NU: Waiting for the bowl (12/6/08)
In the final analysis, the wrenching paw clenching about which bowl Northwestern will play in is an utter waste of hubris.
Much too much is being made about the comparative prestige of second-tier bowls - whether Iowa will jump NU, whether Morton Grove will invade Evanston while everyone is away, how well the purple passionate does or does not travel, blah, blah, blah, et cetera, et cetera, pete cetera, oomph.
An informal poll of hirsute media homies and some idling Potawatami bingo women on Friday afternoon revealed that the world outside the Enchanted Lakefront is more concerned with:
1) How well O.J. will do in iso;
2) Whether President-elect Obama will correctly attempt to restart the dismantling of the Federal Reserve that President Kennedy attempted to begin in 1963; and,
3) Why is Billy Corgan getting yet another shot at resurrecting his grossly depressing pee-weep rock? Don't those people know that angst pop is only mainstream digestable when times are good? This new Smashing Pumpkins come-around is right out of Radio Jonestown. Li'l Tommy Edwards would never program feel-bad swill like this.
(Speaking of which: Everyone chortles about the Tribune's Fred Mitchell - unless you need a mention in his column - for his relentlessly milquetoast sportswriting. Kind of like Randy Jackson critiquing Up With People. But his piece on Tyrone Willingham this week and Willingham's transcendent take on the retention of Charlie Weis at Notre Dame was superb sports journalism. Next time Bon Chuckles sees Coach Ty at the Old Country Buffet tray line in Mishawaka, the hope is that the incumbent ND coach and his house account are buying. With a doff of the blue-and-gold Jell-o cup to Fred Mitchell!)
Back to the NU bowl: The official announcement will be forthcoming late Sunday afternoon. All Bowie knives point to the Alamo Bowl. Maybe there will be a red bicycle in the basement.
But - payoff coming...really - the quality of the bowl at this point in the Pat Fitzgerald era is not the primary concern. The primary concern is whether Fitz and his purr-matics can shake the 59-year hex that has loomed over the program and win a bowl game.
And, slotting into a mid-level bowl game like the Alamo may be the perfect accelerant to continue the ascendancy of the new happy days in Evanston. Besides, "10-3" will sound so much better next August than "9-4."
The worst that could happen - Brooklyn Bridge, 1969 - is that NU winds up in an undercard bowl on New Year's Day and gets hammered by some teeming left-out power program and ignored in the day's crush of sports happenings.
That would be a depressing and inglorious conclusion to a dandy season on the E.L.
And then maybe they would have to have Billy Corgan come around and drone through the NU fight song at the team's post-season banquet.
And that is that.
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