Friday, December 28, 2012

Has Anyone Seen Phil Ford?

For a lot of us today is the final work day of 2012.  While I know for example that Rob's office if open on Monday, mine is not.  Candidly I do not quite get why one needs to have one's place of employment shuttered on New Year's Eve Day.  Speaking solely for myself, I tend not to hit the bars until noon or one o'clock in the afternoon at the earliest to get my "revel" on for the coming of the new year.  A half-day therefore would have been more than sufficient for my purposes.   You can imagine how disappointed the people who share space with me at the Firm are not that my point of view - clearly the minority viewpoint - is not carrying the day this year.  Sadly, if they have peeked ahead to the Firm's 2013 holiday calendar they will see that next year on December 31st the office will be open for a half-day.  The boss does read the suggestion box.  Who knew? 

Today also marks the end of the college football season for the young men who call the banks of the old Rar-i-tan home.  Rutgers is playing Virginia Tech late this afternoon/early this evening in Orlando, Florida in something known as the Russell Athletic Bowl a/k/a "the Bowl that does not have fans in the stands but rather has athletic supporters".  Truth be told, no one refers to it by that alleged "a/k/a/" and I doubt highly if at any time between opening kickoff and final gun anyone associated with either the bowl or the broadcast shall do so.  

I am a fan of Rutgers football and will likely watch at least some of tonight's game.  It feels to me as if RU last played about three and one-half years ago.  In fact, they last played a touch more than four weeks ago.  I was part of the crowd that watched them squander a 14-3 halftime lead against Louisville and lose a game that - had they won it - would have earned them their first-ever conference title in football and a birth in one of college football's "big money" bowl games.  They would have been part of the Bowl Championship Series.  Alas, it was not to be.   

I read in the Star-Ledger shortly before Christmas that playing in this game might actually end up costing RU and Va Tech money.  Apparently both schools were/are obliged contractually to sell 15,000 tickets for tonight's game.  As of seven to ten days ago, neither school had sold more than approximately one-third of its allotment.   Kudos by the way to Frank Beamer's Hokies.  Virginia Tech is itself a school and a community that has spent its unwelcome time in the national spotlight due to a single-day, mass killing of innocents.  Tonight the Va Tech players will wear decals on their helmets honoring the memory of the fifty-eight people who were murdered in Blacksburg, Virginia and Newtown, Connecticut and the efforts of the surviving members of those respective communities to ensure that that single incident shall not define them.  

Perhaps the lords who preside over college football will take as a sign of some sort the fact that two schools that historically travel well to whatever bowl game they play in are having extreme difficulty peddling their tickets for this game as support for the position that there might be one or two (dozen) more bowl games than necessary.  For some reason I doubt it.  

This is after all the same group of geniuses who corrupted the best sports-viewing holiday of the year by taking steps to ensure that New Year's Day is no longer the end of the college football season.  This year the BCS title game - Notre Dame vs. Alabama (known in the Clausen family as "Catholics vs. Cousins") will be played on January 7.   Bear in mind if you will that the first bowl game was played almost two weeks ago when Arizona and Nevada met on December 15 in the New Mexico Bowl - where sadly not one person associated with the game proposed playing without a play clock in an effort to introduce the "Four Corners" offense into college football.  Wherefore art thou, Phil Ford? 

While there will still be a slew of games played on New Year's Day - including the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl - between the final gun sounding at the Orange Bowl on New Year's night (and the game is being played in Miami so here is to hoping that the gun being fired is the one in an official's hand) and the Championship Game on January 7, not fewer than five other games shall be played.  The two that immediately precede the Notre Dame/'Bama tilt?  The always-popular and tradition-rich BBVA Compass Bowl (January 5) and the GoDaddy.Com Bowl on January 6.   You know you are glad you asked.  I know I am glad that I took the time to look it up....

....for now we both have close to ten days to figure out what we are going to do next weekend.  The Five Ps.  Ain't they grand? 

-AK

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