The Hamptons Bowl Committee is pleased to announce that San Jose State University and the University of California at Riverside have been invited to play in the second annual Hamptons Bowl, to be held at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on January 6, 2014. Game time will be at 8 p.m., with a host of events planned throughout the weekend.
UC Riverside was chosen as a nod toward efforts at the revitalization of Suffolk County’s Riverside, a hamlet on the western edge of the Hamptons that is often confused with nearby Riverhead. In keeping with Hamptons Bowl tradition of giving schools an opportunity they can get nowhere else, UC Riverside has been asked to compete despite not having an established football team—an apparent catalyst for former athletic director Brian Wickstrom’s departure over the summer. Introduced as the athletic director at the University of Louisiana at Monroe on July 2, Wickstrom indicated that he’d wanted to head a department that was part of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
“After Wickstrom’s departure, [UC] Riverside like, totally re-evaluated its priorities,” said Miles Si’Russ, founder of underground UC Riverside athletics fan club High on the Highlanders. “We all definitely probably agree that we needed a football team, and we got a group of guys and girls together to play football after our nightly games of full-contact origami. It’s been an underground operation until now, and we’re thankful to be given this opportunity to debut the team in the Hamptons gridiron challenge,” continued Si’Russ, who noted that women were allowed play because “this is California, after all.” The newly minted UC Highlanders football team will feature the first female quarterback in the history of collegiate postseason play.
The San Jose State Spartans football team finished 6-6 this season, qualifying them for the postseason. An apparent glitch in the bowl selection process initially had the Spartans left out of the 2013–14 bowl schedule, but the Hamptons Bowl Committee picked them at the 11th hour, publicly declaring that the Spartans would be great contenders at Red Creek despite losing at least three games in their Mountain West conference that should have been well within their reach. The Spartans blew fourth-quarter leads against San Diego State and Navy, and were shamed in a loss to Nevada, who finished 4–8.
“It’s a left coast battle on the right coast,” the four members of the Hamptons Bowl Executive Marketing Committee (HBEMC) said in a joint statement. “We’re especially excited that this game can serve a dual purpose—to feed East Enders’ insatiable need for competitive football while promoting Riverside.”
Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman has been vocal in his efforts to revamp Riverside, and his plans include constructing a footbridge over the Peconic River to connect the hamlet to Riverhead. The HBEMC has requested that a prototype of the footbridge be placed over the field at Red Creek, giving fans a unique opportunity to view the game from directly above the 50-yard line.
The Highlanders/Spartans matchup, which was announced on December 8 in a separate and unrelated press conference from all of the other bowl selections, comes on the heels of the overwhelming success of the press release for the first Hamptons Bowl in 2013. That inaugural event invited Ohio State—ineligible for postseason play last year but not by the Hamptons Bowl, which is not affiliated with the NCAA—and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Though there is no known footage of the actual game, the pregame two-hand-touch tournament is already the stuff of legend.
Played on January 7, 2013, the same day as the inaugural Hamptons Bowl, the two-hand touch tourney finals pitted OSU (Onside Southampton United) against UNCW (United Network of Collegiate Wonks), and was won on a fluke fourth-quarter play. Dubbed the “Immaculate Confection,” UNCW scored two touchdowns in the final 47 seconds, aided by a successful onside kick, after several members of the OSU defense were blinded by a renegade puff of cotton candy. A fan threw his uneaten pink confection onto the field, and high winds caused the cotton candy to get caught in the facemasks of five OSU players, effectively giving UNCW an unobstructed path to the
The Hamptons Bowl was conceived as a way to boost the local winter economy and to provide an alternative to the Bowl Championship Series National Championship game. “Last year, we purposely made the date of the inaugural Hamptons Bowl to conflict with the date of the BCS National Championship game, as we felt it avenged Ohio State’s unfair exclusion,” said the Committee. “This year, it appears the BCS actually got it right [by pitting the undisputed No. 1 Florida State University against No. 2 Auburn University], but tradition is tradition, so January 6 will remain the date for both the BCS title game and the Hamptons Bowl.” The park has been hosting a popular nightly meet-up of midnight glow-in-the-dark squirrel tag, which has attracted loyal participants from as far away as Shelter Island, but that event will be canceled on January 6.
This year’s game will be the culmination of a weekend-long celebration, headed by Hamptons Bowl platinum sponsor Derwood Hodgegrass. The Southampton billionaire, best known for his functional ocean-warming device Sea-Lysium VII, has agreed to throw “a festive and wildly inappropriate” party to celebrate the Hamptons Bowl at his manse on Sunday, January 5. Details will be released at a later date, “but you can be sure there will be a pig roast with artisan barbecue sauces from all 50 states,” a Hodgegrass representative assured HBEMC members. Hodgegrass’s elaborate parties garnered him “local celebrity status” before he gained international attention for his controversial Sea-Lysium VII. “Friend me on Facebook to keep up to date on party happenings,” says Hodgegrass. “All are invited.”
The winner of the Hamptons Bowl will be awarded a replica Cy-Hawk Trophy. The prize was originally intended to be given to the winner of the Iowa vs. Iowa State game, but a new design unveiled in 2011 was mocked and promptly discarded for its failure to depict anything related to football. The trophy instead features a family of four gathered around a basket of corn and a corn stalk. The Hamptons Bowl Committee purchased the original trophy for $1.50 last year, as they felt it celebrated the East End’s rich corn farming heritage.
Adding to the grandeur, Hamptons resident Billy Joel has been invited to sing the national anthem. “Due to his impending [Madison Square] Garden residency, Mr. Joel has a very tight schedule,” said the Committee. “We’re happy to let him know that he need only devote 10 minutes to this obligation.”
In a show of appreciation for affording Ohio State the opportunity to play in the postseason last year, members of the Big Guys for Buckeyes booster club have petitioned the school to allow the Ohio State University Marching Band to play the Hamptons Bowl halftime show. Among the band’s popular halftime performances this year were a Michael Jackson tribute and a medley of video game tunes.
“After the overwhelming success of last year, we’re confident the Hamptons Bowl will become a highly anticipated annual event,” said the HBEMC. “Let’s play ball!”
Kickoff for the second annual Hamptons Bowl is 8 p.m. ET on January 6. Admission to the game is free. Check back right here at DansPapers.com, follow us on Twitter or visit our Facebook page for more information on volunteering to house a player or to inquire about Hamptons Bowl sponsorship opportunities.