Traditionally, the week after Christmas is Bowl Week, a bonanza of largely meaningless college football games, from the obscure PapaJohns.com Bowl to the august Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
This year, the bowls will have competition for the nation’s attention from politics, with the day after Christmas marking the start of a frenzied week-long run-up to the January 3 Iowa caucuses (which will actually convene just as the Orange Bowl kicks off).
It’s quite fitting. Both clunky and dysfunctional relics of an outdated era, the college bowl system and the presidential primary process have more in common than you might think:
* College football has the Hawaii Warriors, a scrappy bunch who did everything they could to earn a crack the national title (winning every game they played), only to be locked out of the big game because pundits and media members were dazzled by teams with more star power. The Presidential race has Bill Richardson.
* College football has the greedy Presidents of the major conference schools, who bitterly and successfully resist the post-season tournament that the game so badly needs merely because they will lose their guaranteed paydays from the marquee bowl games. The presidential race has Iowa and New Hampshire.
* College football has Lou Holtz, sporting a 15-year-old wardrobe and railing at a camera. The presidential race has Chris Matthews.
And so on.