connection if they'd won their last two and the conference hadn't had five winning teams. Boston College and West Virginia won Saturday to clinch winning records, joining Pittsburgh, Miami and Virginia Tech, so the Irish are out even if they do finish 6-6.

    Losing records and long offseasons for Notre Dame are good things. Anything that hastens the day when NBC decides to abandon its contract to show Notre Dame games is a good thing. The network proclaims it's happy with the deal, even though ratings have been down this year, but the contract is up in two years, as is the Bowl Championship Series contract, and the smart people seem to think that in the next deal Notre Dame won't get the same sweet entree to the big bowls it now enjoys.

    If all this means that the national airwaves won't be clogged by more awful matchups featuring mediocre Notre Dame teams -- ooh, boy, Navy again! -- then that's the best news in college football since the Big Ten discovered the forward pass in the '80s.

  • If you watch sports on TV you've probably seen that commercial for "Have Love Will Travel," an album by actors Jim Belushi and Dan Ayckroyd. Boy, will I be glad when this record is safely in the cutout bins and that spot is off the air. It looks like a "Saturday Night Live" parody -- "Donald Rumsfeld sings Peter Allen!" would seem like less of a joke -- and sounds like karaoke night at Big Al's Grill and Bar. Closing time on karaoke night.

    The boys sing classics like "Polk Salad Annie" and the title track, "their signature song." Give me a break. Their signature song would be "Vanity Project Blues." ("I got a weekly series"/"And my career's in the dumps"/"But we both like to pretend/That we're not lousy-singin' chumps ...")

    The commercial ends with them wheezing out "Time Won't Let Me." Won't let you what? Learn to sing? Get over the fact that the Blues Brothers were 20 years ago, and they were a comedy act? What an annoying commercial. Where's that "Can you hear me now?" guy when you need him?

  • I live in the United States. According to some pretty moronic ads running on ESPN, that's where hockey is "made." The commercials are set in a factory, get it? (This is the Advertising Age version of the Sports Daily.)

    Well, since I live in this hockey hotbed of a country, I didn't get a chance to see Saturday's game in Edmonton, which several people who participated in it or watched it said was the greatest event in the history of hockey.

    The Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens in Commonwealth Stadium, home of the Grey Cup champion Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, in front of 57,000 people. The Oilers said they had 700,000 ticket requests for the first outdoor regular-season game in history, and while that might be a lie, it's not a typo. Seven hundred thousand. With the temperature hovering around 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill at 15 below, the Habs won, 4-3. Earlier in the day, a team of Oilers old-timers, including Wayne Gretzky, beat the retired Canadiens 2-0. The old guys shunned helmets, even though most of them, including Gretzky, always wore them in their NHL days.

    I love the photos of Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore wearing a ski cap over his mask and helmet during the game. Since I couldn't make it to Edmonton, and in honor of the brave souls who played and watched Saturday, I've written this column outdoors, where it's 44 degrees, wind-chill 38, and raining.

    That's also not a typo, if you get my drift.


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