The Name Game: Championship matchup goes bowling for a catchy moniker Print
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Thursday, 03 January 2008 10:58
NCAAF Headline News

 NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Craig Steltz blitzed through his words, clearly ready and eager to play in the big game.
``We've worked all season for this. This is exactly where we want to be,'' the LSU All-American safety said. ``The Sugar Bowl.''
Uh, Craig, not quite. Monday night's matchup between LSU and Ohio State has a way more snazzy name.
The BCS national championship game.
Snooze-a-rama. At that rate, might as well call it what it really is: the Bowl Championship Series national championship game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Football Bowl Subdivision. The BCSNCGNCAAFBS, for short.
``It kind of needs something,'' LSU coach Les Miles said. ``Like the Title Bowl.''
Any title, really. In a sport that prides itself on tradition, something is definitely missing here.
The Orange Bowl, that's classic. The Fiesta Bowl, that's catchy. The long-gone LA Christmas Festival, that was clever.
Way back when, the Rhumba Bowl and the Refrigerator Bowl had a nice ring. The Salad Bowl and the Oil Bowl were distinctive, as were the Raisin Bowl and the Aviation Bowl.
``The Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, that was a good one,'' Miles said. ``We played in it when I was a graduate assistant at Michigan, against UCLA. I liked that name.''
The NFL took the Super Bowl, Division III owns the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. Fact is, the BCS knows it's trailing in the name game.
``We're all hoping that something evolves - we really are,'' BCS administrator Bill Hancock said Thursday. ``We got hundreds of suggestions from the public last year, but not so many this year. Maybe people have run out of ideas.
``Names are a funny thing. You could probably hire all the PR folks in the world, and they might come up with a moniker that would be disliked by a lot of people.''
Besides, some like it just fine.
``I mean, the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl are great,'' Ohio State receiver Brian Hartline said. ``But we're playing for the championship, that's what our game is called. It's not named for a plant.''
Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie would keep it, too.
``I think the problem is you're playing it in a site. Like last year, you had the Fiesta Bowl. What are you going to call it? Fiesta Bowl II? Are you going to come up with some complete name that's meaningless?'' he said.
``In some ways, maybe it's refreshing that it's not a commercialized name. And at least when you say it, you know exactly what it is. There's no explaining what it is. When you say, 'BCS championship,' it's the BCS championship.''
The title game will be rotated each year. It was played at Glendale, Ariz., last season and will he held at Dolphin Stadium soon after the Orange Bowl in 2009.
Chances are, it won't be the Big Bowl, the Bucks Bowl or the College Bowl by then.
That certainly appeals to sponsors, making it easier to plaster their ads all over the game. Without a spiffy name to get in its way, Allstate's logo appears prominently at the Superdome.
Some bowl names sprung up naturally.
A sports editor in New Orleans came up with the Sugar Bowl because Louisiana produced so much sugarcane. An oilman saw a certain crop growing around Dallas and picked the Cotton Bowl.
The Rose Bowl's origin came from farther away. A ``Battle of the Flowers'' festival in Nice, France, led to the Tournament of Roses parade, and the game followed.
The NFL got plain lucky.
Officially, they started out with the AFL-NFL World Championship Game. Commissioner Pete Rozelle wanted to call it ``The Big One,'' but that got rejected. Lamar Hunt, one of the AFL's founders, proposed ``Super Bowl'' as a temporary solution.
Where did he get that idea? From watching his daughter bounce a SuperBall.
Ohio State tackle Alex Boone is set to play in his second straight BCS title game. He's perfectly happy with the name.
``It's simple and says it all,'' he said. ``You could call it the Formula One Bowl, but nobody would know what you're talking about.''
AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke in Glendale, Ariz., contributed to this report.

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