It's not commonly known, but the Rose Bowl has been dead for at least fourteen years. That's when -- a year after one of the greatest Rose Bowls ever -- the Rose Bowl Elders exchanged nearly 50 years of tradition in return for the bags of money being offered by the devious minds behind the BCS.
Five years later, Miami (FL) waltzed into the Rose Bowl and destroyed Nebraska for the 2002 national title. The year after that, Bob Stoops and Oklahoma rolled up Washington State like a cannabis blunt. Two years after that, Texas got its first Rose Bowl bid. A year after that, in 2006, Texas beat USC in the Rose Bowl for the national title. (The NCAA has since attempted to purge our memory banks by striking USC's participation from the record books.)
Not that I really care about tradition. I've found "tradition" is usually nothing more than the last-line-of-defense for some idiot's argument in favor of archaic institutions. So I find it hilarious to watch people whine and wax philosophical about the Rose Bowl, as if it's some time-tested tradition which will live on the tongues of generations to come and echo through eternity.
Take, for example, Ted Miller's kindergarden ramblings which he published to ESPN's Pac 12 Blog yesterday. I don't even know where to begin with this train wreck, so we might as well begin where investigations tend to: at the beginning.
The Pac-12 blog's official stance on the Rose Bowl: It's awesome. Has been since 1902. If you've ever been to one, you are nodding.
If you are not nodding, you are either ignorant of the Rose Bowl experience or are untroubled by being wrong. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Is Ted Miller a paid professional, or is he a star-struck pre-teen princess reviewing Justin Bieber's latest single for her classmates? "It's awesome." Really? You're paid to arrange words on the internet, and "It's awesome" is the defense you trot out against Rose Bowl nay-sayers? (Also, has Ted Miller been to every Rose Bowl since 1902?)
I was born in the shadow of the Rose Bowl, the product of two Ohio State graduates. The state of Ohio is tattooed on my torso. I understand the Rose Bowl is "awesome", but it's comical to suggest it's anything more than a football game with some pageantry attached to it. Most of the time, it's just a meaningless exhibition at the end of a season.
When the BCS power brokers meet in Hollywood, Fla., this week with the intention of transforming the college football postseason, the Rose Bowl must be given special status. Why? If you were to request a list from the sports' cognoscenti on the greatest traditions in college football, most would rate the Rose Bowl No. 1.
The people behind the BCS are not "power brokers". They are simply ruthless businessmen with little to zero ethics who have found a way to suck bags of money from something millions of Americans find entertainment in. History is littered with amoral scumbags such as this. (More on them later.)
Ted Miller is apparently one of those people who like to use big words for no other purpose than using big words. The "sports' cognoscenti", Ted? What in the hell is that? You know that's a word usually reserved for people with fashion, arts, and literature knowledge, right? And who in the hell would the "sports' cognoscenti" be? Because in this piece, it appears the "sports' cognoscenti" is merely a euphemism for Ted Miller's opinion. That's why "most" of these non-existent cognoscenti "would agree" with him.
Some ACC, Big 12 and SEC fans might be shrugging. Their conferences don't play in the Rose Bowl, other than in a couple of BCS-mandated exceptional cases. Why should they care?
This is a petulant act which is disguised well enough to fool 98% of the people who routinely read ESPN blogs. Yes, why should every college football fan outside of the Pac 12 and the Big 10 care about the Pac 12's and Big 10's traditions? Especially when the Pac 12 and Big 10 are degrading their own traditions? (Utah-Nebraska would be a "traditional" Rose Bowl match-up this year.)
I bet Ted Miller has some well-reasoned thinking behind this.
Well, I don't live in Egypt, but I care about the pyramids. We're talking about history, folks, about tradition, about maintaining a connection to the past.
I thought a vessel in my brain had burst after I read this sentence. Really, I did. I collapsed in an orgasmic-like euphoria onto my lubricant of life-soaked keyboard and convulsed for an hour and a half.
"Did Ted Miller really compare the Great Pyramids of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, to the Rose Bowl, something which has barely been around for 100 years?" I wondered out loud when I awoke. I still can't believe he wrote it.
The only thing the Great Pyramids and the Rose Bowl have in common is both their legacies were built on the backs of exploited labor. Hell, I'd wager the arguments the Pharaoh Khufu put forth against paying his slaves probably sounded like an antiquated version of Mark Emmert's philosophies against paying his "student-athletes". I doubt, however, this the comparison Ted Miller was lustfully swinging for.
The Rose Bowl is a collegiate football game, which even if the stakes are a national championship, the results are trivial in the scope of human history. In 500 years, people will know of the Great Pyramids of Giza. I'm not sure I can say the same for the likes of the 2010 Rose Bowl. (As great as that Tresselization was to watch.)
We know that one of the four options that will be discussed -- as first reported by USA Today -- is the "Four Teams Plus" plan. It would make the Rose Bowl an automatic part of a "playoff" that would determine the national champion.
This is in regards to the ongoing BCS summit, in which the BCS blood-suckers are attempting to reform their broken system only so much as their bottom lines aren't mortally wounded.
It's hilarious to watch the heavy-handed approach these commissioners and the NCAA take when they're wrangling against unrepresented 18-22 year-old kids. There's talk of morality and grand-standing and all other sorts of bullshit puffery.
But when faced with their peers, these same people are bending the knee to people who have audacity to charge their institutions $182,830 for tickets for their bands? Are you kidding me? These people are so out of touch with the reality of this world that $182,830 isn't worth calling somebody on their bullshit.
What cards do these mystical BCS "power brokers" have over the NCAA and its institutions? Because the only thing I can see in their spindly meathooks is bags of money.
College football fans will travel into the darkest pits of Hell if the stakes are high enough. Lincoln, Nebraska, might not have the weather to compete with Pasadena in January, but fans would still travel there in droves. I'm supposed to believe Ohio State wouldn't send its goon squad to a place like Tuscaloosa to see a national semi-final banger? How are the$e discu$$ion$ with the$e BC$ clown$ not ending with commi$$ioner$ walking out in hysteric$? I don't get it.
This plan has been widely ridiculed, and for good reason. It's ridiculous. It continues to add subjectivity to the process instead of having more decided on the field of play. That's what we are trying to get rid of.
Finally, Ted Miller. Something we can agree on.
As I've said before, it doesn't seem that complicated to have a four-team playoff set, then let the Rose Bowl choose next, likely the best available teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten.
Why should the Rose Bowl get priority? Because it's the Rose Bowl.
Damnit, Ted, no! No! *beats him with a figurative stick* Why did he argue for subjectivity to be removed from the process, only to then to add in his own subjectivity to that very process?
The Rose Bowl is as bad and corrupt as any other BCS bowl. It's just the one people like Ted Miller have a lot of nostalgia attached to, and they think because of that, other people should have the same respect. That's a child-like philosophy to carry forth in this world.
The Rose Bowl sold its soul to the BCS. There is nothing special about the Rose Bowl. That's why Ted Miller can't come up with any other argument its defense other than "because it's the Rose Bowl."
Should there be flexibility to the Big Ten-Pac-12 matchup? Perhaps. It's already happened without great loss of life (though there has been a bit of wincing, particularly one year in Berkeley). It might be unavoidable. The game itself, however, is the most sacred relic.
I don't think Ted Miller knows what "relic" really means, because he's been arguing against turning the Rose Bowl into a relic through his entire meandering thesis. (I yearn for the days when things like the NCAA and its bowls are relics. Give me my 16 team play-off or give me death.)
The hope here is this won't end up being only a Jim Delany and Larry Scott crusade. The Big Ten and Pac-12 commissioners obviously have the most at stake among all the pooh-bahs in Florida, but there's no reason for SEC don Mike Slive et al to go all Sun Tzu on the Rose Bowl just to score an Art of War point.
My reaction to this paragraph was as the great philosopher Carmelo Anthony once tweeted, "Sweat baby jesus". This paragraph has it all. The non-ironic usage of the word "crusade", followed by a single sentence which contains the words "don", "et al", "to go all Sun Tzu", "Art of War point", and "poo-bahs". (The last phrase being a Ted Miller favorite.)
These phrases are wantonly chucked around about people who are fucking up a four-team college play-off. Let that sink in for a second. Also, Ted Miller was monetarily compensated for that sentence.
It would be great if Slive et al would take the high-grounded position and recognize the Rose Bowl's special status in college football.
There will be a lot of smart folks in Florida. Let's hope they are smart enough not to drive a carelessly placed wingtip into the game they are charged with protecting.
(There it is. Ted Miller's proverbial wingtip being driven into my sun-dried sack of testicles.)
There may be smart folks in Florida, but they won't be honest. Expecting these people to protect your "sacred relics" is the equivalent of trusting 21st century politicians to protect the Constitution of the United States. These people sold your "relics" for a sack of money as if it were a fencing operation at a flea market.
Why should other people respect our traditions when we don't even do the same? Why can't we scrap the system and move forward?
"Because it's the Rose Bowl. Because it's tradition."