Wednesday, December 27, 2006

BOWL PREVIEW: Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

December 28th brings us the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. What holiday is marked on Dec. 28? Glad you asked. Most people are unaware that the Holiday Bowl is held to mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents:
The Massacre of the Innocents is an episode of Herod's infanticide, attested in the Gospel of Matthew 2:16ff ... According to Christian tradition, the described events fulfilled a verse of Jeremiah, interpreted as a prophecy of this event: "Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children."
In the event, King Herod the Great ordered the execution of all young male children in the village of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn "King of the Jews", whose birth had been related to him by magi.
This, come to think of it, is a lot like the way Cal's season has unfolded this year. The team, and Jeff Tedford, came into the year with dreams of a national title, which were promptly smothered in their crib in a rout at Tennessee that can only be described as apocalyptic.
Come to think of it, it can also be seen as a metaphor for Dennis Franchione's coaching stint at Alabama, with Myles Brand playing Herod and Dennis Franchione playing Joseph, trying to get his family out of Tuscaloosa as quickly as possible. Only Joseph was a lot more noble. And honest. So maybe it's not such a great metaphor.
Tedford at Cal? Or Franchione at Alabama?
Bowl: Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
Location: San Diego
When: Dec. 28, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Purported reason for existence: To match the Pac-10 runner-up and the No. 3 selection out of the Big XII.
Real reason for existence: Because one bowl just isn't enough for the rabid college football fans in San Diego.
Teams: Cal vs. Texas A&M
Interest level: The season premiere of 24. The bowl season has really, actually, truly arrived.
"It's here! It's here! Now, show us some blood!"
Key player for California: RB Marshawn Lynch, who 1,657 all-purpose yards this season leads the team.
Key player for Texas A&M: QB Stephen McGee, who generates about 230 yards of offense each game and is efficient, if not stellar, in the pocket. He has thrown but a pair of INTs alongside 11 TDs.
Winner: Cal. Tempting fate, I know, choosing the Bears over a team that can actually play football, as opposed to whatever Dirk Koetter was trying to do at Arizona State. But Cal starts fast, having outscored opponents 248-116 in the first half. If the Golden Bears can do the same to Texas A&M -- who would obviously prefer to run the ball -- it could throw off the Aggies' gameplan.

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