CAMP LEG: The True BCS champion? The Rose Bowl & ABC

Ok, so that's two champions.

But more satisfying than Garrett Gilbert’s comeback attempt or ultimately seeing Pac-10 hater Mack Brown stripped of his McCoy Wonder and hung out to dry was the way in which ABC handled their BCS coverage of the Citi National Championship game Thursday night.

In contrast to FOX’s previous BCS outings earlier in the week - mired with relentless in-game cutting to sloppy fans, bored flag girls, and empathetic band members (or see below) - ABC had the <faux wall punch> audacity! to let Brent Hee-Haw Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit take a back seat, and allow the Rose Bowl's dazzling pre-game show to simply...glow. All by itself.

Yes, she's blind. But don't blame me for exploiting, blame FOX.

Immediately prior to kick-off, Musberger remarked on just how spectacular the calm before the storm of a championship game is (not that the bowl remotely reflected this) and that a few moments pause might allow TV viewers a hint of a taste of the stadium spectacle.

And then, quietly, ABC let the electricity do the talking.

Sweeping crane shots of screaming, warring Texas and Alabama fans (take note TCU) were joined by heaven-high views of swinging spot lights and tenacious pre-game fireworks. Players traipsed up and down the sidelines nodding their heads emphatically while coaches paced back and forth wondering how high their bowl bonus might reach if they won.  And I swear Herbstreit didn't say a word until one minute had passed on the game clock itself. 


TCWho? (And your fingers are dumb.)

Leave it to seasoned college announcers and Disney to successfully sell the magic of the moment, as opposed to the force-feeding of commentators and a network known predominantly for their pro coverage of the game.

Then, to make matters even sweeter, Keith Jackson was there to not only flip the commemorative coin but lean over to the captains and mic-lessly remind them of how "hollowed" the ground upon which they stood still is.

And he couldn't be more correct.


Keith "Touchdowhn Ollabamma" Jackson

I've had the blessed opportunity to play at the Rose Bowl twice in my life. And for a sports lover growing up in the SoCal area it was pretty rare that my first visit there would actually be as a player. Most of my friends had already witnessed World Cup matches or concerts or other events from those benches in Pasadena. But for me I was completely caught off guard.

Granted, Cal wasn't there based on our merit or accord like the two teams last night - it just happened that an away game versus UCLA was on the schedule. But as I trotted out for pregame warmups I took a quick moment to inhale deeply, watching the finely cut grass kick up as I swept across it, letting the paint sink into my cleats.

And as my coach smacked his whistle against my helmet he snorted "Shrek!" (his nickname for me as I loved movies) "...It ain't that special," I figured that was his way of lowering the bar. Kind of how Gene Hackman does by measuring the arena rim in Hoosiers for his small town team. Yup, still 10 feet.


"Men. If there's a gun in this here locker room I'm gonna be pissed."

Yet, despite my final Rose Bowl experience ending with UCLA fans storming the field to sarcastically pat me on the back as my OT field goal bounced off the left upright, I still get that Christmas morning feeling when flipping on the TV on January 1st or, even better, for a BCS natty game in this 70-degree weather.


Me after the doink!, taking a dump on my college career.

I now live in Pasadena (more for convenience than the stadium, sorry to say) but still can't help but glance across the valley to the round bowl every time I cruise the 134 highway. Even the stupid stadium exits make me smile. The grandaddy of 'em all indeed.

So as the college season comes to a close *sigh* let me award my Network and Stadium Of The Year Oscars to both ABC and the Rose Bowl. For without them we would not have had Vince Young successfully rocking the night sunglasses, Lee Corso hanging in there despite the stroke, Pac-10 games in primetime, a time-out counter, or Dave Matthews screaming "Why I Am" into a mic for the six thousandth time.

Ok so maybe not the last one.

But FOX gave us this so...


Wait. And no timeout counter??!?!?

So congrats to ABC and The Rose Bowl. And congrats to Alabama for turning the TIDE (ha! see what I did there?) from a non-deferring, punt-faking, onside kick victim-ing utter mess to 2010 National Champions!


See how much better Hook Em looks without that girlie pinkie?

Tyler Fredrickson was a punter and placekicker for the California Golden Bears from 99-03 and then went on to kick four years in the NFL with Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Washington and Oakland.  He is currently in the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California while working in film development. He also consumes Spielberg and Star Wars probably more than his allotted daily allowance should permit along with loving thai food. And wine. He drinks like a horse. Not really.

(OK, really.)

But not really.

He can be reached at

More on Geekweek


Sign in to comment with your TypePad, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo or OpenID.