I have decided to try and finish this recap of my extreme interest in college football while the 'bowl season' is still under way. How can it possibly still be 'under way', for crying out loud?!?
Ah, but yes it is, with the "Fiesta Bowl" scheduled to be played this coming Monday evening, January 5th, between Texas and Ohio State.
I remember - from many years back now, you understand - when the only bowl games were the Rose, Orange, Sugar, and Cotton ... when the Rose Bowl - the 'granddaddy of them all', was the featured attraction on New Year's Day, and the two contestants/combatants were the champions of the Big Ten and Pacific Coast Conferences. For a glance at the history of the Rose Bowl, go here.
In those days, it was unheard of for a member of the 'Big Ten' to compete post-season other than in the Rose Bowl. I don't know when, exactly, the restrictions were changed, but - obviously - they were!
Northwestern was the 'weak sister' of the conference. (That's the truth. Hope I don't offend any Northwestern alumni here. Their primary focus was not on athletics, but rather on academics. Duh! As well it should have been, wouldn't you agree?)
There were many intra-conference rivalries. Ours (Purdue's) was primarily with Illinois. (Indiana University's focus was on swimming and basketball.) In fact, I remember one Purdue homecoming banner that read, "Hit 'em in the buttkus" (or some such) ... Dick Butkus was a soon-to-be All-American linebacker (at least, I think he was a linebacker, and a fiercesome one, at that!) for the opposition.
A huge rivalry existed between Purdue and Notre Dame. I guess Notre Dame is still considered an 'independent', altho I really haven't kept up with all of the changes these past many years.
When Bob (Griese) was a senior, he was selected an All-American over Terry Hanratty, Notre Dame's quarterback. I will remember 'forever' (I guess, because I still remember it now, 50 or so years later!) a newscaster saying, "Well! If Bob Griese is an All-American, then I guess Terry Hanratty should be considered All-World!"
That comment incensed me! I was particularly disturbed by it because Bob's first wish had been to attend Notre Dame as a student on an athletic scholarship (which was withdrawn just days prior to his enrolling ... Notre Dame's loss, Purdue's gain!).
The Purdue Boilermakers were the 'heart attack' kids. If you were a fan at all, and/or were even the least bit subject to palpitations of the heart, ANY game you attended (or even watched, for that matter!) was at your own risk.