I realize that I am old, and that makes me “old school.” Having admitted that, I have the following observations:
n I don’t enjoy the bowl season as much as I used to. This past week, I was looking forward to watching Oklahoma and Florida play in the Cotton Bowl. I was unaware of all of the Florida “opt outs.” The game felt more like an exhibition game as Florida played many young players. I understand the reasoning of players for opting out, but I don’t like it. Opting out of playing is a trendy way of saying “I quit.” Quitting on your team should not be applauded.
n It’s tough to please college football fans. Years ago, the college football world complained that the No. 1 and No. 2 teams could not play each other because of bowl tie-ins. The BCS system was put into place to solve that problem. It worked, but that was not enough. Then everyone wanted a playoff. Now, we have a four-team playoff and that is not enough. Now we want an eight-team playoff. Will that stop the complaining? I doubt it. We have a 68-team NCAA basketball tournament and there is still complaining about teams that get left out.
n In case you hadn’t noticed, the playoffs have made all the other bowls seem meaningless and has contributed to the opt-outs. Expanding to eight teams won’t necessarily stop the opt-outs. It just makes the season longer. Do the elite players really want to play more college games? No! They want to go to the NFL and get paid.
n Many fans in our state watched the Liberty Bowl Thursday. I am old enough to remember when WVU played in the 1964 Liberty Bowl. The game was played indoors in the Atlantic City Convention Hall. The Mountaineers lost to Utah 32-6 in front of just 6,000 fans. That WVU team was led by former Meadow Bridge and East Bank quarterback Allen McCune. The Liberty Bowl finally gave up on the cold weather and moved to Memphis in 1965.
n Yes, I am old. I am old enough to remember watching the 1964 Liberty Bowl in Conley’s Barber Shop in Rand. The place was packed. In the days before sports bars and chicken wings, the barber shop was a cool gathering spot to watch football.
n Occasionally, I am asked about my favorite New Year’s Day memory. My answer is 1995, traveling to the Rose Bowl. My children were the perfect ages of 14, 13, 11 and 5. The scenery and parade was incredible. The game was perfect. My wife got a behind-the-scenes tour of the making of the floats.
I did lose my 5-year-old daughter briefly while in line for the Matterhorn at Disneyland. There is no doubt that cost me my Father of the Year nomination. In a small-world moment, I went to the official Rose Bowl luncheon and seated at my table was former Charleston newspaper legend Sam Hindman and his wife, Iris. That was a trip of a lifetime.