Friday, November 21, 2008

Both Sides of the Bowl Selection Coin

Growing up a Northwestern fan, I always resented the bigger schools with larger fan bases because they always screwed the Wildcats when they were fortunate enough to make a bowl. Take 2000, for example when NU beat Mighigan in one of the Big10's best games ever and earned a share of the Big10 title. At season's end though (and yes, I am still bitter), Michigan, loser of the head-to-head matchup, was selected for the Citrus Bowl. The teams had identical records, both conference and non. To make matters worse, OSU (a pseudo-institution of higher learning) enjoyed it's Aussie fries in Tampa despite finishing 5-3 in the Big10 (NU was 6-2). This chain of events sent a legitimate Big10 title team to the f-ing Alamo Bowl (only to get crushed by preseason #1 Nebraska, but that's neither here nor there).

["...probably because this whole world is against me" - Costanza...most likely a cynical Wildcat fan. Extra Credit: Elaine went to NU]

Many people assume that because of a school's size or the fact that it is a traditional powerhouse, it is more "bowl attractive". However, since 1995, Northwestern has had no trouble selling its full ticket allotment to the Rose ('96), Citrus ('97), Alamo ('00), Motor City ('03), and Sun ('05) bowls. NU's fanbase, while smaller and more distributed geographically, consistently splurges to see their Cats in the postseason.

Having said all that, being an Iowa fan makes things difficult this year. I've already made up my mind that (assuming we beat the Goophers), I'm going to the bowl because it'll probably be the Outback, and Tampa sounds a lot nicer that Chicago around Jan. 1st. In order to accomplish this though, I will have to sacrifice my Cats to the Alamo bowl again (assuming they beat Illannoy, which I believe they will, injuries or not). Because the Cats beat Iowa and will have a better overall record (again, assuming all goes to my plan tomorrow), I'll surely be labeled a hypocrite. And rightfully so. Perhaps I've sacrificed my juvenile idealism when it comes to bowl selection, but I can't get time off from work to go to an earlier game in San Antonio. Prioritizing work over fun...sounds like a life-lesson's "at work" here (pun intended). Is this what being a borderline-adult is all about? Anyway, to all you fans of the bigger school's (myself half included), remember, when you jump (literally screw over) Northwestern for a better bowl despite not having a better record and/or losing to the Cats, please take a moment to reflect on your good fortune and the fact that money and athletic reputation control the system.

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