I woke up this morning, had a nice breakfast of mork pålægschokolade on smørrebrød, drank some coffee and checked scores from the night before. That’s my usual routine living abroad, but something about this morning made me regret what could not be, something I wish I could change but I’m powerless to in this cruel universe of ours: TCU 10, Cal 7.
That’s the score of the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl. It was a brutal game to watch, I imagine, as it was a scrum in the mud that required overtime to decide. There were 8 interceptions thrown in regulation, and Cal threw another to start overtime. TCU, who had thrown for 28 yards against 4 interceptions (!), just needed a field goal to bring mercy to all the fans watching.
Cal ended the game with 350 punting yards against 264 yards of total offense. TCU were fortunately on the other side of that with 268 yards punting against 290 total yards. The funniest part about these stats, too, is that all these punts were in addition to those 9 interceptions. Replace those picks with 9 more punts and we could have had over 1,000 yards punting in one game.
There were also strange injuries, a 30-minute-plus scoring drought, special teams oddities, fun stats from the broadcast, and a litany of weird records broken. Many a pundit have called it the dumbest game of the season, and considering that declaration includes Colorado blowing a 31-point second half lead to 1-win Oregon State, that’s quite the feat.
The Cheez-It Bowl, formerly the Cactus Bowl, pits the #7 Pac-12 team against the #6 Big XII team. It’s the bowl game Colorado should have played in. It’s the bowl game Colorado belonged in. If not for the aforementioned collapse to Oregon State, or the other of their seven consecutive losses after their 5-0 start, this would have been their spectacular shitshow to lose.
In the incredibly shitshowy season the Buffs had, there could have no better way to end the season. And in the Year of 2018, nothing could have been more fitting than flying to Phoenix on Christmas evening to live-tweet an exhausted slog for a worthless trophy in a meaningless exhibition sponsored by Cheez-It, perhaps a distillation of the late capitalist existential dread that consumes us all.
I would have worn my 2018 Cheez-It Bowl shirt with pride.