Corona with lime? Check.
Overpriced Boar's Head Deli meats? Check.
Jungle Jim's famous assorted olives from the bar? Check?
Flat screen TV? Oh yeah!
As an exiled southern California in midwestern diaspora, I've been sentenced to years of rivalry irrelevance. Usually when UCLA plays USC, I'm stuck watching someone like Kent State versus Ball State. (Happy to report this year that it looks like ABC may bail me out and show my beloved rivalry game.)
Back when Terry Donahue coached the incomparable UCLA Bruins and Rick Neuheisel wasn't betting on basketball but was throwing great passes, the Rose Bowl was an annual celebration of Pac-10 dominance and the Big-Ten represented (to me) a bunch of middle-aged balding white guy alums who flew in from Wisconsin or Michigan to get a couple of days in the sun while we beat up their team. Or so I thought.
Now that I'm in the land of the Big Ten, I've discovered just how good this conference is, how tenaciously loyal the fans are, and I have to pony up and admit, my pale skin betrays a genetic connection to the middle west, after all. (Both parents raised in Chicago and my father is a Fighting Irish alum!)
Today, I realize after seven years wandering in the midwestern wilderness, the Michigan-Ohio State game actually means a little bit to me. I've caught the Buckeye bug and am looking forward to rooting for Troy Smith to take out the Wolverines. I can't believe I care! (Fortunately I don't care that much. I can't take another Bengals loss tomorrow...)
So, enjoy the big game. We will.
Also, just wanted to say: Peace on Bo's soul. What an icon! Michigan may have the emotional edge today as a result.
Update: Buckeyes win! And now we can hold on to the hope that Troy Smith will win the Heismann. He is one smart, fast, creative QB.