"I was tired of watching Las Vegas play second fiddle to a bunch of tobaccy chewin' good ol' boys named Bubba Joe and Billy Bob," said Irwin. "My goal is to implode the BCS since it's no different than an old outdated Vegas hotel. The BCS didn't serve the needs of deserving college football fans and we all know the BCS stands for Bigoted Constipated Southerners. Plus, I wanted to do something special for my dear friend Tom Hansen who helped me get my start here while he was still a showgirl at the Sand's back in the early 60's."
To bankroll such a grand scheme takes money and moxie, something Irwin has plenty of. The first thing Irwin did was ink punk rap superstar Jiggypop and teen idol Brittney Spears to perform during the special 90-minute halftime show. He then sold the rights to HBO for $120 million. HBO in turn, will market the halftime as Pay Per View for about the same ticket price as a three-minute Mike Tyson performance, or $60 a view. The executives at HBO are excited and early projections show the extravaganza will shatter the previous HBO record Neilsen rating of 17.3% set in May of 1998 when Tyson read "Green Eggs and Ham' set to music from the Boston Pops Philharmonic.
The fifth place PAC-10 Conference team is guaranteed one of what is now the most lucrative of all bowl berths. Suddenly the spotlight shifts to the Northwest where both Washington's Rick Nueheisel and Oregon's Mike Bellotti are suddenly viewing this weeks border war with more interest than usual for these fierce rivals. Early season pundits had picked the two teams to battle for a Rose Bowl berth but few knew it would come down to this, a fifth place finish that will mean more financial windfall than the Rose Bowl. Some football purists are concerned that the game itself will be nothing more than a sideshow for Jiggypop and Spears. Still, the Ducks and Huskies are the two frontrunners to play on Christmas Day since Irwin also told the press conference that Oregon State would not be welcomed should the Beavers finish fifth.
"Oregon State has signed Carrot Top as their spokesperson for next year and I've blackballed that freaky scrawny weirdo from my casinos so I'm going to do the same with my bowl game," said the usually reserved Irwin. "But hey, he's a perfect fit for the demographics of a typical Beaver fan. Our gaming analysts tell me that they worship Carrot Top in Corvallis because of his orange hair and full and pouting lips. I've even heard behind closed doors they're positioning him to be the next Beaver Head Coach should Erickson bolt for greener pastures."
Meanwhile, Nueheisel and Bellotti both spoke before a packed house in Kalama, Washington Tuesday afternoon. The 78th Annual Sons of the Swedish Pioneers hosted the two coaches. In between tasty bites of creamed lutefisk and lime Jello with smoked oysters and a tangy mayo-cream cheese topping, the two gridiron generals served up these observations in front of an audience that included live coverage from ESPN2.
-About performing in Las Vegas under far different circumstances than originally planned.
Coach N-"My name is Rick, my friends call me "Slick" and tell those hayseed Ducks they're gonna' choke on "The Pick." (Waving and smiling at camera) Yo' Jiggypop my man, let's do some rappin' at The House of Blues at Mandaley when we hit town. You down with that?"
Coach B-"We'd be honored to play in Las Vegas anytime and good Lord willing we'll be up for the challenge regardless of the opponent."
-About the heated long standing rivalry between the two teams.
Coach N-"I've had to put in a lot of extra hours this week in preparation for the game. I've been pumping up my troops with some inspirational tunes I just mastered on my guitar that came off the latest Raffi CD. The players really seem to respond to Raffi more than Barney."
Coach B-"We're really honored to play a fine institution like the University of Washington. Lord willing we'll be up for the challenge especially if our team owner, Imperial Wizard Phil, can pull some strings to get Jiggypop up to Eugene and perform not during halftime but during the third quarter so we can chill in the locker room."
-About facing each other in a sometimes volatile relationship over the past several years.
Coach N-"Our relationship is blown way out of proportion with the press. Not many people realize that during the National Coaches Convention this past summer, Coach Bellotti stepped in when Gilby came down with Strept throat and helped Barbara and I to a runner-up spot during the Coaches Talent Night. We finished just behind a loaded BCS ballot that was won by Phatboy Philly Phullmer and his Phoggybottomed Boyz. Our rendition of "Puff the Magic Dragon" was a real crowd pleaser. You'd never know it but Mike's got a rich creamy baritone that blends exceptionally well with Bab's tenor and my tremolo alto."
Coach B-"I'd be honored to go against one of the great innovative young minds in college football and Lord willing we'll be up for the challenge"
For dessert, portly Scandinavian waitresses hustled about the room serving up a lutefisk Kahlua pudding with shots of Absolut. In the background, Mike and Rick served up the audience background music as they crooned to "Seasons in the Sun" and Neil Diamonds "Forever in Blue Jeans."
The youngest of the Swedish Sons of the Pioneers, 79 year-old Sven Bartolucci, was asked his opinion of the two coaches. "That Washington coach put his arm around me, patted my rear and then gave me a sugar cookie he said his wife had baked. I notice the package said ‘Grandma's Cookies' but didn't say anything. On the other hand, that Oregon coach looks familiar. He was real quiet and a lot more boring but it seems like he's hiding something. There's something about his mustache. It rings a bell. I'm thinking he might have been "The Unknown Comic."
Yes college fans, football fever has returned to the Northwest and Hate Week is here. Good Lord willing both teams will be up for the challenge.