So you’ve always wanted to go to a bowl game. There could be one as close as Little Rock before too long. Again.
If you think that 35 bowls is already too many, you are in pretty good company, but there are those from the so-call Group of Five conferences — read non-BCS — who fear their better teams could be reduced to watching a couple of 6-6 teams from the power conferences go at it in mid-December.
Apparently they want to add as many as five bowls, that’s 10 teams, to the mix. They have created a list of nine cities under consideration. Among them is Dubai — yeah there’s not logistical problems there — but it also includes the capital of Arkansas and, obviously, War Memorial Stadium.
When news of the consideration list broke last week, among the banter in the Twitter world — yes, a shameless plug to follow me at @GlennMParrish, or the paper at @BoonevilleDemo — was not only whether there needed to be even more nondescript or corporation bowls, read the Houston or the Papa John’s Bowl, was whether War Memorial Stadium was worthy.
It’s more worthy than Barton was to host the high school basketball state title games, but that’s another story.
It also would not be the first time you could have watched a pair of college football teams play it out in a bowl in the stadium. Of course you would have to be at, or perilously close to being a senior citizen to have been to one at War Memorial Stadium before.
While doing research for my book Purple & Old Gold — not a shameless plug, I don’t have any left — back in 1994, I came across a story in the Democrat about Booneville’s contribution to a bowl game in Little Rock in 1956.
The game was the Aluminum Bowl — someone should be pitching this to Alcoa already — and it pitted the St. Joseph College (Indiana) Pumas against the Montana State Bobcats, according to my book.
My interest in it for the book was that select cities in Arkansas were permitted to submit an entry along the theme of "Industrial Progress in Arkansas." Along with the entry was to be a female to be driven in an 1957 convertible. Representing Booneville was Margaret Dorland and the entry was a giant ACE comb. ACE also funded the expenses for Dorland.
CBS did the broadcast for the game, but it looks like it will be FOX should there be another go-round.
Curious last week if there was any documentation about the game I Googled — is that a verb — Aluminum Bowl and got plenty of sales pitches. Adding college football to the search I found a Wikipedia page. Who knew?
Per the not-always-so-reliable Wikipedia, the Aluminum Bowl was played one time only, on Dec. 22, 1956. The game ended in a scoreless tie, blemishing a to that point perfect record for Montana State-Bozeman. Apparently about 5,000 were on hand to witness the game.
What I found hilariously ironic is that in that same 1956 season Paris was unbeaten going into their final game of the year against Booneville, who bowed up and forged a 0-0 tie on the day a big undefeated dance was planned after what was forecast as a 33-0 pasting of the Bearcats. But I digress.
What I was surprised to learn was the game was also the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) championship game. According to my book, St. Joseph had turned down an invitation from the Refrigerator Bowl to play in Little Rock.
I found the stats for the game interesting with Montana State dodging a bullet when "Ron Warzeka tackled Saint Joseph’s fullback Mike Murphy on the 16-yard line after a long rushing attempt. Later, Warzeka missed a field goal attempt."
SJ threw one pass and Montana State two, one of which was intercepted. Montana State won the yardage battle with 225 yards to 153.