There are very few traditions in college football that have not been messed with by conference realignment, television contracts, or greed.

Tennessee and Alabama used to play every year on the Third Saturday in October from 1901 until 1992.  But that was before the Southeastern Conference divided into the Eastern and Western divisions.  The game has only been scheduled for that date five times in the last 17 years.  Oklahoma and Nebraska used to be blood rivals in the old Big 8 conference.  But since the league expanded to become the Big 12, the two schools no longer play each other every year.

And what about bowl berths?  Used to be that the winner of the Southwest Conference would go to the Cotton Bowl and the winner of the Big 8 would head to the Orange Bowl.  Well, th SWC no longer exists, and the winner of the Big 12 is now tied into the Fiesta Bowl.  And all these games were played on New Year’s Day, creating a tradition of nursing your New Year’s hangover with a healthy helping of football.  Now, the Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange Bowl alternate days during the week after New Year’s in order to maximize TV ratings.

Indeed, one of the only traditions that has not been discarded is that of the Rose Bowl.  Put simply, the winner of the Big Ten faces the winner of the Pac-10 in Pasadena, California at 4:30 Eastern time.  For years, players and fans of teams in these conferences dream of spending New Year’s Day in California, and last night, the Oregon Ducks punched their ticket to join the Ohio State Buckeyes in Pasadena in the Rose Bowl by beating rival Oregon State to win the Pac-10. Oregon running back and prodigal son LeGarrette Blount returned to the field for the Ducks and scored a touchdown.  For those who have forgotten,  s suspended for the season, Blount began this season by losing his shit and clocking Boise State defensive lineman Byron Hout.  Blount was initially suspended for the season, but he was allowed back on the team after continuing to practice with the team and going through counseling. We were happy to see Blount back on the field, but not nearly as happy as Blount himself.

”This means everything to me,” Blount said. “I’m kind of at a loss for words.”

I’m sorry, but we are suckers for redemption and tradition and this outcome had both.  Go Ducks.

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