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Red vs. Green – Gildan New Mexico Bowl In The ABQ

December 20th, 2013 · Tags:Sports


Native Trophy

Ironic. The fifty journalists at the press conference for The 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl didn’t say a word about the four-point spread for Saturday’s game, or anything about Washington State and Colorado State’s tendencies to cover the spread … as we sat in a meeting room at a beautiful new casino.  A casino with Wi-Fi throughout the meeting areas and lobby, I might add.


By the way … the front desk clerk this morning at my hotel was chatty and said she worked at a casino for a while. Alway inquisitive, I asked if she had lots of trouble with cheaters and card counters and stuff. She said, “Yes … we had lots of people from Texas.” I digress …


Perhaps more appropriate than the point spread and gambling, the press conference crowd wanted to talk about the different style of play that will make this first bowl game of the season so interesting. Colorado State likes to grind it out on the ground, most of the time … and well, Washington State is coached by Mike Leach. Enough said.


Many think Colorado State has more balance, and think that will prove to be the difference. Neither team is known for stingy defense, no offense. And repeatedly, we have heard that Colorado State is the only team in the country (in Division I, as I will always call it) with a 3,200-yard passer and 1,500-yard rusher.


Most people say, “Defense wins championships,” but I say, “At most of the games I have attended, the team with the most points wins.”


Jim McElwain, CSU


To my chagrin, Leach never cut loose with any pirate tales or weather reports … He was pretty much strictly business, as he hugged his trademark Starbucks cup, sitting at a mike on the stage. He went off on the history of The Wishbone for a bit … The coaches talked about the altitude here in Albuquerque, with CSU’s Jim McElwain speculating that since the thinner air really lets a golf ball fly, perhaps the football will as well … (Was it Leach that said if they are within 75 yards, they might line up for a field goal and let it fly?”) Both coaches downplayed the altitude’s effect on their teams. Colorado of course lives in the clouds, and the Washington State players have been in town several days to acclimate. To my surprise, I thought The Rams’ McElwain seemed the most relaxed on stage.


Mike Leach, WSU





After the press conference, the group headed over to the luncheon, featuring bands, cheer squads and the mascots of both teams in a dance off … to “Louie, Louie” if memory serves.


All of the obligatory “thank yous” and introductions and team effort announcements followed … and Albuquerque has done a nice job with this bowl game. Hands down. I liked their game summation — “a battle of red or green … just the like the chilis all over Albuquerque.”



Lastly, as we enjoyed the meal, NFL legend, announcer and troubled prostate pitch man Joe Theismann took the stage. He was really good. During most of the presentation prior to Theismann, the players I watched were into the food, but restless, to put it nicely. But Theismann did a great job getting the players interested, and he delivered a great motivational speech … about the importance of team … about making the most of opportunity … and the harsh reality that it could all be over in an instant.


Joe Theismann


Of course, who better to deliver the “it could be over” than Theismann? Everyone — at least in my generation and older — vividly remembers Theismann’s last game against Lawrence Taylor and his fellow Giants. That day his life changed, his leg broke and his career ended …


I can see it all too well in my memory … a horrible compound fracture to his leg … and we watched it over and over in replay, back in the day. Well … there went my appetite. Thanks Joe.


In all seriousness, he is quite the storyteller. He told a story of branding … of how the PR guys for Notre Dame changed the pronunciation of his family name so that people would “think Heisman” when they heard it. They literally changed his name. Theismann came in second for the Heisman, to Jim Plunkett, who apparently did not rebrand his name.


Ha! Theismann probably should have stopped there. He went on to talk about the Redskins’ logo, above the exit sign in his old Washington dressing room. He made some crack about his team didn’t have “a little star” or something silly on their helmets. Then he stopped himself after that comment. “Raise your hand if you are a Cowboys fan.” A few hands went up. “I don’t really care, just being polite,” he laughed. Pretty funny Joe.


So .. kickoff tomorrow on ESPN, at noon Mountain Time … see you there.


Know what I sayin?