SOUTHAMPTON, NY: The Hamptons Bowl Committee is pleased to announce that Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington have been invited to play in the first annual Hamptons Bowl on Monday, January 7. The inaugural game will be held at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays.
UPDATE 1-2-13: Due to overwhelming response, as of January 2, 2013, we are no longer able to accept requests regarding sponsorships or to house players.
The announcement was made last Sunday as organizers grappled with what to do after the original site of the Bowl—Coopers Beach in Southampton—was deemed unsuitable for play in the wake of severe storm erosion.
“We wanted to hold the first Hamptons Bowl at Coopers Beach to celebrate the Hamptons most prized treasures—the beach and the sea,” the four members of the Hamptons Bowl Executive Committee said in a joint statement. “But Sandy derailed our plans. Red Creek Park was simply chosen out of a hat, because no area field can accommodate the spectators, media, traffic and tailgaters who could show up. But by all rights we shouldn’t be able to accommodate the summer crowds we get, either, and somehow we manage.”
The Hamptons Bowl was conceived as a way to boost the local winter economy, to feed college football fans’ insatiable appetite for bowl games, and to provide an alternative to the Bowl Championship Series National Championship game in the wake of comments made by Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the BCS.
“I’m excited to announce that the Discover BCS National Championship will match up No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama on January 7,” said Hancock. “These two storied programs, this year’s undisputed top two teams, will square off in a must-see event.”
Many fans disputed that “undisputed top two teams” assessment. Ohio State University, which is banned from postseason play this year due to sanctions imposed by the NCAA—it was revealed that OSU players had received tattoos and other benefits from boosters, in violation of NCAA rules—currently stands at 12-0 and is also one of the year’s “undisputed” top teams. Rabid OSU fans petitioned President Obama, asking him to pardon the Buckeyes, but their pleas fell on deaf ears in Washington. “The only mascot he’ll consider pardoning is the turkey,” a White House spokesperson said.
UNC Wilmington does not have an intercollegiate football program, but due to the late announcement of the Hamptons Bowl, other eligible schools had already locked in their postseason obligations, and the Hamptons Bowl selection committee was forced to look elsewhere. “We were looking for a school with ties to the East End,” said a committee spokesman, “and we chose Wilmington because the show Revenge is filmed there, and we wanted to give those kids the opportunity to see what the real Hamptons is like.”
Football-deprived Wilmington fans see the Hamptons Bowl as a glimmer of hope for not only their athletic program but for pigskin proliferation across North Carolina.
“Ever since [former North Carolina State quarterback] Russell Wilson left NC State, North Carolina collegiate football has really been awful,” one enthusiastic supporter said in a YouTube video from a booster rally. “Pro football in the state is awful, too. Fire Cam Newton! I hate the SEC! Auburn is full of more cheaters than Ohio State! We’re fixing to have a great program here at Wilmington. I’m confident that North Carolina football will rise again, and the perfect place to start is our first bowl game.”
Exuberance has not been lacking in the Buckeye State, either, since the invitation was extended. Fans who have long been used to booking their tickets to the Rose Bowl this time of year are thrilled at the opportunity. “We’re excited to head to the Island for some football and fun in the sun, and we appreciate the generosity of the Hamptons Bowl in inviting our team, which with a 12-0 record, really deserves some recognition,” said John Sockmanish, longtime member of the Ashtabula branch of the Big Guys for Buckeyes booster club.
In addition to the historical significance of playing in this first-ever Hamptons Bowl, the winner of the Hamptons gridiron challenge will receive a genuine Cy-Hawks Trophy—the prize traditionally given to the winner of the annual Iowa vs. Iowa State game. The trophy, which features a family of four gathered around a basket of corn and a corn stalk, drew sharp criticism when it was introduced prior to the 2011 season in Iowa. Chief among the complaints was that it celebrated corn, not football. The Hamptons Bowl Committee was able to purchase it for $1.50 on eBay.
“The trophy was made to celebrate Iowa’s corn heritage,” the Hamptons Bowl committee wrote in a letter to potential bowl sponsors, “but we feel that it honors the a-MAIZE-ing legacy of corn on the East End as well.”
Adding to the grandeur, Hamptons summer resident Mariah Carey has been invited to sing the national anthem, and both Ohio State and UNC Wilmington have been asked to bring one representative member of their respective school marching bands for a halftime duet performance—the first of its kind at any college bowl game.
The Hamptons Bowl is the only collegiate bowl game held on Long Island, and one of two to be held in the New York metro area—the Pinstripe Bowl debuted at Yankee Stadium in 2010, pitting the fourth-place team from the Big East against the seventh place team from the Big 12.
Kickoff time for the first annual Hamptons Bowl is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. Admission to the game is free.