Holohan: Well, that was fun
Published 3:00 am Thursday, December 25, 2014
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the over-abundance of post-season college football bowl games.
Detractors say they are just creations by ESPN to cash in on more college football.
There are articles aplenty across the internet arguing that there is simply no need to see two middle-of-the-pack Group of 5 conference schools square off in late December in the Cheerios Cereal Bowl or whatever new bowl game has come around this year.
Montgomery’s Camellia Bowl was an easy target this time around.
The New York Times went as far as to us it as a centerpiece to assert just that notion: these bowl games don’t matter.
I was at the game Saturday night. Honestly, I’m a college football junkie so I was pumped to watch Bowling Green, a team I had never covered before. But many in the sports world thought the game would be a snoozer.
They were so, so wrong.
Larry David couldn’t have written a better comedy than the inaugural Camellia Bowl.
Let me clarify.
The game itself featured some very good football. It was competitive, and ended with a crazy 78-yard game-winning touchdown pass. The play of Bowling Green and South Alabama were impressive and fiercely competitive. There was nothing funny or pitiful about these two teams. They came to play.
But the action off the field and between the whistles during the game should have gotten a one-hour television special of its own — sponsored by ESPN, of course.
Where do I start?
In a back-and-forth battle that can only be seen to be believed, both competing conferences’ (MAC and Sun Belt) Twitter accounts set the tone early. At first they were playful, wishing the other luck and exchanging a few playful jabs.
Then it got real.
Score after score, each conference’s Twitter accounts hurled insults, internet memes and .gifs at each other. At one point, the Sun Belt account asked the MAC account what “Maction” was, to which the MAC’s account replied, “I’m sorry, what was the question? Was busy putting more points on the board.”
The battled ensued all the way until the end of the game. I could never do it justice, so it’s best just to Google each account and look for yourself.
Not sold yet?
Maybe you’re a combat sports fan. Well, then this one is for you.
In the second quarter, Bowling Green offensive lineman J.J. Beggan decided, for whatever reason, he’d had enough.
After an offensive play for the Falcons, Beggan took a South Alabama defensive tackle to the ground and started unleashing some solid ground-and-pound. At least four or five punches to the helmet of the downed Jaguar player. Oh yeah, and it was right at the feet of an official.
Instant ejection, I thought. And to be fair, there is no bigger proponent of in-game skirmishes than I am.
Don’t worry, the referee watched the whole thing, threw the flag, but ultimately decided Beggan’s hands just slipped and his four-punch combo didn’t warrant an ejection. Not illegal unless you get caught, right?
We’re just getting started.
Later in the game, a Bowling Green player actually was ejected, this time with a helmet-to-helmet collision on a South Alabama player attempting to field a punt.
Fair enough, right? No argument there.
A certain South Alabama fan, apparently feeling anguished by the fact that his favorite Bowling Green player was ejected, was not pleased. Said fan was so disgusted that he thought it a good idea to hurl trash at an official.
The game had to be stopped because the referee was having trouble walking. And later, he had to be removed from the game because he was not physically able to do his job.
The PA announcer then warned fans that anyone else caught heaving objects at officials would be removed.
The video went viral and ended up on popular sports site, Deadspin.
Still not doing it for you? OK, one last try. Maybe it’s gore you’re into.
If you watched the end of the game, you may have noticed South Alabama head coach Joey Jones bleeding profusely from his nose.
No, it’s not because he is susceptible to stress-induced nosebleeds.
It’s actually because he was kicked in the face. By his own player.
This video can also be seen on the Internet. But for those curious, in the fourth quarter, South Alabama tight end Ryan Onkka was tackled out of bounds and went somersaulting backwards towards Jones.
Trying to catch and protect his player, Jones reached out to stop Onkka, but the rolling tight end flung his feet up in the air, connecting flush with Jones’s nose.
That’s when the blood started to flow. But just like his team, Jones fought through, battling through to the end of the game, and even sporting some dried blood on his face in the post-game press conference.
Saturday’s inaugural Camellia Bowl game literally had it all. The game itself was down to the wire. And as far as the series of unfortunate comedic events? That was amazing.
That was fun, Camellia Bowl.
Let’s do it again next year, please.