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SMQ Bowl Blitz Viewer's Guide: The Emerald Bowl


Hmmm....this title's missing something...could it be...deez (mixed) nuts?

Site Inquisitor: This is the one located in:

    a) San Jose
    b) San Diego
    c) San Francisco
    d) San Antonio
    e) None of the Above

If you said c) San Francisco, congratulations! You recognize your partial graphic representations of world famous landmarks! Stereotypically, San Francisco is known for its enthusiastic reception of well-toned 18-23-year-old males, but in actuality, the city is accommodating to all and is home to a little bit of everything for everyone - obviously, there are well-toned, 18-23-year-old females, too.

The Venue: AT&T Park, astute and non-blind readers may have discerned, is a stadium designed for the play of a strange stick-and-glove-based game not, for some reason, involving regular time on the turf at the hands of an opponent. Subsequently, teams will have the rare opportunity to participate in the fine California tradition of sliding around on carefully-raked - and, possibly, unconvincingly painted - infield clay, as well as the even rarer  opportunity to share a sideline. Mature, cool-headed athletes will handle this situation peaceably, SMQ is certain - his pee-wee teams, after all, never fought when we shared a sideline with hated rivals. Except that once, after a 4'5" cornerback attempted a tackle via flying karate kick (really). Florida State's Tony Carter, 5'9", is expected to demonstrate better restraint, though adventurous Bruins are warned to maintain constant vigilance in the vicinity of Florida State's competent, non-terminated coordinator, the feral, bone-chomping Mickey Andrews.


At least players don't have to clear the benches for the inevitable brawl.

Formerly Known As: Title sponsor Emerald Nuts is a division of Diamond Foods, which previously sponsored the game beginning in 2002 as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl. Realizing the somewhat diminishing qualities of incorporating members of the family Juglandaceae into the game's title, the company sacrificed the familiar maximum branding in favor of the aesthetic switch.

The Network Pitch: It's been almost a month since you've seen two identifiable teams from BCS conferences generally regarded as `competitive' and, occasionally, `successful.' Players you've heard of ...Next!

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

Also: Jeff Bowden's playing with the house's money, baby, he's got nothing to lose, and his unparalleled disinterest in trivialities such as who's blocking who and stuff has never been greater. Here is his opportunity to fail to incorporate FSU's very fast, very talented running backs on an historic level by finally eschewing the ground game entirely - Lorenzo Booker and Antone Smith combined for more than 1,000 yards on 5.1 per carry, but just 17 carries per game between them, in a season the `Noles were beaten by more than a touchdown just once; Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee threw about twice as often. UCLA's quarterback-pummeling ends (Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis have 25 total sacks), like most competent defenses against FSU's tattered offensive line, have already scheduled the L.A. version of tea and scones - SMQ's formerly L.A.-based friend Kim suggests sushi and San Pellegrino? - on Weatherford's clay-smeared carcass for each quarter.


I say, Hickman, jolly good decapitation of that poor Seminole chap. More Futomaki?

Socially-conscious superego will instinctively resist...
Offensive offenses, neither of which are consistent runners or efficient passers, running into a pair of athletic, aggressive defenses that yielded fewer than 90 rushing yards per game. It's easy to hop on the hype for Patrick Cowan after he successfully scrambled for his life against the psycho killer Trojan D, and got himself off the ground following the hit of the year, but that win was a defensive-oriented struggle of attrition, won with just 13 points, in which Cowan (12-21, 114 yards, no TDs or INTs) ultimately just needed to not screw up with the lead. Given the script here upon entry for two defensive-oriented teams with (hopefully) just OK quarterbacks, these offenses could be preparing for a recreation of the FSU-Miami Labor Day bog. Not that he's been around very long, but this is the worst Florida State team of SMQ's lifetime, which, on the verge of a losing record, with zero wins over a winning team outside of Conference USA or the Sun Belt, may not deserve any more of anyone's precious time.

Instead...

...in the Northern Californian spirit, why not edit those slides from the second honeymoon at Duckhorn and Clos Pegase on the Silverado Trail - the prefered route of Napa natives, of course, because who wants to be a tourist? - while sampling a Cannonau di Sardegna or two personally recommended by G.M. Pucilowski?

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. - PBS - Emperors of the Ice
The effects of global warming on emperor penguin populations of the Antarctic are examined. 56 mins.

8:30 p.m. - ESPN2 - Madden Nation
"Madden Football" video game wizards compete in a traveling tournament highlighted b appearances by actual NFL players.30 mins. TV-PG

9 p.m. - FitTV - Buff Brides
Brides-to-be get in shape for their walks down the aisle by following restrictive diets and intensive exercise regimens under the supervision of a personal trainer. 60 mins.


Second thoughts? Honey! Who said I was having any, um, second thoughts? That's, ha ha, that's, uh, crazy!

9 p.m. - WGN - Golden Karma Awards
Mark Steines hosts the second annual gala from Scottsdale, Ariz. Jane Seymour is honored for her work with the American Red Cross. 60 mins., TV-PG

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

For pairing a couple athletic, nationally-competitive programs from opposite coasts, SMQ gives the Emerald Bowl three boxes:


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

UCLA waylaid three bowl-bound PAC Ten teams in a row to close its regular season, where Florida State collapsed in a heap against three straight ACC winners and Florida over the end of October and November, which means Karl Dorrell enters this one as the hot coach with all the momentum at his back. Recent history tells us unexpected UCLA success inevitably precedes equally inexplicable, often sudden and spectacular decline, where iffy Florida State shows up at unexpected times. SMQ suprisingly finds himself perfectly able to picture the `Noles licking its offseason wounds with a losing record for the first time in Bobby Bowden's 136-year tenure, yet unable to end his blog's unblemished precedent of picking against the Bruins. ¡Viva la consistencia!
Florida State 17, UCLA 12