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Going for the Extra Yardage

Hours—or, rather, weeks—spent with the 2006-07 NCAA football bowls may suggest something wrong not only with the priorities of higher education but with the imperial rituals of the nation.  There are a lot of cheerleaders and fight songs and marching bands and rowdy fans and excruciatingly bad renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and excellent tailgate parties implied in the Poinsettia Bowl (December 19); the Las Vegas Bowl (December 21); the New Orleans Bowl (December 22); the Papajohns.com Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl (all December 23); the Hawai’i Bowl (December 24); the Motor City Bowl (December 26); the Emerald Bowl (December 27); the Independence Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Texas Bowl (all December 28); the Music City Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the Liberty Bowl, the Insight Bowl, the Champs Bowl (all December 29); the Meineke Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl (all December 30); the MPC Computers Bowl (December 31); the Outback Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Gator Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (all January 1, and now we’re talking); the Orange Bowl (January 2); the Sugar Bowl (January 3); the International Bowl (January 6); the GMAC Bowl (January 7); the BCS National Championship Bowl (January 8); and I must have left something out, such as the Bacardi Bowl, last played in Havana in 1937.

Though we have difficulty with the cognitive...

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