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How to Cope with a Northern Illinois Orange Bowl Bid

Since FSU lost to NC State, thus destroying their already slim chance of gaining entrance to the BCS Championship Game, all focus has shifted to winning the ACC and the Orange Bowl. At first glance these are worthy goals. FSU has not won the ACC since 2005 when, in a bizarre turn of events after losing to NC State, Virginia, and getting blown out by Clemson, #22 FSU drunkenly stumbled their way into the ACCCG against #5 Virginia Tech...and won.

As I remember it, Penn State defeated us in the 2005 Orange Bowl. But thanks to the power of bureaucratic time travel and child molestation, nobody won the 2005 Orange Bowl. As anyone who watched the 2005 Orange Bowl can tell you, this is the most appropriate outcome.

We can all pretend it never happened, which is something I think everyone, Jerry Sandusky included, can appreciate.

Speaking of time travel and pretending things never happened, I'm afraid if were we able to skip ahead to early January we may wish the 2012 Orange Bowl never happened. Because even though no one was excited about the prospect of playing Louisville or Rutgers, given the current situation in the MAC, many FSU fans are now praying for a match-up with Louisville or Rutgers.

What is the MAC, you ask?

Oh, you mean you don't know? Because you've never heard of it?

That's okay. Most people attending MAC schools probably have no idea either. The Mid-American Athletic Conference is an FBS non-automatic qualifier, home to football powerhouses like Northern Illinois and Kent State, who will face off tomorrow in the MAC Championship. The winner, NIU, will face Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Not only would this be the most boring match-up in all of Bowl-dom, it is a giant slap in the face to a program desperately trying to re-legitimize itself after falling short of expectations for more than a decade.

Had FSU gone undefeated, they still could have been passed over by the SEC Championship winner for the BCS Championship Game and found themselves in the same predicament. Wrap your heads around this one: Had FSU lost to Clemson and defeated NC State, they'd have either A) been given an at large bid to a superior BCS Bowl or, more likely, played a strong SEC opponent in the Chickfila Bowl.

The ACC is so awful, losing it creates more favorable outcomes than winning it.

FSU fans face a rather horrifying predicament. On the one hand, the game will be unwatchable. After a decade of embarrassment, an ACC team will almost certainly win a BCS Bowl and STILL GET LAUGHED AT.

On the other hand, it will be FSU's first BCS Bowl appearance in seven years, and their first Orange Bowl win since 1996, thus a historic moment for the program that should not be missed.

Since we pretty much have to watch this festering turd of a football game, here are a few ideas to help endure the suffering.

Take Up Knitting

If someone told you that you could sit idle with a football game on, and four hours later you'd have a brand new iPhone 5 in your hands, would you believe them? Of course not. And you probably wouldn't believe them if they told you with the same time and effort you could have a brand new homemade oven mitt.

But you'd be dead wrong. In just four hours with a little yarn, a pair of knitting needles and overwhelming boredom, you can knit an oven mitt in the comfort of your own home, providing you with literally tens of minutes of use pulling things out of the oven while avoiding severe burns. The Orange Bowl may be permanently burned into your memory, but that bacon macaroni and cheese you baked to comfort yourself won't burn any part of you, thanks to that oven mitt you knitted.

Not only is an oven mitt practical, it's tangible, unlike the rewards of FSU's 2012 season. For this, you can be very grateful indeed.

Become an Alcoholic

Since the dawn of man, alcohol has enabled (perhaps ennobled) us to face tremendous hardships and really not care whether or not we overcame them. This strange and miraculous elixir numbs the senses, makes women more beautiful and might just save your life.

FACT: Many who survived in the icy waters surrounding the Titanic were blind drunk. The alcohol thinned their blood and fortified it against the cold.

The Titanic was a horrible tragedy, but I think we can all agree that a FSU vs. Kent State Orange Bowl match-up would be considerably worse.

Though a sober person may disagree, through the power of alcohol we can fully appreciate this comparison. Further, according to a study in the medical journal, Consciousness and Cognition, researches found that alcohol actually boosts creativity and verbal resourcefulness. Thus a drunk FSU fan may make all kinds of figurative connections between the Titanic and FSU's 2012 season, perhaps comparing Jimbo Fisher's detail-oriented hubris with that of Thomas Andrews, who designed the fateful ship under the tragic belief that engineering could conquer nature.

Look at that. Even talking about drinking is enough to forget about NIU and the Orange Bowl for a moment. Imagine if we were actually drunk!

Conquer Alcoholism

As the most clever t-shirt on the face of the earth says, "Tallahassee: A Drinking Town with a Football Problem". I'm aware that alcoholism is a serious issue, and many people who live or ever lived in Tallahassee may struggle with it. So I understand if some of you are unable to drink away the Orange Bowl, or worry that doing so could cause some serious personal setbacks.

For the alcoholics out there, I offer an alternative solution. Give up drinking while you watch the Orange Bowl. Make that the day you go cold turkey.

For the classic drunks out there, keep doing what you're doing. For those dabbling in alcoholism, take the month of December to really develop your drinking habit.

ESPN Analyst and fitness enthusiast, David Pollack, suggests setting aside time to run a minimum of one mile every day. Borrowing from this strategy, I say drink at least one six pack of beer per day. The goal of course is to consume far more, but hold yourself accountable if you think you'll fall short. Keep pushing yourself. If you've been able to put away ten shots of Jack Daniels a few nights in a row, see if you can get down eleven or twelve. Think of hangovers like muscle soreness. It's cold and flu season so there's no shame in using your sick leave, and in the unfortunate event you have to show up for work hungover just tell them you're fighting that nasty bug that's going around.

Since the Orange Bowl is on January 1, 2013, you can really bring home your alcoholism journey on New Years Eve without anyone really noticing.

Then, no matter how badly you want it the next day, don't drink one drop. By the time kickoff rolls around you will be so miserable you won't even care about the game. The mental and physical effects of withdrawal are ghastly enough that FSU vs. Kent State won't seem so bad. Because it's just a football game and, hey, now you've got real problems.

I hope you all take advantage of these ideas and encourage you to come up with some of your own. But as far as I can tell, these three are your best options. Choose wisely.

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