BCS' big game has intriguing accents

I have resolved to change for the better this year, and not dwell on such craziness as Josh Groban singing the national anthem at tonight's BCS title game, a puzzling choice even if the participants weren't a couple of chicken-fried schools like Alabama and Texas. Josh Groban, he of the Rudy Vallee vibrato? Groban would've been an inspired choice were, say, the University of Chicago and Juilliard playing for the national championship.

Till that happens, give me Tim McGraw any ole day. Hey, you know who would make a great choice? Tim McGraw. If Tim McGraw is busy, get him anyway.

But I'm staying positive in 2010, so it's not for me to quibble. I won't let it tarnish what is shaping up as a truly great game. Sure, the timing could've been better. They could've scheduled this game at almost any other moment in human history, and it would've been better than at 5 p.m. on a Thursday. I'm still finishing lunch at 5 p.m. At that point in the day, my boss has only begun to berate me.

Let's handicap this game anyway, should you arrive home in time to catch the final minutes:

This year's college championship features two schools with great football pedigrees. The University of Alabama (most famous grad: Forrest Gump) features a Heisman winner few of us have ever seen and a defense that gives up less yardage than Gideon's army.

Texas, meanwhile, has a quarterback named Colt. I mean, how great is that? It would be like having a USC quarterback named Palm Tree or Tinsel.

I like Texas' Mack Brown, all the way back to his days as the boy wonder coach at Tulane. Back then, he still had the same moppish Paul McCartney hair, except it was brown, not laced with ivory. He was the next big thing back then. Believe me, if you can take Tulane to a bowl game, as he did, you can do almost anything.

His counterpart at Alabama is this Nick Saban, who seems to leave hurt feelings behind everywhere he goes. Such is the legacy of the modern coach, I suppose, yet few inspire such vitriol as Saban. Baby, were you born to run?

Both programs are more similar than different. For instance, I've spent a couple of days braving the mean streets of Old Pasadena, trying to engage fans of these schools in a decent conversation.

Let me just say that there is no drawl like an Alabama drawl -- part molasses, part pipe organ, with undertones of hickory smoke. The Texas patois is more clipped, but equally confounding. At halftime, they ought to have a diction contest pitting one fan from each team.

Seriously, I've had an easier time ordering room service in Taipei.

By the way, since when does Pasadena get to claim so many important bowls? It doesn't really have a college team of its own, aside from those warrior-nerds of Caltech. Ever seen the Caltech basketball team? They're the topic of my latest screenplay, "White Guys Can't Pass Either."

So the savvy people of Pasadena -- the type of folks who overstudy the expiration dates on milk -- somehow snag all these important national games, including five Super Bowls, even though they have no pro or college teams of their own. Good for them, I say.

And a popular choice it is. Apparently, tonight's game will be the fifth-biggest-grossing sporting event of all time. And, no, that does not include any actual Confederate currency.

Certainly, it's been an interesting couple of days in Old Pas. I've chatted up the 'Bama fans, they of the houndstooth complexions. I've given strip club directions to young scholars from both schools, tried to keep them from wandering out into traffic during bouts of tipsy recklessness. It's my way of giving back to a community that has given me so much.

Seriously, I once had the meal of a lifetime at the Cheesecake Factory on Colorado, and several decent dinners at Twin Palms, which has closed down. I honestly don't know where the locals now go for under-seasoned chicken, but I know it's not Twin Palms.

By the way (part 2): Did someone here order a big annoying person? Well, there were about 50 of them waiting at the corner of Colorado and Raymond the other night, wearing orange and wondering how they'd ever get back to their hotels.

"Dad-gum, there goes another bus," is a phrase you heard often.

"Dad-gum, I'm sleepy. Let's eat something!" was another.

How about a running back?

Erskine also writes "Man of the House" in Saturday's Home section. chris.erskine@latimes.com

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