Normally, I don’t think much about this sort of thing, which is probably why I’m puzzled. Perhaps y’all can explain it to me.
This morning, it was reported that Gamecocks are going to the Capital One Bowl. OK, sounds par for the course. In recent years, they have gone to one bowl or another named after some corporation.
But the Clemson Tigers are going to the Orange Bowl.
Now here’s what puzzles me. “Orange Bowl” is something I’ve heard of. It seems to imply a certain prestige. I mean, there’s the Rose Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl, and the Orange Bowl, and that pretty much sums up all the bowl games that I’ve been hearing about (admittedly, without actually trying) since my youth. Which in my mind confers a certain legitimacy, rightly or wrongly.
Meanwhile, these bowls named for sponsors — well, I have to wonder about the value of such naming rights. It seems that if you’re the sponsor of the Rose Bowl, that confers something on your brand. But if you rename it for your company — say, the ABC Corporation Bowl — do you thereby lose some of the cachet that you were trying to buy? (Vizio seems to agree.)
I don’t know. Not my particular marketing specialty. But it does seem to me that invitations to bowls named for commodities, rather than companies, carry greater prestige. Just inferring.
In any case, Wikipedia confirms my rough impression. The Rose Bowl dates back to 1902, and is the biggie. The Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl both date to 1935. Something called the Tangerine Bowl was played from 1947-1982, after which it was called the Florida Citrus Bowl from 1983 to 2002, after which it became the Capital One Citrus Bowl before dropping the “citrus.”
Anyway, fully acknowledging my gross ignorance on this subject, I nevertheless have the impression that being invited to the Orange Bowl is a bigger deal.
Given that, I have trouble squaring that with something else that I just sort of barely, halfway know — that the Gamecocks have had a better year.
I would never ask you to go by me, but I see that the AP sportwriters, or whoever does that weekly poll, have USC ranked 10th, and Clemson ranked 14th. (I glanced through other polls, and USC was always 9th or 10th, and Clemson was always 14th or 15th, so it seems we have something like consensus.) And I’m also aware that the Gamecocks pretty much cleaned Clemson’s clock just over a week ago.
So what gives? How does stuff like this happen? Is it random? Is it who you know?