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Hey, football fans, have we got a bowl for you

College bowls, we've seen a few. Here at home, a sweet little spot called the Rose Bowl has spiffed up its luxe seating and looks to be a hot ticket down the line.

December 05, 2012|Chris Erskine
  • Rose Bowl premium seats are mostly sold in box suites, but individual club seats, here along bottom row, are also available.
Rose Bowl premium seats are mostly sold in box suites, but individual club… (Carmen Porto )

We need a new rule: You cannot go to a bowl game unless you are in the top 25. Some 70 teams will play bowl games this year, including 6-7 Georgia Tech. Wisconsin comes to the Rose Bowl with five losses.

What's this, AYSO? Every player gets a bowl game?

We have a generation of kids entering adulthood who were never spanked and received trophies whether they won or lost. Now they all get bowl games. Good luck, America. There goes Social Security.

Meanwhile, Americans are so desperate for college football that they will attend something called the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. For vegans, there's the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Sometimes, it seems the NCAA sits around and looks for ways to satirize itself.

In addition to all those bowls named after pizza and chicken, there is also a Fight Hunger Bowl. If there's one thing football fans know a lot about, it's avoiding hunger. One game this year, the fan next to me — big as a Chattanooga Choo-Choo — overlapped so far into my seat that I charged him 20 bucks to park.

At one point, he learned over, pointed at something and said, "Hey, you gonna eat that?"

I said, "No, sir. That's my son."

Look, I'm as dopey about college football as the next dope, maybe more. Spent Friday night at the Rose Bowl, and there wasn't even a game there. Dropped by to check out the new suites during a viewing party for the Pac-12 championship on TV.

Sounded like a perfectly horrible experience, but it was still better than most things I do on a Friday night. Besides, there was a chill rain in the air — cars colliding everywhere, sheer madness in the streets. No way was I going to make it to my clothing-optional fencing class on the Westside.

So off to this viewing party at the Rose Bowl, where the first guy I see is Mark, and the second guy I see is Sharon. Wait, Sharon's not a guy. As I said, it was rainy and my brain was starting to fog.

The Rose Bowl has added these new suites because in the culture of modern athletics, you cannot have a first-rate fan experience unless the wealthy corporate types are fussed over and comfortable.

I just wish they'd just put some backrests on the Rose Bowl's 90,000 bench seats.

Years ago, they called the Titanic a monument to capitalistic excess, and so are many of today's sports stadiums — grossly grand and built with titans of industry in mind — though most, such as Staples, contain a surprising amount of midpriced laminates and Ramada-quality furnishings.

In any case, I'm for anything that moves the needle away from L.A. Live, which I've never really warmed to. The place has all the charm of a Buick dealership in Tustin.

And you have to admire the Rose Bowl's sense of timing. They are selling this luxe seating just as the Bruins are bursting with promise. A year or two from now, they will be steamrolling a team like Stanford, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the final BCS championship game, right here at the Rose Bowl in 2014.

How'd you like to be recruiting receivers when you have Brett Hundley dealing the cards the next couple of years? Jim Mora, should he decline the inevitable NFL enticements, looks like the best thing to happen to UCLA fans since white wine.

Straight off Rembrandt's brush, this Rose Bowl setting. Jackie Robinson played here. Michael Jackson moonwalked at halftime shows. Great tailgate setting, easy access.

And now, the only thing that had been missing: winning football.

Is there something here for you? Single seats in the three-level press box/suite area start at $2,000 for a UCLA season.

In a six-game season, that's a little more than $300 per contest, not exactly a bargain but probably not as excessive as you might have guessed. Similar seats to the Notre Dame-Alabama BCS match are going for $6,000.

You want excessive, opt for the four-person loge-level boxes, which go for $24,000 a season, including the Rose Bowl game itself. Those boxes jut out over the crowd and are closer to the field. Still, they work out to three times the price of the similar single seats.

As they say in the desert, you do the meth.

Me, I'm just snapping up the last few crumbs of another topsy-turvy college football season, one of the best ever.

This night, at the viewing party overlooking an empty stadium, a Texan named Gary is finishing a story with " Clorox and buttermilk," and another guy is starting a yarn with, "Sophomore year at Walsh there was this girl..."

Life. Football. It's just about the people. It's always about the people.

Twitter: @erskinetimes

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