Monday, December 28, 2015

It may have been Hoosier lame, but it was more than Fighting Illini gave us

I’m not much of a football fan, and have a tendency to think the surplus of college bowl games tends to cheapen the whole affair.

Blue wound up beating on Red
Yet I couldn’t help but be amused by the mighty attempt of the city Gotham to impose its will on the glory of college football – what with the Pinstripe Bowl being played this weekend.

THE GAME PLAYED at Yankee Stadium that tries to impose the aura that the New York Yankees bring to baseball onto the world of college football would up having to turn to the Big 10 to find a recipient.

But while the Rose Bowl will have Iowa take on Stanford and the Big 10 team that likes to think it represents Chicago (Evanston-based Northwestern) will get to partake in the Outback Bowl, the Pinstripe Bowl wound up resorting to inviting the Indiana Hoosiers for a participant.

They got to take on Duke University.

Think about it – Indiana vs. Duke. It sounds like a competitive college basketball matchup; one that would legitimately be worth the hype and spin that the Pinstripe Bowl types tried to put on the football game.

FOR THE RECORD, Indiana almost managed to bring glory to the Midwestern U.S. – falling short in overtime on a field-goal kick that I’m sure Hoosier football fans will forevermore claim was something they got cheated on.

They may well think they should have won – instead of taking a 44-41 loss.

Although the fact that Indiana qualified for its first bowl game appearance in nearly a decade with a team that had a 6-6 won/loss record makes me think that Hoosier fans ought to be grateful their team got to spend a Christmas holiday break in New York City – certainly more entertaining than the Christmas Day I spent in Hammond, Ind. Breathing in cigarette-infested air while trying to keep from letting slot machines take all my money.

The relevant Rodriguez
Personally, I watched the game more out interest of seeing how Yankee Stadium plays as a football facility. For the record, it worked much better than that 2010 football matchup at Wrigley Field between Illinois/Northwestern.

PERSONALLY, I WAS hoping that when freshman running back Alex Rodriguez scored a touchdown that briefly gave Indiana the lead, somehow that lead could have held up and that the story would be how Alex Rodriguez scored the winning touchdown in a bowl game at Yankee Stadium.

Just because I know many baseball fans who would wretch at the very thought – what with the way they want to rag on the baseball version of Rodriguez every chance they get.

The bigger name after today
I’m sure they would have choked on the very thought of it!

But that storyline didn’t hold, nor did any Indiana lead. Those of us with Midwestern loyalties will now have to suffer the shame and humiliation of losing in football to Duke University, of all teams.

ALTHOUGH BEFORE THOSE of us from west of State Line Road start gloating that this is merely Hoosiers showing their incompetence, we must admit that our own state university’s Fighting Illini couldn’t even qualify for a bowl game this year.

Those boys in the orange and blue (who inspire the Bears of the blue and orange) probably wish they could have escaped the environs of Champaign/Urbana this past week for some time in Manhattan (and not the one in east central Illinois).

Let’s only hope that those boys in purple can do something significant come Friday when the Northwestern Wildcats take on Tennessee in that Outback Bowl – which is nothing to the locals in Tampa, Fla., but a game played in the stadium where the Buccaneers play during the fall.

We could have used more glimpses of the cheerleaders
Or else on Friday in the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium when Notre Dame takes on Ohio State. All in all, a slew of football matchups that eagerly have me counting down the roughly seven more weeks until baseball spring training.


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