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Unlike most Canadians I know, I don’t think baseball is boring, I detest hockey fights and I thoroughly enjoy U.S. college bowl games.
And so my New Year’s resolutions are to pay even more attention to the Blue Jays and to the major leagues as soon as training camps open next month, to turn the channel when senseless NHL violence breaks out and to attend every bowl game played in Canada.
This means I’ll be sitting in the crowd at the International Bowl in Toronto on Saturday — even if no one else is.
So what if I can’t name a single player with either of the participants — Western Michigan or Cincinnati? So what if NFL playoff football will be on the tube at the same time as this?
I think it’s cool that the only bowl game outside the United States is being held in Toronto and I plan to show my support. My view, seriously, is that nothing in sports — with the exception of U.S. college basketball during March Madness — exhibits more pride and passion, more determination and fewer prima donnas than bowl games.
If you caught Monday’s Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Oklahoma, for instance, you probably wouldn’t argue. The overtime thriller was the best darned sports spectacle of the year. Granted, it was the year’s first day, but how can anything top the Fiesta Bowl in 2007?
It’s a shame to me that Saturday’s International Bowl will go relatively unnoticed. Don Loding, the game’s spokesman, told me yesterday that about half the Rogers Centre’s 50,000 seats will be occupied, but my hunch is that this may be more wishful thinking than reality.
"We never thought we’d sell out," Loding said, "and we won’t. But we’re happy and we’ll still have the game in Toronto in future years."
I hope so.
•The most significant bowl game this season, of course, will be for the NCAA championship next Monday between Ohio State and Florida, and it’ll be especially significant for Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
That’s because there’s a clause in the seven-year, $17.1-million US contract he signed last May that voids the deal if his squad wins the national title. He’d be free to renegotiate or, if he wishes, jump elsewhere. And sources say there’s interest in him in the NFL, specifically in Cleveland. Tressel grew up in the Cleveland area as a Browns fan.
His average annual salary probably would be doubled in the NFL.
•And what’s this about Britney Spears dating Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart?
The two were spotted together the other night at an Arizona club. Sources couldn’t confirm that either was wearing underwear.