NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Saturday, November 30, 2007
By Bethany Bradsher
Time trifles away as men
All rights reserved.
Allow me to engage in a little gender
stereotyping regarding the Christmas and college football bowl seasons, if
Men have absolutely no desire to get a head
start on the holiday season. If they have a choice between 50 percent off in
November and full price on Christmas Eve, a man will go for the last-minute
adrenaline rush every time.
I’ve given up on dropping my husband gift hints
from catalogs or the Internet. He prefers to run the two-minute drill — dash
out to the mall on the 23rd, bump elbows with all of the other
procrastinating husbands and speed home with just enough time for gift
wrapping before the final buzzer sounds.
So I’m left to wonder, as the East Carolina
football team has spent a full week in bowl purgatory: How would all of this
be different if women were in charge of the bowl selection process?
The Pirates would already have their plane
tickets booked to either Hawaii or Mobile, and the bowl committee would have
sent a packing list suggesting appropriate outfits for the luau on the beach
or the low-country shrimp boil. They would know their opponent and they
would have logged hours viewing film in preparation for their holiday
But alas, most bowl and conference officials are
men, and apparently part of the thrill is in the anticipation. It certainly
doesn’t get much more surreal than capping off your regular season by
playing mental Ping-Pong between Southern Alabama and sunny Honolulu.
The only thing that became crystal clear on
Thursday was the fact that the decision would definitely wait until after
Saturday’s Conference USA Championship between Central Florida and Tulsa.
Officials from both the GMAC Bowl and the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl said that
C-USA officials were working with the bowls and had encouraged them to wait
until Sunday morning to move.
On Tuesday, the Toledo Blade reported that the
GMAC Bowl committee was on the verge of extending an offer to Bowling Green
after a Monday night meeting. It seemed like a done deal three days ago, but
the Falcons, like the Pirates, are still waiting.
The GMAC official declined to comment further on
his bowl’s scenarios, preferring to stay quiet until the details are
revealed. But Jim Donovan, the executive director of the Sheraton Hawaii
Bowl, was quick to roll out a brightly flowered welcome mat to the Pirates
if the chips fall into place for them to fill the bowl’s assigned C-USA
“I will say East Carolina is definitely in the
mix to come to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, and we’re actually pretty happy
about that,” Donovan said.
According to Donovan, the Liberty Bowl is the
only bowl with a priority lock on any C-USA squad. Even though it’s been
reported that the GMAC Bowl has the second pick and the Hawaii Bowl the
third, he said that the other placements are a result of C-USA and bowl
officials working together to determine the best compatibility.
“I prefer to think of it as (the) C-USA office
is working with all the bowls to slot the best teams that would work
geographically and competitive-wise,” he said. “It sure seems to me like
they try to put the best fit into the bowl games, and we’ve been really
happy with everybody they’ve sent us.”
The conference also seems to make a concerted
effort to send different teams out the Islands each year, he said, so that
as many C-USA players as possible can savor the experience.
Talk to Donovan for a few minutes, and you’ll
start checking airfares for a trip to his bowl regardless of who’s playing.
“I can guarantee that when your kids get off the
airplane and look around, they’ll be hooping and hollering
spontaneously,” he said. “We have luaus on the beach, we have a lot of
fun. A lot of our games have gone into the fourth quarter, because the
weather is so warm and everybody plays well and scores a lot of points.”
I know the arguments for the GMAC Bowl — a
better fan base, likely a more competitive opponent than a scoring machine
from the WAC. But I’ve never heard anyone extol the glamorous features of
Mobile and I doubt I ever will.
After talking to Donovan, I found myself hoping
that the Pirates would get to soak up the sun from a place that truly
represents a reward for a job well done.
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11/30/2007 01:49:59 AM