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SMQ Bowl Blitz Viewer's Guide: The Independence Bowl

I don't understand, where does all this come from? How do you get funding for something like this?

Site Inquisitor: This is the one located in:

    a) Memphis
    b) Shreveport
    c) Atlanta
    d) Nashville
    e) None of the Above

If you said a) Memphis, it seems you're a little confused by the extremely similar but also slightly deviating concepts of 'Liberty' and 'Independence,' the latter requiring as its antonym a state of dependence, as opposed to physical captivity. As in: "Holiday visitors to Shreveport tend to relinquish their independence to alcohol until they earn their merciful liberty from the city limits."

The answer, if you haven't guessed, is b) Shreveport.

The Venue: It has always been SMQ's assumption that Independence Stadium exists for the sole purpose of the production of the Independence Bowl - the most celebrated bowl game in Northern Louisiana! - in a lonely city with no football-producing campus of its own. And it seems, despite the City of Shreveport's considerable efforts - around $30 million on a massive replay scoreboard ("the magnificent marquis" you'll spot during your "leisurely drive" on adjacent I-20), a 10,000-seat renovation that closed the South end zone, new restrooms and additional concession stands flanked by televisions to ensure no fan might miss an "action-packed moment" on the field - that he's mostly right. Other than the Independence Bowl, what action? Since the very fortunate departure of the World Football League's Shreveport Steamer and the CFL's Shreveport Pirates after them, its purpose appears limited to occasional fair duty (including, SMQ guesses, more than one rodeo) and the first Saints preseason game back in August. Inquisitive readers are welcome to contact Ronnie Hammond or DeAnne McCoy with the City of Shreveport for more information.

Better make this game count.

Formerly Known As: The Independence Bowl stretches way back, 30 years, to the nation's bicentennial (hence the name) and an inaugural game hosted by the Southland Conference champion (that would be nearby McNeese State) for $25,000 per school. It didn't take on the immortal "Poulan/Weed Eater" sponsorship until 1990, and since dropping it in 1998 has been put on by Sanford (like Poulan/Weed Eater, an AB Electrolux Home Product), MainStay Hotels and now PetroSun. But in college football's heart of hearts, the pioneering shamelessness of the "Poulan/Weed Eater Bowl" reigns eternal.

Da Weed Eatah Bowl, eh? Smells like a winnah!

The Network Pitch: Alabama teeters in without a real coach, but pride is on the line to avoid a second losing season in four years. It's OSU's balanced offense, meeting Alabama's various and unknown states of complete disarray...Next!

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

Also: SMQ is interested to assess the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence of Oklahoma State's blue chip quarterback Bobby Reid and receiver Adarius Bowman, who had 11 touchdowns, the best yards per catch of any receiver anywhere with more than 50 catches and a ridiculous 300-yard, four-score game against Kansas, almost singlehandedly ensuring the Jayhawks' dead last ranking in pass defense. Bowman would seem much closer on paper to the nearly-forgotten sublimity of Rashaun Woods than Woods' own brother, D'Juan, who averaged more than 16 per on 38 grabs. And the Cowboys have actually been much better running than passing, which makes for a frightening - and, at 208 per game rushing to 200 even passing, frighteningly balanced - prospect to defend.

Besides an offensive pulse in general, the Cowboys defensively are also much better than Alabama at getting into opponent backfields (three sacks, 7.58 tackles for loss to `Bama's dreadful one and 4.33, respectively), which is all the more incentive for the Tide to force its run game to life against the porous OSU front seven and buy a little time for John Parker Wilson to connect with his own overlooked deep threat, D.J. Hall, who had just shy of 18 per catch his own self. Is SMQ the only one who remembers the Prothro-esque catch Hall made in the middle of three Tennessee defenders in October? YouTube, coming through with the evidence, even when the Worldwide Leader's endlessly repeating hype machine of such feats does not (ask Gunslingers which network carried Prothro's ever-displayed catch and which one broadcast Hall's little-seen grab...not that...nah...).

On the Alabama coaching front, don't let the subtle but certain signifiers pass you by, either: the first bowl game of Bob Stoops' tenure at Oklahoma? The 1999 Independence Bowl. Coincidence? Hardly.

Socially-conscious superego will instinctively resist..
The history of bowl games is a sordid one, if long for a only a few, but even the phony upstart place-name bowls with nowhere near the longevity of their phony forerunner have had the gall to throw out not one but two teams that failed to post a winning record, even with schedules that included gimme victories over the following non-conference lackeys:

   • Missouri State
   • Arkansas State
   • Florida Atlantic
   • Louisiana-Monroe
   • Duke
   • Florida International

Those games constitute half of the victories Alabama and Oklahoma State bring into this afternoon's throwdown; the other half includes Mississippi State, Ole Miss (in overtime!), Vanderbilt and Baylor. OSU's double-digit wins over Nebraska and possibly 6-6 Kansas and Alabama's eight-point opening victory against Hawaii - a repeat of which no one outside Tuscaloosa would wager much on these days -


...why not pay a visit to the shed for a change, rough it a little, and set up the home leather tanning operation - Christmas may have passed, but there are birthdays, anniversaries, plenty of days a loved one might enjoy a fine, supple jacket or purse crafted with only the finest nappas, aniline and nubuck. Anyway, your new cable strippers and rag cutters weren't meant to lay around idle like your daughter on break from Sweet Briar. To offset potential gore, set your Bramley press to humming along with the uplifting grace of La Traviata.

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:

4:30 p.m. - BET - Wayans Brothers
Good-Bye Mr. Gibbs: A misplayed prank leaves Shawn and Marlon delivering a eulogy at the funeral of a hated teacher (Ted Hayden) from junior high, who dropped dead at his retirement party. Mrs. Gibbs: Sandra Lafferty. Pastor: Bill Hollis. Pops: John Witherspoon. 30 mins. TV-PG

5 p.m. - TV Guide Channel - Look-a-Like
Pamela Anderson: A social worker is made over to look like Pamela Anderson. 30 mins.

5 p.m. - ABC Family - Gilmore Girls
Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days: The Gilmore gals' love lives suffer some setbacks in this episode. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) is dealing with disappointment after her rekindled romance with Christopher is thwarted by his expecting ex. And Rory (Alexis Bledel) comes from a summer in Washington, D.C., to realize she may still have feelings for bad boy Jess. The mother-daughter duo decide to forget their man troubles by heading to the first annual Stars Hollow End of Summer Madness Festival. But a chance encounter there makes Rory realize that Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) may have also expanded his horizons while she was away. 60 mins. TV-PG

6 p.m. - SCI-FI - Stargate SG-1
Window of Opportunity: After being exposed to an unusual alien machine, O'Neill and Teal'c begin to relive the same day over and over again. O'Neill: Richard Dean Anderson. Teal'c: Christopher Judge. Dr. Carter: Amanda Tapping. Jackson: Michael Shanks. 45 mins.

Subjective Watchability Rating

Click here for the Watchability Scale.

For redeeming a battle of non-winners only by selecting them from the ranks of generally quality conferences, SMQ gives the Independence Bowl two boxes:

CAUTION: For obsessed, inoculated fans only.

The farther `Bama sinks into its status as an Independent Football Unit, the more SMQ reckons they might be best off just settling on Joe Kines, who seems like a real head coach, anyway, if doing so while rocking the Joe Lee Dunn "Rumpled Coordinator" vibe that typically circumvents serious forays into the head office. This apparently is not a viable option, and could be only if the Tide delivered its best performance of the season here. As OSU does have the Nebraska game in its pocket, and `Bama hasn't taken out any winning team since the first week of the season, SMQ's going with the OMG explosiveness! of los vaqueros.
Oklahoma State 27, Alabama 18

Joe Kines, moments before creating