Tuesday, January 1, 2008

You’d have to watch 32 bowl games to equal the nutrition found in one Total Cereal bowl game…

Tis the season for umpteen million college football bowl games. Blah blah blah blah blah…..

When I was younger, I remember the Rose Bowl, and maybe a couple others, like the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Sugar Bowl. Nowadays there are no fewer than 32 bowl games to further pander to the masses who clamor for more and more mediocre teams to make a post-season appearance. In days gone by, only the teams with the best records went to bowl games; now it seems that anyone with at least a 6-6 record who might draw a tv audience is invited to a bowl.

The bowls simply serve now as a means for teams to get TV exposure one last time before the NFL scouts and more importantly serve as 4-hour commercials for the bowl’s sponsors. Oh, yes, there will be sponsors. You have the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. There’s the Chik-Fil-A Bowl, which used to be the Peach Bowl. The Humanitarian Bowl started as the Blockbuster Bowl in 1990 to publicize the Blockbuster Video chain. Carquest Auto Parts then took over sponsorship and renamed it, of course, the Carquest Bowl. It's became the MicronPC.com Bowl after being the Crucial.com/MPC Computers Bowl but has now morphed into the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl. Nothing says “humanitarian” like corporate sponsorship.

The Gator Bowl is more properly known as the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, as it is no longer the Toyota Gator Bowl or the Outback Gator Bowl, or even the Mazda Gator Bowl. Outback now sponsors its own bowl game, having usurped the old Hall of Fame Bowl. There’s still a Sugar Bowl, but it’s now the Allstate Sugar Bowl, after having recently been the Nokia Sugar Bowl. The Orange Bowl is now the Fed-Ex Orange Bowl. What would the Fiesta Bowl be without a sponsorship from Tostitos? Add salsa and all our gridiron dreams come true.

And of course, there’s the “grand daddy of them all”, the venerable Rose Bowl. The original bowl game, held since 1902 in conjunction with the Tournament of Roses and the eponymous parade, the traditional New Year’s Day game is now brought to you courtesy of the fine folks at Citi Bank after previous sponsorships by corporate entities like Sony’s Playstation 2 and AT&T, who now brings you what used to simply be the Cotton Bowl.

In the future we’re sure to see the Halliburton Filthy Excess Bowl, the Pepto Bismol Toilet Bowl, Red Bull Tapeworm Bowl, and Ambien Hallucination Bowl. In a rare inter-sport show of camaraderie, Major League Baseball will also sponsor it’s own college football bowl game, to be called the MLB Steroid Scandal Asterisk Bowl.

Then again, I guess I should also in all fairness point out that today’s phenomenal outdoor hockey game played in freezing snow at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium in front of 72,217 fans was officially the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic. No one’s immune from sponsorship it seems, so hey, corporate America…this here blog is a perfect place for your advertising dollars.

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