Gridiron Rhetoric: Fiesta Bowl Edition

[Cross blogged for Leland Quarterly]

Amid all the talk of sportsmanship and integrity and athletic ability and scholarship, it’s sometimes easy to forget that at its heart, college football stands for one thing: spectacle.  Luckily, we have Bowl Season (sponsored by the Sizzler) to remind us.  We’ve already seen an Alamo Bowl (sponsored by the Texas Historical Society) to remember, witnessed the Air Force come under Rocket fire in the Military Bowl (sponsored by Cyberdyne Systems), and watched Cal go on vacation during the Holiday Bowl (sponsored by Cheese Board Pizza).  So what can the Fiesta Bowl (sponsored by T. Boone Pickens and John Arrillaga) possibly hold?

In a word?  Spectacle.  (Sponsored by Andrew Luck and Brandon Wheeden.)

I’d like to think that over the last fifteen weeks, I’ve touched on a lot of the traditions and topics that make college football such a unique experience.  And this week, during the biggest desert party of the year, they’re all on display.

Okay, second biggest desert party.

Ridiculous press build up?  Yeah, the game between Stanford and Oklahoma State is being billed as the offensive half of the national championship, with the LSU-Alabama rematch being left to the defense.  Oh, and headline puns abound, of course.

Mascot match up?  The Stanford Not-So-Much-the-Indians-Anymore versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys.  Poetic western backdrop for shootout metaphors is a go.

Between “Pistol Pete” and a horse named “Bullet,” it’s a wonder no one’s died at an OSU game.

Over-the-top fight songs?  OSU’s is “Ride ’Em Cowboys.”  It really doesn’t get much more over-the-top than that.  (Oh wait.)

And as for a venue, we have the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals and host to Super Bowl XLII, last year’s BCS Championship game, and Wrestlemania XXVI.  The stadium, located in the sprawling Phoenix metropolitan area, is the home field for the University of Phoenix, thirty-time national champions in seventeen different Division I sports.[citation needed]

The stage is, in every conceivable way, set.  It’s time for the Cardinal and the Cowboys to do what they’ve done best all season: play some damn good football.

Thanks for a great season, Stanford—and thank you for reading.  I’ll see you in Phoenix.

Finally finally, a look at some rhetoric from around the internet:

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