Over the past few weeks, Stanicek and I have been exchanging emails like two heavyweights exchanging uppercuts in a title fight. While I could copy and paste those emails and save myself a lot of time, I wanted to lay out my argument in a civilized manner and really present my case as to where I stand on going to bowl games. And when I say civilized, I mean Stanicek eats boogers and I want the world to know.
My loyalty was questioned when I made it apparent that it would probably be pretty tough to pull me out of Atlanta to travel to a bowl game like the Outback, Cap One, Music City, etc. While I'd love to attend these games, they're just not as appealing as a road trip to a regular season SEC game for multiple reasons:
1. Money. Bowl season comes right after the holiday and the cookie jar is always a bit empty as some might say. Hit me up when I'm 55 and retired with nothing to do but go to mediocre bowl games and we'll talk...hopefully I'll be talking with a cool accent that I developed while spending a few years in New Zealand, a scar, and standing next to my large estate. Now...not so much. Plus, any bowl trip undoubtedly leads to more expensive ticket prices, hotels, farther destinations which mean more gas, etc. I'm not broke by any stretch...but I'm also not trying to be broke.
2. Work. Now that most of us have entered a normal work schedule, a New Year's Day Bowl Game will almost always force me to miss one...if not two days of work. Back in college this translated to skipping class which I would probably do anyways so it wasn't that big of a deal.
3. The atmosphere. Here's where Stanicek and I bitterly disagree. While I love road trips with friends, I just don't see enough reward of going to see UGA in stadium where the Bucs play and it's against a team I know nothing about...or choose to know nothing about is probably a better way of putting it (Purdue, Wisconsin, etc.). The opportunity cost just isn't high enough. And anyone who took econ in college knows what I'm talkin' bout.
4. The Stakes. I will always say that I'd rather win ANY regular season SEC game over the bowl game. Let me clarify. Would I rather have beaten Kentucky or Vandy more than Va Tech in the upcoming Peach Bowl? Probably . I contemplated suicide after losing to these teams...probably a feeling I won't have if we lose the Peach Bowl. Does anyone really care that we lost to Boston College way back when? I'm not saying that I'd rather beat Kentucky more than a foe in the Sugar Bowl...but if there's an equal comparison, I'll always choose the regular season win in the SEC.
I'll counter these arguments with why I prefer to save my road trips for SEC games during the regular season.
1. Money. Typically a ticket to an SEC game on the road is cheaper than you'd find for a Bowl tikcet. J-Mass contends that he never goes to the game with a ticket and will almost always find a ticket for face value at the time of the game. The roadtrip we took to the South Carolina game this year was great because I was able to crash at a buddy's place and nobody had to fork over the chee$e for a hotel room. Never the case for Bowl games unless they're in Atlanta (which is one of the many reasons I'm excited for the Peach Bowl...and yes, me saying that I'm excited for a Bowl in Atlanta is causing Stanicek to rip his eyes out.)
2. Work. Drive Friday, game Saturday, drive home Sunday. No time off. Bada-bing.
3. The atmosphere. Where would you rather see a game? On a historic campus of another school from the SEC or in the parking lot of some NFL stadium? I CAN'T WAIT for the trip to Bama next year. It's #1 on the list of schools I need to visit and it's my "can't miss" road trip of 2007. I even loved going to the Vandy and Kentucky games a few years back. These are the schools of our conference and I feel like it's almost my duty to see these places.
4. The Stakes. While I kind of stated my stance on this earlier, let me tell you what Stanicek would talk about...and pretty much how'd he'd write it. "So you're telling me that you don't want to see two Top 25 teams play on New Year's Day in a game that's Nationally televised...AND it's the last game of the season? You make about as much sense as a one legged cow peeling bananas." My answer to his question would be yes, I would love to see that bowl game in person. But see my previous reasons why I'll probably pass and take other road trips during the season to SEC games.
It's not that I'm boycotting bowl games...I simply choose to attend the games where I feel like I HAVE to be in attendance each year (every home game, GA/FL, Auburn (as long as I don't have a wedding to attend), South Carolina, Bama, etc.). That list may expand in the near future but it's my stance right now. Both Sugar Bowls (New Orleans and Atlanta) were great and I'll probably continue to attend Sugar Bowls whenever UGA makes it in. They're no brainers...but other bowls are a different story.
Like I said, knock on my door in 30 years and ask me to head down to Orlando because UGA tennis is having a exhibition game against Orlando State and you'll probably hear me say "grab the beer, I'm driving." For now, I have to pick the road trips and games that are going to give me the most satisfaction. As Stanicek would say, "you are who you are because you do what you do." He's usually high.