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Monson: Honk if you care about BYU in the New Mexico Bowl
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Honk if you think 35 bowl games are too many.

OK, OK, stop honking.

Honk if you're willing to throw hard Christmas cash on the barrel to travel to Albuquerque on Dec. 18 to watch BYU play Texas-El Paso or Ohio or Fresno State or Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl.

Anybody?

Honk? Honk?

There might be a couple of reasons to do so if you're a nut-job fan, but they hardly elicit the enthusiastic party sounds of ultimate college football postseason celebration. There might not be much justification to pay the airfare or gas the van up and drive the seven or so hours to the Land of Enchantment a week before the holidays arrive.

BYU fans, like most human beings, aren't all that familiar with the New Mexico Bowl. They aren't all that familiar with a lot of modern bowl games. (Ute fans insert joke here about Cougars knowing nothing about BCS bowls.)

There was a time when any sports fan with any kind of self-respect could name most, if not all, of the bowls. Now, you might as well take mating habits of the White-faced Saki monkey for $500, Alex.

It's impossible.

Go ahead, try to name them: the Rose … the Orange … the Sugar … the Fiesta … the Cotton … the Gator … the Holiday … the Liberty … the Sun … the Vegas … the Poinsettia … the Chick-fil-A … the John Deere Classic … the Dinah Shore … the Virginia Slims … the Shamrock Meats … the Little Miss Muffin …

Here's some so-called legitimate ones you might have missed: the Beef 'O'Brady's, the New Era Pinstripe, the TicketCity, the New Orleans, the Military, the GoDaddy.com, the Kraft Fight Hunger, the BBVA Compass.

What's it say when we can't even make fun of the Meineke Car Care Bowl or the Little Caesars Bowl because they've actually sunk into our collective consciousness from being around a while?

There, of course, have been more than a few bowlfuls of bowls that have gone the way of the Mexican grizzly bear. Remember the All-American? The Bluebonnet? The Freedom? The Cherry? The Garden State? The Salad? The Pineapple? The Raisin?

Whatever happened to the Poulan Weed-Eater? Air Force will play in it under the banner of what it was before and what it is again: the Independence.

Way back in the day there was something called the Bacardi Bowl, played in Havana, Cuba.

Now, we get the Music City and the Champs Sports.

They're all supposed to be community endeavors that celebrate college football. But 35 is too much celebrating, a record number of celebrating, so much celebrating that a provision had to be made that would enable the games to be played even if there weren't enough teams with at least a .500 record.

It's flat-out party inflation.

Does 6-6 UTEP deserve to glorify its season after losing five of its last six?

Does 6-6 BYU, which started so poorly, deserve to honor its effort?

Coaches love the idea of proliferating the number of bowls because it gives them an increased chance of tacking an extra three or four weeks of practice onto their seasons.

They euphemistically call it "spending time together," as in, "I'm looking forward to spending another month with these guys."

Translation: "Most of these fellas have underachieved for months, so we're gonna work some more on mastering the stuff they've messed up on since August."

Moreover, if a team caps a marginal season with a bowl win, even a win in a crappy bowl, in some cases, it gives a head coach better job security.

Whether that's something for fans to lionize and legitimize with their hard-earned money spent now to buy tickets and travel distances is a whole 'nother matter. The problem is, if fans don't spend that cake, then they are seen as hampering the program in the future because they won't travel. If they don't travel, then opportunities for certain programs might become more limited. And so it goes.

Not to mention that bowls, in general, from top to bottom, are businesses benefiting certain groups, taking advantage of an antiquated system that has hijacked the college football postseason and continues to stand in the way of a legitimate playoff.

That's not pageantry, it's piracy.

But we digress.

BYU has been on the upswing, winning five of its last seven games. Even its tight loss at Utah has been taken by some as an encouraging sign. That might be enough to prompt a good number of its fans to go to Albuquerque and to see if more progress is being made.

Still, a celebration it's not, it shouldn't be. Anyone who says otherwise is a …

Honk.

GORDON MONSON hosts "The Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 1280 The Zone. He can be reached at gmonson@sltrib.com.

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