Start warming up those TVs, for bowl season is nearly upon us

Near as I can figure it, folks planning to have a few friends in on New Year's Day can get away with four television sets at the outset.

"Oh, we'd love to come. Can I bring anything?"


"Why yes, dip, a TV set and rabbit ears if you've got 'em."

The first game, the Peach Bowl, starts at 11:30 a.m., so tell your southern friends to come early (and bring the grits).


Games 2, 3 and 4, the Hall of Fame, Citrus and Cotton, come on at either 1 or 1:30. To keep the crowd circulating and to calm the women, switch which game is on in which room every half hour.

At about 2:30, the Peach should be ending. But, wait, you can't get rid of the set yet because here comes the Fiesta Bowl. It being new and fresh, place this game in the sparsely settled room in hopes of getting into the others to clean up the spills.

The Hall of Fame is the next to finish, at about 4 p.m., just in time to satisfy wrassling fans with the Global Supercard Show on ESPN. Unfortunately, only 30 minutes can be set aside for the behemoths as "the granddaddy of them all," the Rose, commences at 5 p.m.

Since this is a prime game bound to draw added attention, Washington vs. Michigan, consider piping it into at least two sets since the Cotton and Citrus are wrapping up and there will be screen space available. If all the late breakfast and brunch food and assorted leftovers have been recycled and gobbled up, bring out the late afternoon sandwiches, compliments of excess turkey frozen at Thanksgiving.

Just the Fiesta and Rose move forward toward 8 o'clock when the Orange is coming on with No. 1-rated Miami looking to be more impressive than runner-up Washington. Pass the hat for pizzas at exactly 8 as you want them in time for the Sugar Bowl, due to start at 8:30.

That's eight games in a little more than 12 hours, which seems a fitting conclusion to the marathon that will see 15 games telecast over 82 hours starting Sunday a week at 2:30 with the famed Poulan Weed Eater Bowl.

* The bowl season actually starts tomorrow (3:30 p.m.) with Stanford taking on Georgia Tech in Hawaii at the Aloha Bowl. What could be more Christmasy, aside from the NBA doubleheader and the always intensely exciting Blue-Gray all-star game, than the customary shots of people getting baked on the beach at Waikiki? It beats forcing down a piece of fruit cake.

* These days, highly recruited college kids who have used up their eligibility are upset if they haven't played in a bowl game every year, preferably for the national championship in at least one of them. Look at the list of worthies who never got to one postseason contest: Gale Sayers, Mike Garrett, John Brodie, Mike Ditka, John Elway, Don Meredith and, of course, Ernie Banks.


* "Just like last year," notes Jim Nantz of CBS, "we're headed toward a major controversy on the night of Jan. 1 because both Washington and Miami figure to win. It will come down to a vote (in the coaches and writers polls) and they're apt to split similar to the Colorado-Georgia Tech situation last New Year's."

Despite the bowl ratings being down a whopping 10 percent last year and the networks constantly complaining about the dilution in the schedule, Nantz wonders, "who can figure the networks out? They complain about dilution, but they seem to add a new game every year. I wonder how they can make money going against three other games in the same time slot?"

After not doing a game for a calendar year, Nantz once again checks in at the Blockbuster Bowl Saturday (Alabama vs. Colorado), then has the Cotton Bowl (Texas A&M; vs. Florida State). "I don't think I've forgotten how to do it since CBS lost the CFA contract to ABC."

* California Bowl: Bowling Green 28, Fresno State 21. Hit this one (played Dec. 14) right on the nose.

Aloha Bowl: Georgia Tech defeats Stanford via forfeit as players of the latter head for the beach at halftime.

Orange Bowl: Miami over Nebraska by any score it chooses as everyone knows the Cornhuskers can't play after the Oklahoma game.


Gator Bowl: Ditto for Oklahoma, which fills the air with footballs (1-for-3 for 4 yards) while losing to Virginia.

Sugar Bowl: Florida 31, Notre Dame ($3.6 million).

Rose Bowl: Michigan bows handily to Washington in keeping with Big Ten tradition.

Cotton Bowl: Speaking of tradition, Texas A&M; upsets Florida State, making the SWC proud, thence going on NCAA probation.

Copper Bowl: Baylor vs. Indiana. Who cares?

Citrus Bowl: Watch out Clemson, those California dudes are roughnecks as witnessed their six unnecessary roughness penalties against Stanford in the first half.


Independence Bowl: Georgia vs. Arkansas. Game site, Shreveport, La., closes down and game is postponed.

Holiday Bowl: Brigham Young will lose to Iowa, but Ty Detmer won't get both his shoulders separated this year.

Liberty Bowl: Air Force vs. Mississippi State. It's important that nTC the game sell out in Memphis, because the city is seeking an NFL expansion franchise.

Blockbuster Bowl: Colorado vs. Alabama. What an inappropriate name for a blah matchup.

Hall of Fame Bowl: Ohio State will run roughshod over favored Syracuse and frolic, 3-2.

John Hancock Bowl: UCLA will cover spread (7) vs. Illinois and at least four of the assistant coaches will be rumored for the Maryland job.


Freedom Bowl: Tulsa vs. San Diego State. If this is freedom, lock us all up.