: I am trying to surprise my husband with a bowl trip this year but I don’t know how to communicate where we’re going. I thought we were going to the Orange Bowl, but then I looked it up and it said some sort of credit card company.
: Oh, I see what happened.
: You do?
: Why yes, you need COMMON LANGUAGE!
: Lamegwege? What’s that?
: Language! I use it all the time! It’s a body of words—and the systems for their use—that are common to a people who are of the same linguistic community. Here’s how it works:
Words are used to convey meanings that the listener is already conditioned to understand. The words enter the ear canal and are interpreted by the brain into cognitive thoughts.
: But I’ve tried that. What if, like, some credit card company pays to replace the words for a bowl game with their name?
: Silly April, you can’t BUY language! All you have to do is use words that your listener will comprehend.
For example here’s how you refer to all of this year’s bowl games in English:
(bold are the ones where they’ve done away with the real names. All times are EST. Click each logo to get the full size. Use however you like.)
You Call it
They Call It
San Diego County Credit Union…
The Military One at TCU
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces
(or Tampa II)
MSU (NTMSU)/ Miami (NTM)
Heart of Dallas or Cotton II
The Military one in D.C.
Cactus (or Copper)
Tangerine or Citrus II
Texas or Bluebonnet
Franklin American Mortgage…
Nova Home Loans…
Buffalo Wild Wings…
Outback (or Hall of Fame)
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
CFP National Championship
* semi-final games.
: So I’m a bit less confused, but why is the bowl in Jerryworld called the “Cotton Bowl” when the one played at the Cotton Bowl is called “Heart of Dallas”?
: I guess that’s why they added “Classic” to it, but yeah, words can’t fix everything. They can assist in communication, not guarantee clarity.
: So I can actually use these names to convey meaning to other people who speak the same language as me! Tell me, is this legal?
: Have you entered into a contract with any of the sponsors above where they pay you to replace words in your speech with their names?
: Well I told my wife last weekend that I want to go to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Then she went and booked our flight and told her mother we were coming to visit!
: Then why aren't you happy?
: Because my mother-in-law lives in Phoenix!
: She thought I meant the…whatever it's called I dunno—the one we went to against Kansas State!
: I see. Well it looks like you need LANGUAGE!
That's right, Steve! You see, I'm a scientist. And we here at the Human Race have developed a special patented technology called Language™ to communicate ideas using mutually understood sounds.
One of the keys to our Language™ technology is the ability to identify a person, place, or thing by association with a specific set of organic sounds called "nouns." Through the transmission and recognition of commonly recognized nouns within a grammatical framework, we make it possible for another human to actually understand what bowl you're actually talking about!
Our nouns are specially pre-formulated to achieve maximum comprehension. By using a noun your listener is already familiar with, the thing you actually meant to convey will be transmitted directly to the brain thing of your audience, enabling 100% instant, seamless, optimized, non-GMO return on linguistic investment.
: Wow! Where do I find nouns like that?
: Well that's the great news, Steve: you know them already! But if you hit THE JUMP right now, you can have all of these nouns that describe bowl games, and their commercial-free logos, for absolutely free!
I write this column every year: a plea for humans of the college football world to use clear language instead of the names they have for bowl games. Truthfully, a brand name for a bowl game communicates something, but think how much more accurately we could communicate if things like geographical location, history, traditions, and common, relatable experiences were more important than who pays the most.
I realize not everybody enjoys the ability to elegantly express ideas to other humans as much as I do, and that mercantile interests can be human interests as well. But since I started using language in my communication, I've experienced a 1000% improvement in comprehension, and I wanted to share that success story with you. Don't believe me? Here are some other humans who've benefited from this same extraordinary device:
: "Hello, I'm Steve, a relatable middle aged white man with the body, hairline, and lifestyle that other middle aged white men envy. My wife Janet and I are proud Bowling Green graduates and big fans of the Falcons. I wanted to get Janet a trip to BGSU's bowl game for Christmas, but when I triumphantly announced "We're going to the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl!" she was very confused. Then I discovered Talking Like a Human Being™, which taught me to tell Janet it's the "Camellia Bowl in Montgomery." Janet was thrilled, because the name communicated to her that we were going to a bowl game in Montgomery, and the flower association made it memorable!"
: "I'm Lewis, a non-threatening yet sexy young African-American businessman with perfect skin. My in-laws are coming to visit our tasteful suburban Atlanta home over Christmas, but they asked me to drive them to the airport the afternoon of December 31st. When I tried to explain that we would have to leave very early because of "Chick-fil-A Bowl" traffic, they thought I meant the South is just that insane over a fast food restaurant. But when I called it the "Peach Bowl," suddenly they could recognize the name of a big traditional football game that they've heard about since the late 1960s, and even offered to order a taxi so that I could stay home and watch it! Thanks, Talking Like a Human Being™!"
: "I'm Krista, a cute and friendly Minnesota undergrad. Men find me very attractive in an approachable way, and women want to be my friend because they wish they looked this good while rocking a knit scarf, high wool socks, and "" stickers on my cheeks. I was so totally stoked by my Gophers' great season, but when I told my girls we were going to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl they were like "that's a crappy one" because until recently that meant the old Copper Bowl. So then I said it was "the old Capital One Bowl," but then they got even more confused because that's now the name of the Orange Bowl—you know, the BCS bowl in Miami that Big East teams used to go to. Then I discovered Talking Like a Human Being™. And once I said "Citrus Bowl" my friends knew that meant the bowl that 2nd place Big Ten teams go to, and they were more excited than that one time our sorority went ice skating with Goldy!"
: "I'm Batman. Specifically, I'm Batman from that 1990s Tim Burton movie with Jack Nicholson that hits all the nerd-nostalgia buttons for men between 25 and 40. When I say 'I'm Batman', people know that I'm Batman, because I've been calling myself Batman since 1939. Could you imagine if I was like: 'I'm Batman, presented by Vizio?' I'm sure I could make some money by doing that but to be honest I'm already filthy rich, and while Alfred assures me I could always use more money, I feel like the incremental revenue wouldn't be worth cheapening 75 years worth of brand equity. So I turned them down and went with Talking Like a Human Being™ instead. Because I'm Batman!"
[After the jump: bowl games in a human language, bowl logos without sponsors on them, and discussion on the whole title sponsorship business]
I write this column once a year to implore college football fans to use a standard, common, descriptive set of names for the bowl games. Try saying "Copper" instead of "Buffalo Wild Wings" for the next month, and just imagine the savings!!!
In the pantheon of annoyances, I admit that companies paying somebody to make you use their name out of context is far less destructive than, say, a university trading scholastic loans as private securities and then jacking up tuition so shareholders can make more money.
Still, it is annoying. The purpose of language is the communication of ideas, and elegance in this is a thing everybody should appreciate. Names are communicative tools that allow the listener to reference all information stored on that thing. When speaking to another college football fan, the name of the bowl ought to conjure up its history and location and place in the pantheon. A name sponsor is a jerk who butts into the middle of your conversation…
: Hey, Carol-Sue. Guess what: I just bought tickets to the…
: BUFFALO WILD WINGS™ GRIDIRON SPECTACULER!!!!
: Oh that's nice. I have no idea what or where that is.
: You know, Big Ten teams play in it now but it had WAC teams in the '90s.
: Wait, the one they used to play at Arizona right? Wasn't that the…
: INSIGHT DOT COM FOOTBALLING SYNERGY™
: Yeah, that's it. Remember when Iowa played in the…
…and makes communication of the idea more difficult. Adding syllables (they couldn't call it the B-Dubs Bowl?) adds to the annoyance. It is cold here during bowl season, so I prefer to not expend what limited body heat I have in vocalizing "The Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office Or Mobile Bowl."*
What to Call Them?
Typically unless it's an older bowl just use the name of the city they play in, and if there are multiple bowls in a city start adding numbers (Tampa II, Cotton II, etc.) If everybody knows a bowl as something because it has been called that for decades, obviously use that.
After [the jump] I'll put up a handy chart of the current bowl slate, complete with sounds you can make to accurately relate meaning to another human, and commercial-free graphics that can do the same. You can keep that open as a tab on your phone or whatever as a reference this month.
The new logos are here! The new logos are maize! The new logo's maize will have nothing to do with the color of the athletic uniforms! The logo:
Modification of this in any way is punishable by death. They also invented a new font for this, which is called "Steve." Steve the font.
Watch it before the NSA T3Media finds you. 50 interceptions:
Entrance of the Lambs. Good news for the baseball team, as Jackson Lamb (P/Civil War general) has reportedly turned down a third-round offer from MLB and will matriculate this fall. Lamb eventually went in the 20th round to Texas, so unless Texas ends up with a ton of extra money by not signing their top picks—baseball got serious about their slotting regulations recently—Lamb will anchor Erik Bakich's first recruiting class.
Over the weekend, Lamb led his Bedford team to a regional title. I'll let Ryan Autullo take it from here:
In exhausting both his pitch count and a mouthy opposing lineup, Jackson Lamb lifted the Kicking Mules to a 3-1 regional semifinal win over Taylor Kennedy. …
Lamb encountered control issues for the second game in a row, walking six batters and wracking up a whopping 146 pitches — exactly twice as many as Kuhr’s 73. Nevertheless, he didn’t allow a run until the bottom of the seventh, at which time Bedford was in front 3-0. An antagonistic Kennedy dugout made a point early and often to try to rattle Michigan’s Gatorade player of the year, mocking Lamb’s failure to locate his fastball and breaking into vociferous chatter typically seen in softball.
Well, I never.
Three more recruits went late and shouldn't be a threat to sign, but junior Michael O'Neill (Yes That O'Neill) got drafted by the Yankees in the third and is probably out the door.
If you get in, you see this. Despite featuring lot of non-regulation Ms, this business tugged a heart string or two:
Bring a fan to orientation. Trust me.
This changes nothing. Indiana made the College World Series, marking the first time since Michigan did it that a Big Ten team has made it to Omaha. This is what a cell phone looked like back then:
on the left, probably
It was 1984.
Meanwhile it has been perfect baseball weather in Ann Arbor for much of the past month, and Fisher sits empty when it could be selling me hot dogs and giving the BTN something other than Bret Bielema fishing tips to televise. The history of NCAA baseball has been Southern teams flipping the northern bits of the country off, and since that's never going to change the Big Ten should just play their own game with 25 scholarships and wood bats. Cheese 'em off real good, that would.
I mean, they could use the money cannon for something cool for once.
"Sources say a number of teams that rely heavily on analytics have Carter-Williams rated higher than Burke," Ford wrote. "While both players look good in the various analytical approaches teams employ, Carter-Williams is coming up at No. 1 and No. 2 overall on several teams' reports. For teams that value analytics, that's a big deal.
"Finally, teams are always looking for upside in the lottery. Carter-Williams has extraordinary size for his position. He is a terrific athlete. He sees the floor as well as any point guard in the draft. His weaknesses -- primarily his shaky jumper -- are the only thing holding him back from being a top-5 pick right now."
Those numbers must be pretty advanced to be able to rank Carter-Williams over Burke, who finished second in the kPOY rankings because he was a huge-usage, huge-assist-rate, low-TO, high-eFG guard. IE: he did everything you could do well. Carter-Williams didn't even finish in the top 500(!) in ORtg because there aren't any barns in upstate New York he hasn't flung a ball past, shooting 44%/29% despite putting up only 20% of Syracuse shots while he's on the court.
Can any defensive ability top that massive gap? I get the upside thing—if MCW learns to shoot he will probably be a better NBA player than Burke despite their college numbers—but isn't that a huge leap to make? How many rhetorical questions can I stuff in a single paragraph? Four?
“My dad played football at [M.A.C.] in the class of aught three,” Drake told me. “It wasn’t intercollegiate football; it was class team football. They beat each other up without headgear on the banks of the Red Cedar.”
Yeah, he went to State, but he was in town over the weekend for the Fantasy Camp. Here's Gerald Drake meeting Hoke:
Okay, Bleacher Report, okay. Even though you still pop up an exhortation for me to subscribe to your newsletter on literally every misbegotten visit to your website, I will link you for this from Miami commit KC McDermott:
AK: What's the Urban Meyer story?
KM: The Urban Meyer thing was just funny to me. He came to my school a week after I told his assistant that I wasn't even interested in them. I told him no to his face, and it's got to be one of the top five reactions of someone ever. His facial expression was just so funny. My coach was tearing up and had to go in his office to laugh.
AK: Talk more about coach Meyer's face when you told him no. Was he mad, upset?
KM: More like the state of shock where the guy has literally never been told no in his life. It literally looked like a kid the first time you tell him 'no, you can't do something.' It looked like he was a baby about to cry. It was so funny.
If you find a recruit willing to describe Dantonio as "about as personable as a rock, and not a shiny rock you'd find in a river, but like, a boring rock, like some limestone or something" I will link you again, Bleacher Report.
We're just a few days away from the start of bowl season, which means I get make my annual appeal against subsidized hell. But first a short message from Billy…
Tired of being an unwitting accomplice to some company's branding campaign every time you mention a bowl? Are you constantly struggling to get readers and listeners to know which the hell game you're talking about? Then let me tell you about the latest in idea-exchanging technology from MGoBlog: THE COMMUNICATION COLLECTION™.
Using our one-of-a-kind, industry-leading, low-fat, blogger-approved line of sponsor-free bowl names and logos, you too will be able to immediately convey accurate information to other humans. Using special shared experiences technology and our copyrighted, non-ambiguous terminology, our scientific logos and bowl names are precisely calibrated to provide you with information-sharing vehicles that are recognizable, representative, and syllabically economical. Just look at our happy customers:
: "I told my friend I'm thinking of attending the 'Citrus Bowl' this year and he knew exactly what I meant! Thanks, MGOBLOG!"
: "My readers kept asking why I'm so excited over some fast food joint. Then I switched to MGOBLOG's Peach Bowl logo; now they all immediately register that I'm talking about a crazy-off between Dabo and Les Miles!"
: "People at my office thought I was going around saying a crappy buffalo wings chain will be a 'real defensive snoozer.' But as soon as I showed them MGOBLOG's 'Copper Bowl' logo our shared experiences helped me convey I was really talking about MSU-TCU in Arizona!"
See for yourself what your friends are buzzing about (click on each logo to get at the full-sized, sponsor-free versions):
They Call It
You Call It
Dec 29, 6:00 PM
Armed Forces or Ft. Worth
Dec 29, 11:00 AM
Jan 5, 1:00 PM
Just Kill Me
Jan 7, 8:00 PM
Tampa II or St. Pete's
Dec 21, 7:00 PM
Queen City or Is it Basketball Season Yet?
Dec 27, 6:00 PM
Buffalo Wild Wings
Dec 29, 10:00 PM
Jan 1, 1:00 PM
Dec 31, 7:00 PM
Jan 4, 8:00 PM
Famous Idaho Potato
Potato or Humanitarian
Dec 15, 4:00 PM
Jan 3, 8:00 PM
San Francisco Fight Hunger or Bay City
Dec 29, 4:00 PM
Jan 1, 12:00 PM
Mobile or Empty
Jan 6, 9:00 PM
Hawaii or Aloha
Dec 24, 8:00 PM
Heart of Dallas
Heart of Dallas or Cotton II
Jan 1, 12:00 PM
Dec 27, 9:00 PM
Dec 28, 2:00 PM
Dec 22, 3:00 PM
Dec 31, 3:00 PM
Dec 26, 7:00 PM
Meineke Car Care
Houston or Bluebonnet
Dec 28, 9:00 PM
D.C. or U.S.O. Show
Dec 27, 3:00 PM
Dec 31, 12:00 PM
Dec 15, 1:00 PM
Dec 22, 12:00 PM
Jan 1, 8:00 PM
Outback or Hall of Fame
Jan 1, 1:00 PM
Bronx or Pinstripe
Dec 29, 3:00 PM
Dec 20, 8:00 PM
Jan 1, 5:00 PM
Dec 28, 5:00 PM
Jan 2, 8:00 PM
Dec 31, 2:00 PM
I'm not against branding. We do plenty of it, and I plan to do more. Sponsoring a nice thing so people can have it for free is one of the most polite ways folks have yet found to introduce themselves to customers. Marketing is subject to the same rules of propriety as all other intra-species communication. Polite: Your banner over the entrance to the guest lecture you're sponsoring. Impolite: making the lecturer interrupt his spiel to talk about the fantastic deals you're currently offering. Polite: Leaving your business card on the restaurant's bulletin board. Impolite: Renaming all the meats in the sandwiches after your products. Also impolite: naming your kid "Need School Supplies? Call 1-800-555-PENS and We'll Deliver!" so that every time the teacher does roll call you're drumming up business.
So yeah, my real beef is with naming rights that become a barrier to communication. The Rose Bowl doesn't need to remind anybody where it takes place or who's supposed to be in it because years of tradition have made it apparent. Outback Steakhouse annoyed me at first, but over a decade of having the name plus the smart decision to leave out the second half of their name (thus actually being easier to say than "Hall of Fame") allowed it to settle. Plus the Outback is a place on Earth; it is conceivable in the imagination that a bowl might be played amidst the gumnuts and wallabies. Bowls for causes annoy me less if they're nouns (Liberty, Independence) than adjectives (Humanitarian), which in turn is better than sentence fragments (Fight Hunger). Synonyms (Military*/Armed Forces) shouldn't be allowed. I'd prefer if newer bowls include the city name for the first five to ten years (e.g. San Francisco Fight Hunger Bowl). Anyway these are all things people might name an event without obviously having to get paid to do so.
That's where I draw the line. Adding "presented by ___" as part of the name makes it easier to ignore but still as disingenuous as if I changed my blogging handle to "Seth Presented by Iowa Corngrowers Association of America." Calling a young event the "Brelk" or "Breef-o-Ladies" means we'll never figure out where the hell it is. Letting that tire company with a name that sounds like a German salute name a second bowl after themselves when they lost the naming rights to the first is borderline criminal. Even more criminal is allowing a terribly named company to take over a well-established brand. The Copper Bowl can't claim the history of the Copper Bowl if it's no longer called the Copper Bowl. And here's where I bring up how the chicken people want to get rid of peaches:
I am guessing this is what the protests were about earlier this year.
*Since the one in D.C. is newer it should be told to change to something that differentiates it from the Fort Worth bowl. How about "The Great Big U.S.O. Show" since it's the U.S.O. that sponsors it anyway.
Half the bowls need to die. This year's lineup will feature 70 teams in 35 bowl games. For reference, the 71st-best team according to FEI this year is 3-8 Arkansas. Teams much worse than John L. Smith'd Arkansas are in bowl games. East Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette will have a bowl game for a $500,000 payout provided by the title sponsor, who is a trucking company from Wilmington, Ohio. Somebody will broadcast it, and TV crews will show that one ECU fan dressed like a pirate and a few Cajun fans while studiously avoiding angles that show the 90% of Superdome currently unoccupied. And ultimately many people—especially those schools who'll be shelling out way more than 500k to settle their entourage in bowl-approved New Orleans hotels—will ask "why are we even having this?" And the only answers are "because to somebody this is still profitable," and "we need the practices and the swag and the recruit invitations so we can remain competitive."
No I don't think it'll change anything. If someone was going to have a conversation about diluting the concept it would have been had 20 years ago. I am resigned to a future in which the Enterprise Products Partners Bowl matches the 9th Big Ten team vs. the No. 5 Sun Belt team (you are not sure if I just made that one up just now). A win here is if people on this site and others adopt the non-subsidized logos and terminology.