Now that the college football bowl season is over, I would like to explain it to those many of you who are still confused. With apologies to Ambrose Bierce (the dyspeptic author of the Devil's Dictionary), I (the dyspeptic author of this regular Thursday column) would like to clarify the complexities of this interwoven athletic, financial and educational system. For simplicity’s sake, I will use acronyms.
NCAA -- National Collegiate Athletic Association. A voluntary association of institutions, conferences and organizations that protects the athletic programs of colleges and universities from themselves.
BCS -- Bowl Championship Series. (See also BCS -- Bowl Cartel Scheme.) The system of post-season play constructed by the major college football conferences designed to ensure that they continue to be the major college football conferences.
Tostitos® Fiesta Bowl – A really big football game between OU and BSU to promote ingestion of deep-fried corn chips.
OU -- University of Oklahoma. A football factory which maintains a university to keep its football players occupied during the brief non-football related parts of the day.
BSU -- Boise State University. An obscure school from a non-BCS conference which experts did not think could even compete in, much less win, a BCS Bowl against a real college football team (e.g., OU).
BS -- Having the quality or character of the explanations given by BCS defenders for why undefeated BSU should not have even the opportunity to play for a national championship.
OB -- Orange Bowl. A really big football game between WFU and UofL to promote the ingestion of citrus products.
WFU -- A small private, formerly Baptist affiliated university located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which found itself in the OB due to the strength of the prayers of its pious fans.
UofL -- A large private, formerly basketball affiliated university located in Louisville, Kentucky, which found itself in the OB due to the strength of the players on its football team.
MPC Computers Bowl -- A not-so-big football game, matching UNR and The U, played in Boise, Idaho, on bright blue artificial turf, which was also the color of the fingers and toes of the dedicated fans and players during this late December bowl.
The U -- The University of Miami. A private school located in south Florida most noted for its programs in the pugilistic arts including extreme fighting, handgun marksmanship and professional football skills training.
UNR - The University of Nevada, Reno. A land-grant institution most noted for being located in Nevada.
Tostitos® Bowl Championship Series Bowl -- An even bigger football game between UF and TOSU to promote even greater ingestion of deep-fried corn chips. (See also Bowls, Department of Redundancy Department Bowl.)
UF -- University of Florida. The flagship university of the Florida college sports system, highly successful in both revenue sports, noted for the lush green which covers its campus, which also has some nice plants.
TOSU -- THE Ohio State University. THE premiere institution of higher education in the state of Ohio. THE premiere football program in the state of Ohio THE premiere basketball program in the state of Ohio. THE most pretentious name for a university ever.
32,000,000 -- Number of reasons coach Nick Saban had for leaving the Miami Dolphin's professional football team to go to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide's amateur football team (in U.S. dollars).
501(c)(3) -- The provision of the U.S. tax code exempting charitable, religious and educational institutions from federal taxes and giving tax deductible status to donations to the charitable cause of the salary of Nick Saban (and every other college coach).
300,914,781 -- The number of people who would benefit from removing the 501(c)(3) exemption from the tax code for quasi-professional college athletics (calculated as the current U.S. population minus 119 Division 1-A football coaches).
D-Line -- Defensive line, as, for example, the NCAA's contention that college football is "for the benefit of the student-athlete," or the BCS’s contention that "playoffs would hurt the student-athletes by keeping them from their collegiate studies."
O-Line -- Offensive line, as, for example, the NCAA's contention that college football is "for the benefit of the student-athlete," or the BCS’s contention that "playoffs would hurt the student-athletes by keeping them from their collegiate studies."
210,000,000 -- Number of good reasons the BCS system has to justify its bowl system as the best way to determine a national champion (in U.S. dollars).
Gary D. Gaddy, who as a child used to read encyclopedias and dictionaries just for the fun of it, actually is, really, I mean it, a fan of college football.
A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald, January 25, 2007. Copyright 2007 Gary D. Gaddy