Covering bowl no easy task
I was under the impression that the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was a giant bowl of buffalo wings. Not funny? I couldn't help myself.
This was my first bowl game and only the second college football game I've ever been to. Coincidentally, the last college football game was an ASU game at the same stadium when I was about 12. All I really remember about that was the stadium was on an epic mountain. I guess it's still on a mountain, but now that I'm standing at 5-foot-6 and a half the Tempe Butte isn't quite as intimidating.
Getting to Sun Devil stadium was an adventure in its own right. I left Yuma at about 10 a.m., ate lunch with some family in Sun City West and then finally got to the stadium around 4 p.m.
I'm convinced the Phoenix area was once ruled by ancient tribes who thought it'd be hilarious if they founded all the towns hours apart from one another. Every time I'm up here I get in the car to go somewhere and it's another 45 minute drive.
Now that I'd arrived, acquiring my credential was the next exercise in futility. I found the credential trailer pretty much by blind luck and there was just gobs of people trying to get their own. Everyone from vendors to security to mascots — well, maybe not mascots — were cramming their way to the front of the line.
I finally was able to smile pretty for my pass, but I soon realized I wasn't awarded a parking pass. This sent me on another 45 minute adventure to find cash (even though the ATM was only two miles away. I'm telling you, if you get in a car in Phoenix, you're not getting out for at least 45 minutes.)
Siri was less than helpful, driving me into campus parking lots, streets that didn't exist and light-rail tracks that spelled out certain doom. My phone knows Yuma pretty well, but I guess she still needs a little time to figure out the Valley of the Sun.
After finally parking, I climbed the mountain and finally got settled in the press box. I started flipping through the media guides, which are always filled with fun facts that will help me understand the matchup that's about to ensue.
For instance, did you know Texas Christian University head coach Gary Patterson has downloaded exactly 9,200 songs on to his iPod? I hope that number is right. I don't want to be passing along incorrect information.
The Michigan State media guide was less friendly. I guess the sports information directors had better things to do than check in on coaches' accumulative music total. I did, however, learn that Arizona Cardinals savior and star quarterback Brian Hoyer was once a Michigan State Spartan. I'm sure he kept an eye on this meaningless game as he prepared for his today.
I spent a little time on the field pre-game and the one thing that always stands out to me is that these players are not human. I'm quickly reminded I'm not a Gila Ridge-Cibola game. These guys are massive. I'm not sure it should be legal to be this large.
The game itself left a lot to be desired, and the endless media timeouts made it last longer than even the sparse crowd wanted it to.
But the people I have the most respect for in the whole building are the bands. I've been in marching band, and it is pretty much the worst thing ever. Dorky uniforms, freezing metal instruments and no respect. No respect I tell you.
All in all it was fun experience, but if the powers that be decided to contract some of the bowls, you wouldn't hear me whining.
Matt Carstens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6880. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/ysmattcarstens