Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Forget the Alamo

As regular readers of Sweaty Men Endeavors (and my mother ship blog, Fried Rice Thoughts) likely know, I'm a graduate of the University of Iowa. But I've spent most of my life in Ann Arbor, rooting for the University of Michigan. I've been a conflicted man over the past two years, an Ian divided, and to paraphrase George Costanza, "an Ian divided against itself cannot stand!"

So Sunday's announcement that the Outback Bowl chose Iowa for its game over Michigan was a tough one for me. Like all Michigan fans, I was angry over the Wolverines getting snubbed. And that was an outright snub; Michigan is the higher-ranked team, and oh yeah, beat Iowa (at Kinnick Stadium), which should be the ultimate tie-breaker. I'm disappointed to see the January bowl game streak come to an end, and would've preferred a match-up against a Florida team with Urban Meyer and Chris Leak.

I'm not as disappointed as Schembechler Hall ("like making out with the hot girl's not-nearly-as-hot friend") and MGoBlog ("by 'enjoy,' I mean 'tolerate'"), but I'll admit I'd be much more interested in the Alamo Bowl match-up with Nebraska if the 1997 teams from each school suited up. Go get Scott Frost and Jason Peter to suit up for Nebraska. Michigan, call up Charles Woodson and Brian Griese. (Or maybe since Griese blew out his knee this season, they can play Tom Brady instead. That's fair, isn't it?)

But maybe the old college football adage - if you have to lose, lose early in the season - applies here. Michigan's loss to Ohio State is fresher in the mind, while Iowa ended the season with two big wins over Wisconsin and Minnesota. Ultimately, an Alamo Bowl bid seems like an appropriate end for Michigan's season - a mediocre bowl to commemorate a mediocre season. Neither lives up to previously high expectations.

Of course, my inner Hawkeye is thrilled. Iowa's own January bowl streak continues, which I hope further cements the football program's place as a growing Big Ten and national power. Beating Florida again would be a big step toward attaining that status. (And if it's anywhere near as exciting as last year's Capital One Bowl victory over LSU, I'll need to watch the game in a padded room for my own protection.)

Overall, I'm feeling bittersweet. Iowa didn't deserve to be chosen over Michigan. Yet the Outback Bowl believes Iowa will bring more fans to Tampa. I initially found that hard to believe, but maybe there's some truth to that opinion. Would Michigan fans buy fewer tickets, still sore from a disappointing season? Would they save their money and vacation plans in hope and anticipation for a better bowl game next year?

Michigan's probably received a more prestigious bowl bid or two based on reputation and their traveling fan base, so getting passed over for similar reasons shouldn't cause many hard feelings. Unless you think this indicates something more ominous. Dave Dye touches on this fear in the Detroit News' Big Ten Blog - are the times a-changin' for the Michigan football program?

But maybe the Outback Bowl's reasoning is a bit simpler. Never underestimate the desire of an Iowan to go somewhere else when he or she has the chance. Those winters are brutal, and any opportunity to enjoy sunshine and fun over cold and isolation will be taken enthusiastically. (And if you think Ann Arbor's a ghost town while the students are gone, try looking for a soul to talk to in Iowa City when school's out. Remember the scene in 28 Days Later when Cillian Murphy's character wakes up from his coma and wanders through London? It's something like that, with those staying behind to get drunk filling in for the zombies.)

Either that, or the bowl officials were impressed by Iowa's ability to blow up press boxes.

And it's not just bowl games Iowa's taking away. They're coming into Michigan and getting players, too. Of course, Michigan got Adrian Arrington last year, so that probably evens out. Maybe the best recourse would be for the Detroit Lions to hire Kirk Ferentz as their head coach. Wait a minute - what am I saying? I don't want that. Not as an Iowa fan or a Lions fan.

See? An Ian divided against itself cannot stand!

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1 Comments:

  • At December 07, 2005 12:44 PM, Blogger Sports Litter said…

    No way Iowa beats Florida again. Meyer and the boys are gonna romp them. This isn't the Zooker anymore. We aren't going to lay down in bowl games.

     

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