Hello. Welcome to a special edition of BowlRensics. Last week we took an in depth look at the full lineup of college bowls which will allow us to be the most well rounded, knowledgeable college football fans in the universe. This week, we'll take a closer look at the Sun Bowl, its host city of El Paso and the surrounding environs. Before we get too far into it, I cannot recommend highly enough that you go read A Guide to El Paso by EPHokie which, if you actually are going to El Paso, PLEASE read that instead of this.
Also, as we are now in the thick of bowl season, I'd like to remind everyone that despite, according to Mike London:
LOLUVA being awarded an unprecedented THREE bowls in one season, they did not manage to win a single one. On that note, let's dive in!
1. Before you get started, what happened the last time the Hokies took the field?
A. Great question! Last time we saw our Hokies, they were taking on our vaunted1 in-state rivals from UVA. The highlights of the game include:
- Sam Rogers and Logan Thomas causing approximately 14 brain aneurysms due to Sam Rogers throwing a pass2 and Logan Thomas doing what a vocal portion of the fan base wants him to do, which is be a large man catching passes.
- Kendall Fuller being the best player on the field, picking off one pass and knocking down four more, including the very smart play to bat the football DOWN on the hail mary at the end of the first half instead of going for the pick.
- A bar mere steps from LOLUVA's campus flying a Hokie flag, the inverse of which (LOLUVA flag at a bar in Blacksburg) being an acceptable defense for arson.
- The Head Ballcop inserting Greyson Lambert as a sacrificial lamb in the third quarter, and Bud Foster seemingly responding by blitingz 32 guys on every single play.
- All the Hoos in Hooville boo-hoo-hooing, at least those that care enough to pay attention anymore.
2. So, essentially, we've now Dominated them for a Decade?
A. Indeed. I bet that would look good on a t-shirt.
3. Excellent! So, where to now?
A. The Sun Bowl!
This is roughly 1000% sweeter than a Hyundai logo.
4. What's a Sun Bowl?
A. The Sun Bowl is actually the joint-second oldest bowl in existence, being played continuously since 1935. As a response to the announcements of the Sugar and Orange bowls, some not-so-swift-on-the-uptake oil tycoons decided they would respond by holding their own bowl which would played on the surface of the sun. Upon discovering that was not (yet) possible, the decided to play the bowl temporarily in El Paso until such time as transportation was available to the center of our solar system.
5. So if it's one of the four oldest bowls, why isn't it a BCS bowl?
A. Did I forget to mention it's in El Paso?
6. Oh. So tell me about El Paso. Where is it?
A. Texas! Specifically, the far western tip of Texas in the middle of the desert, right next to nothing. Interestingly, the city was originally named Olvidado de Dios, but the late 1800s saw the innovation of the forward pass take place at the local university. Since the city was right near Mexico, where Spanish is the national language, spectators at the game exclaimed "El Paso! El Paso!" which eventually caught on as an all purpose phrase, much like "Roll Tide" is in Alabama. Due to its presence in every part of city life, they eventually renamed the city to honor it.
I found this and think I just fell in love with El Paso a little bit.
7. Wow. Anything interesting going on there?
A. Well, some of the highlights include the National Border Patrol Museum which, holy HELL how have I not made it there yet? Also, the AAA baseball El Paso Chihuahuas play there. OH, and it was rated the 44th most walkable city out of the 50 largest cities in the US. I'm not exactly sure why the hell someone would make the effort to include that on El Paso's Wikipedia page. Way to highlight your city's shittiness at walking.
8. So, has anyone famous ever managed to build up enough strength of will to leave all that behind?
A. Cormac McCarthy, who writes what are probably the most depressing, well written books in the world lived there for a time, so thanks El Paso for those nights I cried myself to a nightmare filled sleep while reading The Road. Also, El Paso claims Stevie Nicks who appears to have lived there briefly during a transient childhood before joining a band with a bunch of Englishmen (and woman)3 dating many of them, doing many drugs and singing many emo songs. Continuing our "What the hell, I thought they were English?!" theme, Alan Tudyk, who played Wat in A Knight's Tale was born there. Lastly, Beatrix Kiddo's fictional daughter B.B. was fictionally born there, which is pretty solid starting ground for the eventual sequel Quentin Tarantino is going to make about revenge stuff.
9. Solid. Is there college football in El Paso?
A. There is! If you weren't aware, The University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) is the alma mater of our very own offensive line coach, Jeff Grimes. Before he made Wang the tip of the spear, he was...well, sort of the shaft of Andy Reid's spear, playing offensive tackle from 1987-1990. Coach Grimes already came out and declared the best Mexican food he's ever had was in El Paso, and if you don't love Mexican food, you're un-American.
10. Okay then. Anything else about El Paso?
A. Not El Paso itself, but the city lies just across the border from one of the most enchanting vacation destinations on Earth, Juarez, Mexico!
11. Uh, but the other lady said not to g-
A. Where's your sense of ADVENTURE, man4? First of all, it's in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, so it's basically the equivalent of a tiny, hairless dog. Are you scared of a five pound dog? Plus, a cheap place to stay should be easy to find, as estimates say over 110,000 homes have been abandoned in the city by people who could afford to go elsewhere in the last few years. Their loss is your gain!
But why would they leave? The EXCITEMENT of potentially being caught in the crossfire of drug cartel warfare. The potential that the police officer you are stopped by is on some bad guy's payroll or is just an ass who shakes down tourists for bribes is pretty high. And c'mon, it's a city of 1.5 million people and only eight people are murdered there a day, on average. That's like a 99.999467% chance that you'll be FINE5.
12. Okay! I'll go book a hotel right now6! In the meantime, tell me more about football!
A. Right! Back to the Sun Bowl! As previously mentioned, it started in 1935 and has been played every year since then. It has featured such gridiron legends as the University of Denver, Case Western Reserve, the Second Air Force and UNAM Pumas, which is a Mexican college. The Hokies, of course, made their first ever bowl appearance here on New Year's Day in 1947, losing 18-6 to Cincinnati.
13. Great, thanks for bringing that up. Does the Sun Bowl happen to have a mission statement?
A. As a matter of fact, they do! It reads: The Sun Bowl Association is committed to improve the quality of life by presenting, through its volunteers, the Southwest's friendliest bowl game and a series of festive events appealing to El Paso's diverse cultural heritage.
Wow. That's some pretty strong smack talk they've laid down to the Fiesta Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. Now I'm anxious to see El Pasoans, New Mexicans and Phoenicians in a friendly-off.
14. Any Fullers on the bowl committee?
A. Nope. However, they do appear to be engaging in some shady practices; by all appearances they appear to be purposely clouding the name and to hide the identity of one of their Board of Directors, namely Augustin Montes. Or should I call you Agustine Montes, as you are ALSO listed? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO HIDE, MR. MONTES?
15. Wow. And to think we entrust these men of integrity with our student athletes. So, I'm heading to the game, where should I sit?
A. Some would say purchase tickets to one of the 51,000 seats available. However, some people are a little braver, and would recommend you climb the mountain overlooking the Sun Bowl and perch up there to watch for free! It's also known as Hand Job Hill, because El Pasoans are the friendliest folks in the Southwest and will always give you a hand in climbing up the mountain. And once you get up there, they get even friendlier.
16. Yes, I would like to order that ticket, please. Now, anything else about the Sun Bowl I should know?
A. Well, since 1994 they have awarded the John Folmer Most Valuable Special Teams Player, which has been awarded no less than three times to a punter. As the expression goes, I believe, Punting is Winning, and once A.J. Hughes lowers the boom on someone to force another fumble, I'm sure he's a shoo-in to be the fourth.
17. Hahaha, that Miami guy that got rocked by our punter.
A. Yep. That was also an excuse to repost this.
A.J. go boom.
That's all for El Paso and the Sun Bowl. Next up we'll take a closer look at our esteemed opponents, the University of California at Los Angeles.
2He was a quarterback in high school, remember, so it's not like Loeffler had to teach him how to throw before the play.
3Yes, Lindsey Buckingham is American, but his name is Lindsey, so he gets honorary Englishness.
4DO NOT LISTEN TO ME, DO NOT GO TO JUAREZ.
5SERIOUSLY, DO NOT GO TO JUAREZ, I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.
6You fucking idiot.