The Front Row with Tim Dahlberg December 6, 2010
Want to fight hunger? There's a bowl for that.
Just hungry? There's lots of bowls for that.
But what if, say, you really like trucks? Big trucks that rumble down the highway, headed to who knows where.
There's a bowl for that, too.
"We thought there was an opportunity to use this bowl game to highlight some of the positive aspects of the trucking industry," said Joel McGinley, president of uDrove LLC, sponsor of the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl. "People don't think about it but it's so vital - everything on your desk came to you via truck."
To get that point across, McGinley's company is sponsoring the bowl in Boise and will run 10 commercials during the ESPN telecast highlighting both the products it makes for the trucking industry and the industry itself. Tune in, and you may find out just how uDrove eliminates in-cab paperwork by managing truck operations on mobile phones.
Tune in a few days later, and football fans will find out the answer to something else that's probably been gnawing at them since first looking at this season's bowl schedule. Namely, what's a Beef 'O' Brady's?
Yes, the bowl season is way too long and involves way too many teams. But it can be educational, if given a chance.
Want to know more about military helicopters? Watch the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Thinking about finding a sunny place to park your money? Don't miss the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
So many bowls. So many strange names.
It used to be easier. Laugh if you must at the Salad Bowl, but at least you knew what they were eating in the stands. And the Raisin Bowl may have shriveled up, but there are still people in Fresno who remember it fondly.
Even the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl was recognizable until they whacked it and made it the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.
Let others get headaches figuring out the BCS games and which conferences are tied to which bowls. Here's a rundown of the best in bowl sponsors, brought to you by your friends at The Associated Press:
• FOOD BOWLS: Tostitos is the Grandaddy of Them All in this category, scoring both the Fiesta Bowl and the BCS title game. Seven bowls are sponsored by various food products, but the oddest may be the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, which Kraft seems to be sponsoring as a way to both sell Velveeta Cheese and give hungry people meals. Fighting hunger in another way is Beef 'O' Brady's which, it turns out, is a chain known for big hamburgers as well as the sponsor of a Dec. 21 bowl game in St. Petersburg, Fla.
• MILITARY BOWLS: A growing segment with the addition of "The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman," which will be played Dec. 29 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The actual military will be in Texas the next day when Army plays in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl for the first time.
• LIQUOR BOWLS: Actually, there are no liquor bowls anymore, much to the chagrin of a lot of students who would be first in line for samples. But it is worth noting that Auburn played its first bowl game in Havana, Cuba, in 1937, tying Villanova 7-7 in what became known as the Bacardi Bowl.
• AUTO BOWLS: There is no Cadillac of bowl games, but Hyundai signed on this year to sponsor the Sun Bowl. If you drive a clunker, the AutoZone Liberty or the Meineke Car Care Bowl might interest you more.
• CLUELESS BOWLS: Correctly identify these bowl sponsors and what they do, and you may win some new uDrove products for your big rig: Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl.
• BOWLS OF ANY OTHER NAME: Forgive the good people of Las Vegas if they get confused around the holiday season. The Las Vegas Bowl was easy enough to figure when it began 18 years ago, but has changed identities more than mobsters in the witness protection program. Strangely enough, none of the games have been called the Sin City Bowl.
Not all bowls can be the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, of course. And when all 35 games on the bloated postseason schedule need sponsors, they can't all be named after tortilla chips.
Yes, the Oil Bowl had a nice ring to it back in the day. And who could forget the Refrigerator Bowl before they put it on ice?
For bowl games today, though, the names simply aren't the same.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at email@example.com
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