For the past two years, I have had the honor of volunteering my time to the Texas Bowl. As you can imagine, a Houston bowl game would be something that is right up my alley. Every year, it is an amazing opportunity for the city to strut its stuff for a national audience. It also gives us the chance to show other cities exactly how a bowl should be run. I know, I know, Houston has a dubious bowl history, but there are few, if any, bowls that take place in a stadium as fine as Reliant. In fact, until the Cotton Bowl moves into the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, the closest any bowl comes to matching the quality of the Texas Bowl is the Fiesta Bowl in the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. Besides, Houston is the second largest city to host a bowl game in the country.
However, for the Texas Bowl to ascend to the top of the bowl heap, it’s going to require a considerable amount of support from the city of Houston. That is what I was so excited about thie year’s match-up between TCU and UofH. Two Texas teams were just what this Bowl needed after a very successful debut with last year’s match-up between Rutgers and Kansas State. Also, let’s be clear, the Texas Bowl is a NEW bowl, not a redo of previous, failed bowls like the EV1.net and GalleryFurniture.com. There is a new sheriff in town, and they are building a very strong foundation for what should become the next great NCAA bowl game.
This year’s match-up gave the locals a great opportunity to see what this game is all about. The Texas Bowl, with one of the best bowl logos in the country, is a celebration of everything that goes into being a Texan. The mystique, pride and, yes, more than a fair share of bombast is on display for everyone to see. All you need to be successful in this region is to tap into that unquenchable thirst that Texans have for football.
The good news is that Lone Star Sports Entertainment is building a strong foundation for our local bowl, and is attracting a lot of positive attention from other conferences. Look, I love me some TCU and UofH, but I would rather see some nationally significant programs. As it turns out, the Texas Bowl’s greatest coup may have been last year’s Rutgers appearance. Rutgers was a bowl darling last year, and came from the BCS Big East Conference. They had nothing but glowing things to say about us when they went back to New Jersey, and, as a result, the Texas Bowl was deemed the greatest bowl turnaround in NCAA history.
Of course, it is too late to get involved with the Texas Bowl this year, but I must tell you that it was one damn exciting game to miss! No, I am here to ask you to start planning NOW for next year’s Texas Bowl. As I will be involved in some fashion, I can keep you abreast of developments as they become available. In short, this needs to become an annual event for Houstonians to rally around. The fact that it will continue to fall between Christmas and New Year’s makes it a perfect panacea for the holiday lull. Plus, this year would have been a perfect opportunity for out of towners to spend a full weekend in Houston for the Bowl and New Year’s. People think me crazy for the idea that Houston is just as good as any other place on New Years, and I’ll readily admit that I am stone cold crazy. 600 square miles gives you a lot of room for New Year’s parties, and I am hoping with all hope that Discovery Green weighs in with a premiere event next year.
I am also hoping for more local participation from a retail and commercial standpoint. Bars, restuarants and clubs need to put on their A game for the Texas Bowl. You might be surprised to find out that the Texas Bowl brings in nearly the same economic impact of one Super Bowl, and it’s an annual event. There is no reason we shouldn’t be partying like its a Super Bowl every year! I know some folks aren’t so keen on supporting a football game when you have no interest in either team, but I can tell you from experience, it’s actually better because you never have to really care about who wins. I was as tense as a cat in a rocking chair factory last night throughout the entire game. I was up for a good two hours afterward because I couldn’t wind down. Last year? After an exciting win by “my” team Rutgers, I was able to hit the sack pretty much right after I returned to the team hotel. Which reminds me, the Hyatt Regency, with this city’s (inexplicable?) premiere New Year’s celebration is one of the team hotels for the Texas Bowl. Tell me that doesn’t scream opportunity!
No, it can be as easy as picking your favorite color between the two teams, and cheering with reckless abandon. I know, we’ve been saddled with Red (Rutgers and UofH) and Purple (K-Sate and TCU) these first two seasons, but they have to get new colors next season, right? It shouldn’t take too much arm twisting to persuade you to purchase a new Texas Bowl outfit every season. Hell, you’ve even got the after-Christmas sales to help you find something at bargain price! Think about it, Super Bowl parties are all about having fun with friends instead of the game, why should the Texas Bowl be any different, I mean REALLY!
Houston, 2008 is the year to embrace your local bowl. I’m telling you this at a time when we are all considering New Year’s resolutions. Resolve yourself to getting into the full bowl spirit next year. This will incur the following “sacrifices”:
1. A new Texas Bowl team specific, but tasteful, ensemble.
2. A number of great parties with visiting fans and alumni.
3. A visit from friends who may be alumni of one of the visiting schools.
4. Did I mention the parties?
5. Oh, and I did mention that you have a reason to shop for new clothes. (READ: After Christmas Sales!)
Hmm, let’s see . . . shopping, drinking, socializing, football and fun? Do you really need convincing? See you next year!