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Rose Bowl throws a wrench into New Year's resolution

If dealing with the Wisconsin-Texas Christian game is an indication, writing with a more positive attitude in 2011 will be a huge challenge.

January 01, 2011|T.J. Simers

I resolve to write nicer this year.

Just for practice, I began early in New Orleans. I gushed positively about Bynum, Odom and Jackson. I praised Kobe and I can't remember the last time doing that. It didn't even hurt — much.

I'm telling you, I'm feeling good going into the New Year with this resolve to be upbeat. The wife and I finished off 2010 watching "The King's Speech," as uplifting a movie as I can possibly imagine.

Best movie and actor performances since "The Game Plan."

Maybe it's contagious. I'm nice, so the folks at the theater are nice. They see how old the wife appears, and give her a senior discount. In a few years, it will be really nice when she's eligible for one.

It's 10 a.m. now, the first day of 2011. I arrive for my Rose Bowl assignment and park. But before I can get out, some kid dressed all in red is throwing up in front of my car.

I look on the bright side right away. It's not Wisconsin grad and Times Lakers reporter Mike Bresnahan.

The young man, another dead giveaway it's not Bresnahan, is being cheered on by friends. I know the kid will be all right. They have more taverns than stoplights in Wisconsin, so these folks are used to throwing up.

Late in the game a Wisconsin fan runs onto the field. Last seen he was being chased by security. He was too far away to identify so we won't know for sure until Sunday night's Lakers game just how fast Brez can run.

Now no matter what happens, it's going to be a terrific day. I don't think I have ever come to the Rose Bowl not expecting a UCLA loss. I hope Rick Neuheisel is here to feel the same thing.

But the first thing I notice is what looks like a convention of Barney and Elmo enthusiasts. I've always wanted to know what a Nebraska-Kansas State crowd might look like without having to go to the game.

I don't always understand fans, but I do these people. If I had to walk around expressing a fondness for Bucky Badger, maybe I would drink myself into a stupor, too. If I knew I was returning to Wisconsin for the winter, I know I would drink myself into a stupor.

If your school's official cheer is:

"Rif, Ram Bah Zoo

"Lickety, Lickety, Zoo, Zoo

"Who, Wah, Wah, Who

"Give 'em Hell, TCU" …

…you're probably not going to be embarrassed walking around dressed as a grape popsicle.

I don't recognize the name of a single player or coach on the field. It's like going to a hockey game. But I know I'm supposed to care what happens because they are playing in our backyard.

Ordinarily, I get strangers in my backyard, I ask them to leave. They tell me they are Badgers or Horned Frogs, and I'm taking a golf club to them. Or, calling the cops.

I'm here, though, because it's like my civic duty. It's a big benefit to the Pasadena community. It seems to me they ought to be doing benefits for Placentia, but I digress.

Some folks are going to point out it's the Rose Bowl, but is it really? One thing that could always be counted on with the Rose Bowl was tradition, which offers an air of familiarity.

I know my resolve is to remain positive as long as I can this year. But if the Rose Bowl is any indication, I fear it's going to be a struggle. How can anyone take an interest in a game featuring teams no one cares about?

The only thing that would have made Wisconsin relevant was a Pac-10 opponent.

We have two perfectly good universities here which we really care about. I think one of them should play in the Rose Bowl every year to make it interesting.

But they don't even have a team in this Rose Bowl that beat one of our two perfectly good universities. And our schools lost plenty, so it's not like they couldn't find one.

We get fed this and that all year long about how it's the goal of every Pac-10 team to play in the Rose Bowl, and then we get TCU.

What's going on around here? This is the land of celebrities. So why do we get someone we've never heard of as Grand Marshal of the parade?

Paula Deen is not only a cook, whipty-do, but she lives in Savannah, Ga. Geraldo on assignment?

The Rose Bowl has lost its pizzazz.

Some writers might still want to gush about what it meant to tiny old TCU to win here. Everybody from Texas sure seemed excited. But you can watch "Friday Night Lights" to see that, as well as Connie Britton.

A few days from now the only thing folks around here will care about are the Lakers. I can't wait to write more nice things about them.

But to put it as nicely as I can, UCLA and USC better get their acts together. It's on them to make it a happy new year from the very start for everyone here.

The Rose Bowl just isn't the same without one of them.

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