The bowl season is well under way. It began last weekend with two games on Saturday and continued this week with a bowl game on Thursday and Friday and two more today.
Next week there are 13 bowl games and we'll be only halfway through the schedule. That's because there are 35 bowls for this college football season.
It seems like it might never end, but it does. Finally, on Jan.7, we'll have the BCS National Championship game. That could feature a game between two ''finely-tuned'' teams who haven't played a game in more than 40 days.
Back in the dark ages when I was a child, the college football season used to end on Jan. 1 (or Jan. 2 if Jan. 1 was a Sunday) around 8 p.m. That's when the Rose Bowl game ended and it was the last game of the longest college football day of the year - New Year's Day.
It all began with the Orange Bowl, that kicked off at noon. Soon the Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl began. Then the day ended with the Rose Bow that kicked off at 5 p.m.
That's the way it was 50 years ago for the college bowls of the 1962 season and on New Year's Day, 1963.
When four bowl games were held on New Year's Day, that was almost half the schedule. There were only 10 bowl games played and just like this year, they started on Saturday, Dec. 15. But in 1962, those two bowls were the Gotham Bowl and the Liberty Bowl.
The following Saturday there were two more, the Tangerine Bowl and the Bluebonnet Bowl.
Then things began wrapping up the following weekend with the Gator Bowl on Saturday, the Sun Bowl on Monday, which was New Year's Eve, and things capped off with the ''big four'' on New Year's Day.
When the Rose Bowl ended around 8 p.m. in the east on New Year's Day, it marked the end of the college football season, except for the Senior Bowl game the following weekend.
And there was no national champion to be crowned because prior to the 1965 college football season, the wire services announced their final polls after the regular season game before the bowls.
Pro football had also pretty much ended before New Year's Day.
On Dec. 23, 1962, the Dallas Texans defeated the Houston Oilers, 20-17, for the AFL championship in a double overtime game. At that time it was the longest pro football game ever played.
On Dec. 30, the Green Bay Packers topped the New York Giants, 16-7, in the NFL title game.
That was the end of the line for both teams because the AFL-NFL Championship Game, later to be called the Super Bowl, was four years away. However, the NFL still had the Playoff Bowl in which the second-place teams in each conference met at the Orange Bowl and for the 1962 season, Green Bay defeated Cleveland, 40-23.
And there were still the Pro Bowl for the NFL and the AFL All-Star Game.
But something else more important ended with the Rose Bowl. Just like every year, New Year's Day of 1963 was definitely a holiday for me, a football fanatic in his first year of junior high school. Having four games in one day was a dream come true. But as the minutes ticked down in the Rose Bowl, if it was played on any weekday but Friday, the minutes were also ticking down on something else.
That's when I used to realize that not only was the football season coming to an end, but also a week-long Christmas vacation from school. The next morning it was back to school.
It seemed like I always put off thinking about returning to school until it hit me like a sledgehammer as the Rose Bowl came to an end.
There was no such thing as overtime in college football back then. If there was, I would have wished for overtime at every Rose Bowl to extend the game. And in my unconscious mind, to extend Christmas vacation.