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SMQ Bowl Blitz: The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas

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What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas...captured on high-quality Blu-ray discs and DVDs, so watch your step, Mr. 5 a.m.

Location Inquisitor: This is the one located in:

   a) Reno
   b) San Diego
   c) Las Vegas
   d) El Paso
   e) None of the Above

If you said c) Las Vegas, congratulations! You can read! These will get harder. Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, an ever-changing fantasyland of garish tackiness, offers a little something for everyone: fast-paced gambling, shows, stars, lavish surroundings and, for horrified but dutiful Mormons back in town to support their Cougars, a wide array of quick and easy matrimonial options. Multiple wives on the go may click here for some official tips on becoming one with another (and possibly another and another, not sure how the polygamist unions are supposed to work, spiritually) in the eyes of the Lord in Sin City, and here to book a fabulous wedding "in the clouds" at the Stratosphere.

More adventurous fans might want to check out the Bud Light Pre-game Party and, later, the "Official Las Vegas Bowl Afterparty" at Tao Nightclub (NSFW). All female fans with a game ticket will receive complimentary admission, so save those stubs, ladies.

The Venue: Sam Elliott Boyd Stadium once carried the title of "Silver Bowl," yet never so far as SMQ can tell hosted a postseason game by that title. As Da Boyd, a.k.a. "Da Void," is actually located a good eight miles from the Vegas high life - as well as, if the aerial picture below is any indication, any other civilization (the Microsoft Paint red arrow, SMQ guesses, perpetually hovers above a Satanic coven of introverted, possibly inbred Branch Davidian types, whose calendar revolves around the strange annual coming of mysterious, fannypack-clad pilgrims to the decaying shrine in the next lot, abandoned the remainder of the year as pasture) - SMQ posits the Silver Bowl would be a welcome cognominal respite in a desert of boring corporate titles.

Sam Boyd Stadium and its fabulous parking lot.

Formerly Known As: Wikipedia says the game originated in Fresno as the California Bowl in 1981 before moving to Vegas in 1992, though how a game with a different name in a different location is considered the same bowl, SMQ knows not.  In 1999, the once-pure Las Vegas Bowl added EA Sports as one of the best title sponsors in bowl history, and replaced it with Sega Sports in 2001 and 2002. Pioneer PureVision, whatever that is, oh so graciously lent its name in 2004.

The Network Pitch: Two of the most explosive offenses in the nation go head-to-head, when rejuvenated Mountain West champion BYU, winner of nine straight, and its all-MWC quarterback John Beck match up with the PAC Ten's disappointing Oregon Ducks, seeking to atone for a late-season slide by starting Ryan Leaf's brother. In Sin City tonight, it's playing defense that's a sin...Next!

Run, Johnny, from the treacherous lights!

Primal compulsion assures your id will actually watch for...
Football! Woof! Woof! Woof!, etc.

Also: These are actually decent teams; early postseason match-ups are meant to look like this. It's easy to diss Oregon because it dropped its last three in the regular season and five of eight following a 4-0 start, but if they can hang on to the ball, the Ducks have an excellent chance to win: neither offense figures to be stopped very often in any fashion, especially passing, but UO has regularly stopped itself all season with turnovers, ranking 107th in turnover margin and minus-11 in the five losses; BYU, on the other hand, has the nation's fourth-best turnover margin. Evening that number out can skew the advantage to the presumably faster Ducks, who SMQ believes, with their balance, can go score-to-score with the Cougars otherwise.

Oregon's secondary, it should be noted, is also pretty solid: only Stanford, in desperate catch-up mode, and Oregon State in the finale topped 200 passing yards. It's the running game that's given Oregon's defense fits, but grinding it out isn't BYU's thing. If the Cougars can't exploit the front seven with a few well-timed runs that keeps the pass rush honest, on its heels, etc., Beck won't have nearly such an easy time carving at will.

Socially-conscious superego will instinctively resist...
Traditionalists will scorn not only the very likely lack of defensive fundamentals in an Offense of the Future! battle between sophisticated backyard pitch-and-catch attacks, but also the pixel-popping abrasiveness of yet another Oregon helmet design, as if the Ducks' other 48 possible mix-n-match options weren't enough (SMQ's own fingers are crossed for this one).

Instead, why not polish the rare Scandinavian spoon collection while watching your daughter sulk through a pantomime of the first Le Côté de Guermantes volume of À la recherche du temps perdu, to ensure she's absorbing the novel in its original tongue, followed by an original Connecticut Shade wrapped Por Larrañaga - a Robusto, perhaps?

What Else is On
You have no life. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy these actual non-gridiron alternatives to momentarily fill the void eroding your inner soul:

8 p.m. - CBS - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Burl Ives narrates this animated musical, first telecast in 1964. The Johnny Marks score includes the title tune, "Holly Jolly Christmas" and 'We're a Couple of Misfits." Voices include...Rudolph: Billie Richards. Yukon Cornelius: Larry Mann.

Voice of Abominable Snowman: Emphysemic Lucille Ball

8:30 p.m. - CMT - Trick My Truck
A victim of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has his rig transformed into a search-and-rescue vehicle. Modifications include searchlights, Doppler radar and a GPS tracking system.

9 p.m. - The Discovery Channel - Surgery Saved My Life
Train-wreck Heart: Radical heart surgeries are observed. Included: a girl born with a perforated heart that is backwards and on the wrong side of her body; a newborn who faces a six-hour operation for a transposed heart.

9:30 p.m. - BET - Girlfriends
Santa v. Monica: William is torn between dressing up as Santa Claus to impress Maya's disbelieving son and throwing a Christmas party for his boss; Toni is mesmerized by Todd's holiday gift. Monica: Keesha Sharp. Jabari: Tanner Scott Richards. Swedelson: Phil Reeves. Todd: Jason Pace.

Subjective Pop-Culture Watchability Rating
Click here for the Watchability Scale.

For a respectable match-up of Oregon-BYU, SMQ gives the Las Vegas Bowl:

Worth an afternoon or evening, if there's nothing better to do, until it gets out of hand.

And it's not like you have, like, a Christmas party or anything involving social interaction to get to. Loser.

The Pick: Fair or not, SMQ wants no part of justifying any quarterback with 'Leaf' stamped on his shoulders. If Oregon has been bad at turning the ball over, and BYU has been good at forcing turnovers, then let's logically follow to the conclusion that Oregon is doomed to fumble away its chances to keep up with Beck et al.
BYU 34, Oregon 28