Bowling Green, my hallowed alma mater, and the University of Toledo, are arch-rivals.
(So I'm dating a Toledo girl. Go figure. But I digress.)
When are hated college rivals supposed to lock horns on the football field? Saturday afternoon, as God intended, right?
Not if you're in the pressure cooker called Northwest Ohio MAC football.
Tonight, in the middle of the freakin' week, Bowling Green and Toledo will slam heads in the annual "It's-two-days-before-Thanksgiving-who's-going-to-be-watching Bowl."
They do this to us every year, playing the biggest game of the season during Thanksgiving break. I'm sure the schools would love to play on Saturday afternoon, but The Network (ESPN, if you had to ask) sent down an edict that this mid-major rivalry would be played at the most inopportune time, when ESPN2 could fit it into their diverse schedule of poker, rednecks sawing tree trunks and celebrity tortoise wrestling.
Now, I am one of the biggest football fans I know. I'll put up with a lot to watch a game. But when Thanksgiving break hit during my college years, I was on the turnpike back to Cleveland, where I could sleep in my own bed, eat for free, and do laundry with clothes dryers that actually dried clothes.
I think a lot of college students feel the same way. Which is why, on this first night of Thanksgiving break at Bowling Green, I will not be surprised to flick on my TV and see half-empty stands at Doyt Perry Stadium.
At Bowling Green, where primary college loyalties are divided between Ohio State and Michigan, this rivalry would take enough of a backseat without the start time conflicting with many students' rides home. ESPN doesn't need to rub our mid-majorness in our faces with the we'll-fit-you-in-when-we-can start. If it means that little to ESPN, they should just pass off the game rights to Fox Sports Net.
I''d actually prefer the game be televised by Fox Sports Net, if it means no commercials pimping "Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith."
Next year, when ESPN lands the World Mud Foosball Championships, maybe the BG-Toledo game can be moved to 5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. Maybe they can move the game to Japan. It will be just like opening weekend in baseball.