My focus on soccer has really made me take a look at other regional rivalries in sports. In our current state of affairs the only major professional sports rivalry we get in Cascadia is in Major League Soccer. However, there are some pretty big college sports rivalries around the area, and I got to thinking about how I could enhance those sports as a viewer and as a fan. By Nate Jensen
The biggest sport outside of professional sports in our region happens to be college football. It just so happens that in the Pac-12 there are 4 schools from Washington and Oregon that play against each other. There are two schools that play each other in the Big Sky conference. This sort of thing goes on down the ladder of college football. It makes sense: regional play means less travel time, which means less money spent and more time for study, if you believe the student athlete hype.
Some of these rivalries are already pretty huge. There is the Apple Cup, between University of Washington and Washington State. There is also the “Civil War” between Oregon and Oregon State. These are all fine and dandy. I enjoy turning on football if there is going to be a massive rivalry. In my world, rivalries are the only reason to watch college football.
There is something missing though. Something that would make me buy in with all my attention. It might have a little bit to do with all the re-alignment that goes on, but I’ve lost a little bit of passion for watching college football. It might be that I don’t have a team to cheer for. I didn’t go to any of the schools that are usually televised, so my attachment is minimal. If my attitude towards college football were a worldly item, it’d be a rust-encrusted slab of metal in someone’s backyard.
I have a plan for this season to scrape off the rust and apply some oil to shine the metal back up and make it exciting again. I’ve decided to follow sports regionally and keep track of head to head competitions between some of the teams. I’m making the decision that Washington State vs Oregon State is not going to be about Pac-12 pecking order this year. Nope, for me it is going to be part of the Cascadia Bowl.
That’s right: I’ll be watching the Washington and Oregon Schools from the Pac-12, and I’ll be keeping track of which team does the best only between those four. A team in this competition could lose all the rest of their games, but if they beat the other 3 they can come out as Cascadia Bowl champions.
I realize that not everyone is going to be excited about something like this; it’s okay, I’m not asking you to be excited. I’m really not even asking anyone to call it the Cascadia Bowl. This is just part of my transformation as a Cascadian. One day I’d like to see all our college sports played regionally in a Cascadia Division. Not for TV deals. Not for sponsorships. Just for competition. The way college sports were meant to be played. Regional bragging rights.