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Thursday, November 20, 2008

"The BBQ Bowl"...make it happen, Wendell!

Over at 850 The Buzz, they're talking about football rivalry games and what constitute great rivalries.

Here are Adam Gold's criteria:
  1. You have to play the game every year.
  2. The game is played on or about the same time on the schedule.
  3. There is usually something very serious at stake.
  4. The two teams, or their fans, genuinely hate each other.
  5. There is a trophy up for grabs or a great name for the game.
Other than #3, the State/Carolina game falls squarely into all of the first four categories (#2 is iffy...the date of the game seems to shift throughout the year).

Number five, however, is lacking and while I don't tend to agree with Adam much, I agree with him here: This rivalry needs some sort of trophy to vie for in order to put it on the map.


The reason is simple. Visibility. Without a trophy trading hands, a meaningless game (in the scope of BCS and conference championship implications) between two conference opponents means even less to folks not within 100 miles of the Triangle. Not that having a named game or a trophy would suddenly elevate the game into the Michigan/Ohio State tier of importance, but it would at least recognize a very real and tangible rivalry that exists in this series.

I've seen and heard a lot of good suggestions for the game--The Tobacco Bowl (maybe, if weren't for that whole "cancer" thing) or the The Old North State game (the name's a little unwieldy) are some.

But here's my suggestion: The BBQ Bowl.

I think it fits for a variety of reasons and could actually do some good for the state's economy.
  1. The name is short, sweet and to the point. It rolls off the tongue easily
  2. It opens the door for a couple of trophy/prize options, which I'll explain later
  3. It would bring some national exposure to one of the state's most prized cultural treasures: BBQ
The name thing is pretty self-explanatory, so I won't delve into that too much.

Items two and three are the biggies and why I think the idea has merit.

I think there are two options for the "prize." Option one would be the winning team is supplied plates of "Victory 'Cue" from a notable BBQ establishment from the winning school's town. Chapel Hill's most notable establishment is Allen and Son, regarded by UNC-TV's Bob Garner as one of the best BBQ restaurants in the state. State would have The Pit, Ole Time BBQ or perhaps another venue to choose from. I envision the winning team at the final moments walking over to where the BBQ is kept, grabbing plates of Victory Cue to all take a bite from as they celebrate in front of their fans.

The second trophy option would be a large charcoal pig cooker that the winning team gets to paint at the conclusion of the game. Logistically, it would be a simpler prize than the BBQ plates (you'd have to have both restaurants prepare BBQ prior to the game, then keep it warm on the sidelines until the game ends, etc.). Just slap it on a truck with a hitch, wheel it to the game and whoever wins gets to paint it or parade it around the stadium. The downside of this is that Carolina already has a painted trophy that trade hands, so perhaps there wouldn't be much support from the folks in Chapel Hill for having two such trophies to vie for each year.

The third item in the above list is where I think naming this game The BBQ Bowl could have a positive impact on the economy and that's in the increased awareness of BBQ as a state treasure. Getting highlights on ESPN of the painted cooker before the game, or the trays of barbecue stored in heated storage ready to be dispersed, would help draw attention to a waning industry in the Old North State. There have been several grassroots movements to preserve the heritage and history of N.C. BBQ, but having a game named The BBQ Bowl between the two flagship universities in the state would really hammer home the point that BBQ in North Carolina is alive and well. Name exposure and brand visibility for the state's culinary treasure would be boosted.

So Wendell Murphy, you're a man who's built his empire on the hoofs of swine...I'm looking at you as a man with the name, power and influence to help get this done. Let's give this game a name and a prize and help the BBQ proprietors of the state in the process.

(Psst...If you think this is a good idea and you happen to know Mr. Murphy well enough to have his email address, click the letter icon below to email him this piece. Can't hurt, right?)


  1. why is the trophy a red piano? what does that have to do with barbecue?

    it should be the I-40 Bowl .. make a huge plaque that looks like the interstate sign ...

  2. I'd kind of like to see that state flag of NC that the players have carried onto the field this season used as a trophy that goes to whichever team in the state gets the most wins over other North Carolina schools. So far, NCSU has beaten Wake, Duke, and ECU, so we'd be a shoo-in to keep it this season.

  3. "why is the trophy a red piano? what does that have to do with barbecue?"

    Because I know just what a huge Billy Joel fan you are, pianoman.