One of the biggest questions surrounding the proposed college football bowl game at Yankee Stadium was what they were going to call the thing. We finally have the answer and, sadly, there's no allusion to Stump Merrill to be found.
It will be the Pinstripe Bowl and it will be played on December 30th between teams from the Big East and Big 12 Conferences. The third-place (choice, actually) Big East team and sixth-place Big 12 team, after excluding BCS participants, will square off on ESPN with the whole thing sponsored by cap manufacturers New Era. Those last two points are really the keys to the whole shebang.
New Era sells a whole lot of Yankee caps and presumably would like the chance to both sell all sorts of Pinstripe Bowl gear and keep selling Yankee caps so it isn't surprising that they'd step up to bankroll this bad boy. ESPN, much to the consternation of fans of the other 29 teams in the league, gets a little Yankee-centric in their national television schedule. What better way to pay back the healthy ratings for such games than to agree to televise this little game come December.
Of course, the Pinstripe Bowl, like most of the other bowls that have come into existence in recent years, wouldn't exist at all without ESPN's need to come up with content near the end of the year. If the network had its druthers, one imagines we'd have every single college football team in a bowl game regardless of how poorly they'd played during the season. Since part of the NCAA's defense of the bowl system over a tournament is that more teams get to end their season with a win, we'll probably get to that point.
Two other bowls are trying to get NCAA certification, one in Orlando and one in Dallas, and if all three were to get the okay from the home office we'd be up to 37 bowls and 74 teams. Under current rules, only 71 teams were actually bowl eligible last year so some believe that creates a problem. Anyone who does greatly underestimates the NCAA's willingness to lower its standards in the favor of spreading the wealth.
Anyhoo, back to the Pinstripe Bowl. A lot of people have posited that people aren't going to fill seats outdoors in the Bronx on a December night. There are a couple of reasons to think they're wrong. One is that it there's a pretty good chance of getting Rutgers or UConn most years and that will be an easy trip for their fans. The other is the Big 12 tie-in, which is a pretty big deal for Big East teams who are normally stuck playing bowl games against teams from third-tier conferences.
So, we've taken care of the name and the weather. That only leaves the issue of how they're going to get a football field into the joint.