Friday, January 2, 2009


I love college football, but after watching all five of yesterday's bowl games I'm a bit hung over.

Congrats to the Hawkeyes on their decisive win, which will prevent the (overrated) Big Ten from pitching a perfect post-season o-fer. And as it turns out, JoePa, USC is exactly who we thought they were.

The Trojans' domination of Penn State in the 2009 Rose Bowl begs a question: If Coach Pete Carroll and his team are so damned good (and they are), how is it that they manage to blow a gimme game (Stanford, Oregon State) every season, it seems? I can't quite figure that.

Six more bowls remain, including Monday's matchup between OSU and Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, before Thursday's climactic (sort of) BCS Championship game. I'd better pace myself.

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The first time that my wife and I celebrated New Year's together, she introduced me to her pork-and-cabbage tradition.

It's said that eating such a meal, variations of which exist all over the world, will bring prosperity (from the cabbage) and progress (from the pork) in the New Year. We can always use some of both, so I'm in.

Last night's version of our culinary ritual consisted of a pork-loin roast bathed in a glaze of apricot preserves, vinegar and mustard. Since sauerkraut doesn't go over well in our household, cabbage came to the table in the form of cole slaw.

(To any Southerners reading this blog -- no, there were no black-eyed peas, despite Mrs. KintlaLake having lived in New Orleans for a time. I'll have to ask her about that.)

Right now, the leftover roast and glaze, along with barbecue sauce and pickled garlic, are getting acquainted in our slow cooker. Tonight we'll enjoy zesty pork sandwiches and the last of the slaw. Them's good eats, for sure.

But will it bring us good luck? Stay tuned.

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6:30pm: The Cotton Bowl (and dinner) just concluded -- an entertaining game with a surprising outcome. I look forward to these grand old gridiron events, the handful of real bowl games -- Rose, Cotton, Orange and Sugar -- that I remember from my youth.

That's why I was disappointed to learn that the venerable Cotton Bowl stadium, after today, will no longer host the Cotton Bowl game. Beginning in 2010, the bowl will be played in the Dallas Cowboys' new palace, forsaking heritage and tradition for commerce and comfort. With the move, only "Rose Bowl" still will connote both a game and its venue.

Some time-honored traditions, on the other hand, just strike me sideways. Seeing the Kilgore Rangerettes perform at halftime of this afternoon's game, for instance, seemed...I dunno, not right. There may be much to admire about a troupe of high-kicking cowgirls with a 68-year history, but nothing says "I'm a dinosaur" quite like the Kilgore Rangerettes.

It works in Texas, I guess, and I'm sure that somewhere there's a far more sophisticated blogger who judges my own favorite traditions to be corny as hell. But the way I see it, if the Academy Awards were held in Dallas (perish the thought), I'd half-expect an appearance by "Up with People."