Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rose Bowl preevoo

I originally wrote this for, but it wound up on the cutting-room floor. The question of the week was "Who's going to win the Rose Bowl?"

I was asked the other day, "Who do you like in the Rose Bowl?" And the first thing that popped into my head was: "Not Mack Brown, that's for sure." Which is significant. I never had much of an opinion about the Texas Longhorns, positive or negative, until Brown bitched his way into last year's Rose Bowl. If I'm reading these marketing materials correctly, Texas is supposed to embody the frontier ethos: Ride high in the saddle. Let your guns do the talking. Drink your whiskey without water. Light matches with your teeth. And, as Jim Bowie famously said at the Alamo, "If getting a BCS bid is so important to you, then don't get shut out by Oklahoma." When Brown's team failed to take care of its own business, the coach worked over the voters, complaining, groveling and complaining some more. In Texas they call that "crying like a woman." Or, at least that sounds like the sort of thing they'd say down there.

It worked, and that's how I found myself, oddly, rooting for Michigan, the Longhorns' opponent. I grew up in Minnesota resenting how the Wolverines scaled the heights of college football year after year while the Golden Gophers remained at Smokey Joe Salem's Base Camp with two broken legs. I guess I hated myself as much as Michigan, is what I'm saying. Either way, when a team is so distasteful that it gets me actively rooting for Michigan, you know it's serious business. So I wanted Texas to lose, which of course means they wouldn't. This year, I'm pulling just as hard for Southern Cal.

And that's why Texas is going to win this year's national championship.

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