BOWL PREVIEW: Allstate Sugar Bowl
When it comes to bowl sponsorships that appear to have no relation whatsoever to the game's original name, you have to give the nod to the Sugar Bowl.
"The Rose Bowl, presented by Citi" has always sounded like it maintains the unbelievably superiority complex of the game itself. "We shall not call ourselves anything other than the Rose Bowl, by golly, but we will take mililons of dollars to find some other way to slap your name on our logo."
In fairness, that has little to do with the sponsor's name. It could be "The Rose Bowl, presented by the Taliban," and it would still have essentially the same effect.
We will slaughter the Big Ten infidels in our stadium.
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl? Perfect fit. The FedEx Orange Bowl? Eh, a little odd, but at least some of their letters are orange.
But the initial sponsor of the Sugar Bowl was Nokia. Cell phones and sugar? Probably not that tasty. Now, it's Allstate.
Watch the Sugar Bowl, or he will throttle you with his bare hands.
This year, the bowl features the one player who might be able to beat Dennis Haysbert to a bloody pulp: Man-monster JaMarcus Russell, who might or might not be playing his last game, though I would submit that drafting Russell to the NFL right now would be like leaping off a building with a rotting bungee cord.
Bowl: Allstate Sugar Bowl
Location: New Orleans
When: Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET (kickoff), FOX
Purported reason for existence: To pair two BCS teams.
Real reason for existence: To some of us, it seems as if this game was created so we could witness the humbling of Georgia on national television.
Teams: Notre Dame vs. LSU
Interest level: A monster truck contest. You want to see just how badly the cars get crushed. Substitute "cars" with "Notre Dame."
Key player for Notre Dame (on offense): QB Brady Quinn, who so deserved the Heisman despite looking like a scared little child every time a Michigan defender came within five yards of him. After that game, though, Quinn did fairly well, and on the season passed for almost 3,300 yards and 35 TDs against 5 INTs.
Key player for Notre Dame (on defense): DL Victor Abiamiri, of whom you likely have not heard because he is on the defense, leads the team with 10.0 sacks. He is also second with 14.5 TFL.
Key player for LSU (on offense): Russell, who has thrown for nearly 2,800 yards and 26 TDs, often with three or four defensive linemen draped from various parts of his body. Though he has thrown just 7 INTs this year, they seem to come in bunches.
Key player for LSU (on defense): DE Tyson Jackson, who has 10 TFL, 8.5 sacks, a pick, three broken passes and a forced fumble to his credit. Pressure on Quinn will be essential to shutting down the Irish offense.
Coaching matchup: Les "Sombrero" Miles will lead the LSU Tigers against Charlie "Wirty Dords" Weis who, ESPN will assure you, has shown himself in two years to be the second greatest coach of all time, behind Pete Carroll. Forget those Bryant, Paterno and Bowden guys.
Weis tries to decide if Miles or the trophy looks tastier.
Winner: LSU. This probably will not be the scalping that seems to be the constantly-debunked conventional wisdom (can it really be CW if everyone disagrees with it?), but it shouldn't be too close. I would not be surprised at a double-digit margin. I would be surprised at anything more than 14.