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HOWARD ROSENBERG

Confessions Of Bowl Boob On A Binge

January 01, 1986|HOWARD ROSENBERG

Confessions of a bowl boob. . . .

Now that the electrifying California Bowl and Cherry Bowl and Independence Bowl and Holiday Bowl are old news. And now that Baylor and LSU and Ohio State and BYU and Georgia and Arizona and USC and Alabama and Washington and Colorado and Oklahoma State and Florida State and Air Force and Texas and Army and Illinois and Michigan State and Georgia Tech have played the Liberty and Citrus and Sun and Aloha and Freedom and Gator and Bluebonnet and Peach and All-American bowls.

Now that I've squandered the holiday season watching half the nation's colleges, universities and institutions for higher horseplay and advanced athletics engage in redundant post-season competition. Now it's time for the annual New Year's Day ritual that elevates trivia to an even higher art and gives new meaning to meaningless. Now it's time to waste an entire day and evening on . . .

THE BOWLS.

The college football bowl glut continues with today's traditional Cotton Bowl (CBS), followed by the Rose Bowl (NBC), followed by the simultaneous Sugar Bowl (ABC) and Orange Bowl (NBC). And opposite the Cotton is the upstart Fiesta Bowl (NBC).

Oh, boy! Five more bowl games whose outcomes you won't recall a year later when you sit down to watch five bowl games on Jan. 1, 1987. Five more reasons to surrender your brain to Alpha waves. Five more chances to tolerate a marathon of beer commercials. Who would endure this farce? Who, I repeat, would squander life's precious moments--up to 10 hours--on such an empty feast? Who would be this . . . this . . . this shallow? Uh . . .

Me .

Here's the grand plan: Out of tradition, I begin with the Cotton Bowl, pitting Texas A&M against Auburn, whose Heisman Trophy-winning runner, Bo Jackson, is not enough reason to watch this nerd of bowl games. But I watch anyway, because it's New Year's Day, frequently switching to the potentially more thrilling Fiesta Bowl featuring Michigan and Nebraska. But not much more thrilling.

The Cotton and Fiesta bowl games should conclude in time for the start of the Rose Bowl, where UCLA faces Iowa in a game I could live without. But I watch anyway, because it's New Year's Day.

The Rose Bowl should conclude in time for the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl kickoffs. The Orange Bowl, featuring top-ranked Penn State against second- or third-ranked Oklahoma (depending on which national poll you believe), is the only game I really want to see, because it's probably for the national championship. But I frequently switch channels to Miami and Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl--a game I don't want to see--because it's New Year's Day.

And after the Cotton, Fiesta, Rose, Orange and Sugar bowls comes the grand finale, the bowls-over/hangover, at which time I mentally hold an ice pack against my forehead and repeatedly ask myself:

"Why . . . did . . . I . . . do . . . this . . . again ?"

Whittling would have been more rewarding. You could also have more fun sleeping, or scratching. But it's New Year's Day, and the call of the bowls is irresistible.

There is another traditional way to squander New Year's Day--but there I draw the line. A bowl boob, yes. A parade boob, never.

As usual, coverage of the annual Tournament of Roses is skimpy. It's being telecast only by KTLA, KTTV, KMEX and CBS and NBC, leading to the kickoffs for the Cotton Bowl on CBS and the Fiesta Bowl on NBC.

And while UCLA and Iowa are clashing in the Rose Bowl on NBC, the annual Cotton Bowl Parade will provide 90 minutes of guaranteed snores on CBS. And all this bowl parading was kicked off by the annual King Orange Jamboree Parade celebrating the Orange Bowl New Year's Eve on NBC.

Talk about your thrills.

If you've seen one float, you've seen them all. If you've seen one Maid of Cotton, you've seen them all. Same goes for parade telecasts, which the networks use as yet another stage on which to promote their own series and stars. And conversely, the stars' popularity may rub off on the parade. For example:

Co-hosts for NBC's Tournament of Roses spectacle, for example, are Pat Sajak of NBC's "Wheel of Fortune" and Phylicia Ayers-Allen of NBC's "Cosby Show."

Meanwhile, CBS really got serious, picking CBS stars Ana-Alicia of "Falcon Crest," Ken Kercheval of "Dallas," Peter Scolari of "Newhart" and Martha Smith of "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" to co-host its coverage of the Cotton Bowl parade. And CBS stars Bob Barker of "The Price Is Right," Bruce Boxleitner of "Scarecrow and Mrs. King," Mary Frann of "Newhart" and Joan Van Ark of "Knots Landing" are hosting "The Tournament of Roses" on CBS.

As a bonus, says CBS, "season's greetings from many members of the CBS family of stars, pre-taped on the sets of their respective series, will be interspersed throughout the program." No thanks. I know a threat when I see one.

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