No matter what coaches and some misguided fans say about the serious business at hand when it comes to these postseason games, that they are competitive showpieces upon which programs are best built and best served by grinding and working and winning, the single most pressing issue actually is how much fun everybody's going to have.
Victory is almost always more fun than defeat, but … where that victory is had is hugely important, too. Not through the prism of tradition, rather through the prism of a good party, through the prism of a little good day sunshine.
Think about it, Cougars and Aggies. As I write this, it's zero degrees outside and everything around here is covered in a sheet of ice. I was in San Diego on Monday and, to quote Paul McCartney, I need to laugh, and when the sun is out, I've got something I can laugh about. We take a walk, the sun is shining down, burns my feet as they touch the ground.
Good day sunshine.
Good bowl sunshine.
The Poinsettia Bowl is played in one of America's great bowl cities, even though the bowl itself ranks more than halfway down a list of about 10,000 also-rans. The Fight Hunger is not a great bowl, it's just in one of America's great cities, period.
Anybody rather be going the last week of December to … Shreveport or Nashville or El Paso or Atlanta or Memphis or Charlotte or the Bronx or Houston or Birmingham or Detroit or Boise or Albuquerque?
A few bowls incorporate the best of both tradition and location, such as the Rose and the Sugar and the Orange, but short of that, BYU and Utah State should be more than happy with what they got, especially in seasons where neither team was top-drawer.
Let others have the biggest trophies. You have the time of your life.
The Cougars and Ags and their fans are going to places where the players can be rewarded for a long season and the fans can enjoy a fantastic vacation. It doesn't matter whether the Aggies were matched up with Northern Illinois or Alabama, they still get Mission Bay and the Gaslamp Quarter, they get Old Town and La Jolla, they get the beaches and the zoo. They get blue skies and temperate temperatures.
Whether Steve Sarkisian has bolted for USC, it shouldn't make a bit of difference to BYU and its fans in playing Washington at AT&T. There's still Lombard Street and Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate Bridge, there's the Presidio and Pier 39. There's Jerry Garcia's house.
Competitively speaking, the matchups aren't bad, but the experience is even better. Nobody around here, other than athletic directors and administrators, should worry too much about prestige, or the money that comes with a few of the upper-echelon bowls. Somewhere along the way, football fans became too obsessed with things that shouldn't be their concern.
What should be their concern is having a blast.
Aggie fans, get out of Logan, rent a place in Carlsbad, buy a plastic Christmas tree, invite friends and family and knock yourselves out. Wake up with a wreath or a lampshade on your head. Cougar fans, do whatever you do. Forget about what LaVell said. Take the Ten Commandments and a hundred-dollar bill and at least break the latter. Break two fistfuls of the latter.
Follow what another great songwriter Paul Simon wrote: Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you.
Make them, first.
This is your chance to reward yourselves, to pat yourselves on the back for caring so much about a football team that made you proud on some weekends and made you weep on others. What they make you do on the 26th and the 27th is icing on the cake or tinsel on the tree or eggnog in the cup. Bring in the Yule log and toast yourselves in the name of what college football should be.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.
P Utah State vs. No. Illinois
Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m.
TV • ESPN
Fight Hunger Bowl
P BYU vs. Washington
Dec. 27, 7:30 p.m.
TV • ESPN