This week’s edition of Don’t Bet On It! borders on being done, what with my having already taken you around the S.E.C. and serenaded you with the national games of interest in iambic pentameter lame lazy doggerel. All that remains is the selection of the national game of disinterest.
As you know, I am of the firm conviction that, when presented with the choice between football and not football, the choice should almost always be football. There are exceptions, of course, but not as many as most normal people suppose. For instance, when faced with the decision whether to celebrate Independence Day (not football) or watch an Arena League game (football), it’s not as easy as loading up the picnic basket and running off for an evening of fireworks and patriotism. You have to ask follow-up questions, like, "Is it a critical National Conference Mitsubishi Eastern Division game between the Dallas Desperados and the Philadelphia Soul? Would our Founding Fathers want me to miss the chance to root for the Philadelphia Soul on the Fourth of July? If you’d rather watch fireworks than root for the Philadelphia Soul on the Fourth of July, why do you hate America?"
Nevertheless, there are some games that fail even to reach the low threshold required to capture my interest. Each week, I identify this irredeemably lame outing and declare it the national game of disinterest. This week, that shameful distinction falls upon . . .
I know what you’re thinking. How can I be so narrowminded as to demean a cross-sectional game between B.C.S. conference teams? Please. The Bears and the Huskies are B.C.S. conference teams in exactly the same sense that your annoying kid brother was on your baseball team in the game you played in the neighbors’ back yard.
Sure, he was on the team . . . because your mother made you take him with you. Let’s not pretend anyone picked him voluntarily. U.Conn. was invited into the Big East because the league needed warm bodies on the gridiron and legitimate players on the hardwood within a limited geographic area. Who else were they going to get, Maine? If Ann Richards had gone to Texas Christian, Baylor would have spent the last dozen seasons working its way up to the status of a perennial contender for a fourth-place finish in the West Division of Conference USA.
Oh, you think that’s harsh, do you? You were about to throw records up in my face, were you? Yeah, O.K., so the Bears are 2-1 and the Huskies are 3-0. Fair enough. How’d they get there, though? Connecticut throttled Hofstra (yes, Hofstra) before beating Temple (yes, Temple) in overtime (yes, overtime) by a final margin of 12-9 (yes, 12-9). Granted, they beat the snot out of Virginia, but the Cavaliers getting steamrolled is starting to look less and less like a rarity.
The Bears, on the other hand, were driven into the dirt by Wake Forest in their own building, took out their frustrations on a Northwestern State squad that has demonstrated its willingness to be a rent-a-win for any Division I-A program that schedules the Demons on more than 24 hours’ notice, and manhandled a Washington State squad that won the title "Worst Performance by a Pac-10 Team on a Weekend on Which the Pac-10 Turned in the Worst Performance Ever by a Major Conference Other Than the A.C.C. or the Miami-Era Big East." (On the plus side, though, the Cougars are making a huge push to bring Erin Andrews to Pullman!)
You see this expression? This is what I look like when I’m not impressed. (With Baylor and Connecticut, I mean, not with that whole Erin Andrews thing. I’m all about me some Erin Andrews, but I digress.)
To top it all off, this is what ESPN is offering as its Friday night fare. I could have been kicking back to watch a thrilling Sun Belt affair pitting Florida Atlantic and/or International against Louisiana-Lafayette and/or -Monroe, or perhaps even enjoying a Western Athletic Conference clash between the third-best team in Utah and the second-best team named "San Something State."
But noooooooooooooo . . . I had to get Baylor at Connecticut.
Do yourself a favor. Watch this instead:
You’ll thank me later.