Bigger abortion masquerading as a sporting surface: Eastern Washington’s red field or Oregon’s hardwood in the woods

Remember the days when sports were about, you know, sports? When you were supposed to be entertained by the athletes competing at the highest levels on their chosen fields of competition?

Well, wake the fuck up, Beaver Cleaver, this here is the Twenty-teens and sports is about nothing but image, aesthetics, advertising, and overage rock stars selling out to appear with the boy band du jour so they can finally retire after snorting a few million album sales worth of coke. Sports marketers took over this game a long time ago, and no offender has done more to embarass the ghosts of Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, John Wooden and Joe Paterno than Nike, the perpetrators of this FUBU meets Project Runway first round loser atrocity.

But let’s leave Nike alone for a minute … Hold the phone, Joe Paterno is still alive? Really? How? I was watching Penn St. and Florida play in the Outback Bowl the other week and they clearly had his dead body displayed on the sideline for inspiration like they’ve done at every game the last decade.

Anyways, as I was saying, let’s leave Nike alone for a minute.  Boise St. is just as responsible for the latest trend in travesties to completely devalue the meaning of sport. In a sports landscape dominated by sports marketers who will do anything to convince themselves that their new fuzzy mascot can cover up a terrible product on the field, it was only a matter of time before these glorified used car salesmen felt compelled to one up Boise’s epilleptic seizure-inducing blue field.

They say the NFL is a copycat league. It’s true. But if that is the case, then sports marketing is a “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you, too? OF FUCKING COURSE I WOULD” profession. So I don’t blame Boise for ruining the most pure and iconic image we have left in sports – the luscious green grass of a halloweed stadium or elegant natural tan of the hardwood. But I do blame them for planting the seed – a seed that now appears to be growing like mutant ninja kudzu across campuses throughout the great Northwest.

Let’s all just agree that all of Oregon and Eastern Washington’s administrators should be lined up and shot execution style for letting the sports marketers run the asylum…I mean, institution in designing their new sports surfaces so we can focus on the bigger debate: Which is more horrendous?

Oregon’s “Deep in the Woods” basketball court

Want to know when your sports marketing department has really fucked up? When the only thing people can talk about the day after the debut of your brand new $227 million basketball arena is how watching a game played on the new court made everyone feel an uncontrollable need to vomit.

Ok, so let’s be fair – conceptually, the idea for the court is really cool. The idea is that you’re looking from deep within the mighty Pacific Northwest forests that surround the University of Oregon. In theory, also known as some dude’s drawing, it would look like this. Hey, not bad! But for anyone who has been following the odyssey of would-be Broadway musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, we all know that theory doesn’t always match up with the realities of execution.

Remember this picture, the one where, depending on how you look at it, you either see a lamp in the center or two faces looking at each other:

Well, Oregon’s court is like that. If you look at it one way, you are a creature roaming deep in the forest looking heavanward. If you look the other way, it appears an enormous giant threw up all over the court and it took the janitorial staff too long to clean up so the stain set in. That, or it’s an extreme close up of a young Eastern European “actress’s” chin after completing a scene “acting” with Ron Jeremy.

Either way, it’s time to blame Nike more. What the hell was Oregon doing giving some Nike douche, Tinker Hatfield, VP of Creative Design, full creative control over the most important piece of their university’s new flagship athletic facility? Oh, yeah, I forgot – Nike chairman Phil Knight paid for the whole thing and named the arena after his dead son. Not to speak ill of the dead, but the arena’s name is an apt metaphor – Oregon’s soul has long since departed this earthly realm. It was sold to Satan, purveyor of high performance sports fabrics, long ago.

Finally, arborists everywhere must be infuriated by the fact that the trees painted on Oregon’s hardwood appear to be firs, a soft pine. Honoring a soft wood on the hardwood? OUTRAGEOUS! … I’m just sayin’. Big ups to forestry.

Eastern Washington’s “Bathing in Blood” football field

Who wouldn’t want to compete on a field that feels like you’re playing in the unwashed remains of a massive animal sacrifice? The new red turf at Eastern Washington’s football stadium, which debuted just a few months before Oregon’s atrocity, looks like it was colored by allowing a hundred menstruating cows to graze on the field the night before the season started.

And, seriously, what the fuck is going on in the Pacific Northwest? Boise’s Smurf Turf, Oregon’s forest court, Eastern Washington’s used tampon turf? You guys really need to get off the reefers. No, really, LND may be an East Coast-based operation, but we know yall grow bud out there like the south grows obese people. And it seems clear yall are smoking that shit up as fast as fat southern people are sucking down 10 piece buckets of the Colonel’s original recipe.

I’ve got to be honest – I’m getting mad just looking at that field. No, not because I’m upset at the dumb sports marketers again, and not because Eastern Washington has submitted to copycatting a school attended by a bunch of inbred potato growers. And, no, not even because someone thought that last season of Scrubs was a good idea. It’s all that red…it just makes me so Goddamn ANGRY!

Well, at least when EWU fans start subconsciously filling with rage due to the psychological effects of the period bowl, the field crew won’t have much work to do when someone finally snaps and starts bashing skulls in with a smuggled baseball bat.

The Verdict

It’s Oregon. Eastern Washington knew their field was going to look like a failed abortion, knew they were going to look like Boise’s annoying little brother begging for attention, and they still did it. Know why? Because they’re Eastern Washington and they didn’t care because they were begging for attention.

Oregon, on the other hand, has no excuse for failure. Money is literally no object for the Oregon Athletics Department, which is kind of like the Atlantic City mayor’s office in Boardwalk Empire (hint: Nike is the mob). That means if Oregon wants a forest for a court, they better get a court made out of mother fucking crysal clear LED 1080i high definition 3D television panels with a composite video of the mother fucking great Northwest forest swaying in the mother fucking breeze with looping narration performed by mother fucking Oprah.

Fuck, that court is ugly. Glad I got that off my chest.


Best and worst games of the 2010 bowl season

College football fans have unleashed a lot of unnecessary ire at the bowl system, but I’d like to ask them why? It’s the BCS you should be pouring all your Haterade on. Good old-fashioned bowl games have been wrongly co-opted into the argument against the BCS, a corporate America-driven abortion that sticks a coat-hanger into the fertile vagina of college football, and pulls out a bloody mess of dollars and made-for-TV failures where a beautiful baby playoff system should have been.

So I’ll go ahead and say it. I still love bowl games. I mean, I LOVE bowl games. If the Orange Bowl were a woman, I would juice her lovely mandarin like a Vitamin C crack addict. If the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (yes, that is a real bowl) were a woman, I would still put a bag over my head and caress her homely, meaty thighs until her flatulent parts started whistling.

Why not? At every point of the D-I spectrum, bowls give passionate fan bases a last shot to watch the kids they only get to keep for four years play one last game that in theory should be highly competitive against a new, fun opponent that isn’t likely to be on the schedule again any time soon. Sure, there aren’t a lot of people who have a stomach for vintage match ups like North Texas-Toledo, but it’s not hurting you that the game is being played. (Well, there’s a slight chance humanity wasting time on something so meaningless in lieu of solving world hunger might anger God and incite the Apocalypse, but that withstanding…)

I, personally, love ’em all. Love the terrible ones almost as much as the great ones, just for the humor the existence of names like the (Uh oh, gotta get) MAACO Bowl and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl bring to the universe. Seriously, San Diego, don’t you have to be, like, bigger than Darryl’s Corner Pawn Shop to win naming rights for a bowl game?

In the old pre-career days, I would watch every bowl game – every one, start to finish. Nowadays, I’ll watch anything on New Year’s Day, weekends and after work. They’re just good, even when they’re bad, because if you love college football, you’ll do anything to cling on to the dying season before the dark times set in again until August.

As for 2010, there are some doozies and some dandies, but my picks for best and worst bowl game of the season were pretty easy to make.

Worst bowl game of 2010: Little Caesar’s Bowl (Toledo vs. Florida International, Dec. 26, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Looking for a quick and easy way to destroy any leftover Christmas spirit? Just turn this game on the day after. The mere prospect of this game might destroy enough Christmas cheer that Santa’s reindeer are no longer able to fly. And as if the poor people of Detroit didn’t have enough misery and hopelessness to face every day, the college football world has decided to throw this gem at them. As Moe so eloquently put it in The Simpsons a few weeks ago: “Take it easy on Detroit. Them people is livin’ in Mad Max times.” The anger this game will cause in Detroit will be single-handedly responsible for cementing the city’s place as the murder capital of America. The abandoned houses will burn bright in the Motor City this night.

And who let Florida International off ESPN’s Bottom 10 list? How bad was college football this year that the team that spent the last decade as one-half of the flashing FIU-FAU icon eternally entrenched on the Bottom 10 qualified for a bowl?

Best bowl game of 2o1o: Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 1 Auburn, Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m.)

Is it a cop-out to pick the national title game as the best bowl game of the year? Hell no – Any game that features a plodding Ohio St. team against an SEC champion has zero chance of being entertaining, much less competitive – and that happened two years in a row after the ’06 and ’07 seasons.

But this game is going to be special. I mean, like, Texas-USC after the 2005 season special. The casts are even eerily similar to that all-time classic with Cam Newton in the Vince Young role of unstoppable one-man wrecking ball and Oregon in the USC role of flawless offensive system with weapons all over the field. Like that game, don’t expect much defense and expect the game-winning score to come in the last minute. The only thing I’m not sure: Will the team with the Heisman runner up beat the team with the Heisman winner again or should we expect the magician at quarterback to will his team to victory again?

I don’t know, but I do know two things: The Ducks’ uniforms will be hideous (although, not as bad as usual, despite the tennis ball-colored socks) and Cam Newton’s Dad will be on a cell phone given to him by Deion Sanders every second of the game pimping his son to every half-bit Jerry Maguires and used car TV ad producer in the nation.

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