As a kid, I woke up to a brand new year with the Rose Bowl. I didn't actually watch the game, but I remember it was a staple of New Year's Day, just like the ham my mom always cooked on that day, part of a sizable feast to start the next 365 days off right.
I also recall the Orange Bowl, which took place on the same day in Florida. Again, I was far too preoccupied with squashing goombahs with Mario's feet to watch the game, but I loved the idea of the Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl, tangible symbols that marked a new year.
Checking out the 2008-09 Bowl schedule, I haven't got a clue what game is what. It's as if my mom started serving hot dogs on New Year's.
I admit, I'm not a college football fan, but I used to know the various bowl games: the aforementioned Rose and Orange bowls; the Sugar Bowl; the Fiesta Bowl.
Now, there's the EagleBank Bowl. EagleBank, according to its Web site:
"...is a local community business bank with fifteen offices in Montgomery County, MD, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. The bank focuses on providing superior customer service and custom financial solutions for the local business community. EagleBank also offers a complete line of competitive personal banking products and services."
That's good to know, should I ever start banking in the greater Washington, D.C. area, but there's no real link to college football, is there? I have to presume in its business plan, EagleBank does not include a section indicating..."in conjunction with quality banking products, EagleBank is dedicated to bringing a Bowl game to Washington. Oh, and also mortgages!"
The Rose Bowl was given its name after the Tournament of Roses parade that began in 1890 in Pasadena. In 1902, in order to boost tourism, Tournament president James Wagner offered up $3,500 to cover the cost of shipping the University of Michigan and Stanford University football clubs to Pasadena for a game. The rest is history.
At the very least, it would appear Wagner was a college football fan. EagleBank is just sponsoring the event, which makes it seem like a greedy cash grab in order to drum up business at EagleBank. In this day and age, it's not a shocker, but it does seem kinda dirty. We'll all need to hit the showers after the game is over.
The same goes for other bowl games, like San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, which just doesn't roll off the tongue like, say, the Fiesta Bowl, which is fun to say. Fiesta Bowl! Now, try the saying the cumbersome San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Just a tad stuffy, huh?
Anything with more than six syllables should be disqualified from Bowl contention. Even if you call it the Poinsettia Bowl, the official, dull, and difficult name remains in all the books.
Then there's the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, which is a less-than-subtle attempt by the hotel chain to tell fans, "Hey, if you're checking out the Hawaii Bowl, why not stay at the beautiful Sheraton Hawaii, where we offer seven resorts on the most beautiful beaches in the most beautiful islands on Earth, the Hawaiian islands?"
Did they mention it was beautiful?
Even the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl are no longer the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl. It's now "The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citibank," a company which can't even keep its own affairs in order and is looking at New York City taxpayers to help 'em out with naming rights to the Mets' new stadium.
The Orange Bowl is the FedEx Orange Bowl. Make the right choice—choose FedEx! Oh, and feel free to choose Cincinnati or Virginia Tech at the same time, 'cause we don't really care.
Corporate greed is what drives the revenue behind sports these days, and unfortunately, that's the way it's gotta be for now. It has to be a bummer for the hardcore fans of the bowl games, too, those who have been watching for decades, to see it reduced to this.
It's time to take the naming rights back from the corporate suits and give it to the fans, those in the know. Perhaps as Bleacher Report grows in popularity, a pitch can be made by the powers-that-be to have a bowl game named after the site, where some of the most rabid college football fans hang out.
It would be great to wake up on Jan. 1 to the smell of ham wafting through my parents' home and the Bleacher Report Bowl on the tube. You can bet I'd put down my Nintendo controller to tune in.