Live blog: Unaccompanied Miners
Greetings from the Sun Bowl, where it's an absolutely beautiful day -- barely a cloud in the sky, perfect weather for a bowl game. A huge part of the crowd here in El Paso won't be specifically affiliated with one team or the other -- the two schools sold about 8,000 of the 49,000 or so tickets sold for the game, so the large majority are locals, and the question is which team they'll be pulling for.
As a result, there's only so much green and yellow in the stands -- lots of UTEP jerseys, lots of Cowboys sweatshirts. If you see a USF jersey and it's not Matt Grothe's No. 8, chances are it's a player's immediate family. Twice, I did a double-take on a green No. 4 jersey, only to realize it was Brett Favre's No. 4 Packers jersey. It'll be fun to see which side the crowd takes up their support for ...
One who will be rooting for the Bulls? James Perry, an El Paso retiree and former rodeo clown who had a green "U" painted on his cheek and a Bulls sticker on his coat as he sat in the middle of the Oregon side. Why is he pulling for the Bulls? His great-great-grandfather was Madison Starke Perry, the fourth governor of the state of Florida and was in office when the state seceded from the Union. Freshman defensive tackle Corian Garrison hails from Starke, which is named for Perry.
If that weren't enough of a USF connection for him, he read that Jim Leavitt had been a graduate assistant at Iowa under coach Hayden Fry. Perry said he played football in high school under Fry in Odessa, Texas, and that clinched his Bulls allegiance.
Several fans in attendance have a far closer link to Leavitt -- if you notice a group of eight fans wearing green-tipped sombreros in the front row of the USF side of the stadium, they include his nephews and nieces, many of whom made the 10-hour drive from San Antonio. Leavitt's two brothers and his sister were born in Texas, and all told, he has about 20 family members in attendance, including his parents, Pierce and Lois, who lived in Texas from 1948-57 while Pierce was stationed there in the Air Force.