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Remember a different time, reader: a time when the mighty Shreveport Independence Bowl knew real power, and would with its weed-whackered arm beckon esteemed squads from the mid-ranks of the Big 12 and the SEC to parley on its well-fescued field of battle. Lo, did the gods quake at its might, and send freakish weather to stem its power:

Forsooth! The economy hath helped to humble the Independence Bowl, who hath taken Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois to play the part of Kano and Scorpion to their Shang Tsung this year. Reaaadyy....FIGHT! FOR THE AMUSEMENT OF THE SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY METROPOLITAN AREA!!!

What is Northern Illinois, and should they borrow oxygen tanks from the morbidly obese in the crowd? We don't know, and yes. The Huskies fall firmly into the category of "bowl team-like substance," having finished the season losing three out of four by a combined score of 136-58. Their coach is named Jerry Kill, though, which should be worth two points on the scoreboard in every game. They play defense and wait for the other team to make egregious mistakes, and if you've seen this in action it is just as boring as you imagine it to be.

Louisiana Tech: Creating the Cyborg Crawdad of the Future today. We would mock Louisiana Tech, too, if they hadn't benched aspiring CIA agent A.J. Suggs Taylor Bennett seven games into the season and started sophomore Ross Jenkins instead. They then developed something like a passing game to complement running back Daniel Porter, the only reason you should watch this game. He plays in a respectably nasty fashion, and this bears praise and notice.

Why aren't we at the bowl game, pussy? Not because we are scared of Shreveport, a town we humbly suggested used the floating corpses of cattle passing in the river as a prime source of entertainment last year. No, we've been to scarier places, like Phnom Penh and Miami. The real reason is that Miami is a good kind of scary, and we'd like to charge our expense account to the gills for the 305 and not the 318. The economy affects us all, especially when you plan on racking up several grand in charges billed only to a single line reading "Winston Wolf (he solves problems)" for the national title game.