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Why I don't eat Papa John's

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I really like pizza. I really do.

But, you have to stand for something.

At the end of 2007, UC played in the Papajohns.com Bowl.  Sure, it was a minor bowl, but folks could make the drive, we had some good barbecue and Ben Mauk had a tremendous game defeating Southern Miss.

Yeah, it reeked a bit of Conference USA, but a win's a win (and that is your last Bearcat bowl win folks).

As it turns out, that was also my last game on radio. At that point, I did the pregame, halftime and postgame shows (and as I recall, Dan Hoard was battling a cold that day so I got to sign that one off).

Anyway, at halftime, the bowl organizers brought "Papa John" in the booth.  He was wearing a bright red shirt.  He grinned as a handler told us he was there for his halftime interview and we were to pump up "Papajohns.com".

OK...I knew this was the same guy that Louisville's stadium was named after, but in the festive mood of bowl season, I was ready to comply.

Then, it struck the "suit" bringing "Papa John" around that he was supposed to be in the ESPN booth which was next door.

Suddenly, "Papa John" lost his pleasant grin and he grimaced at our presence.  There was no, "Thanks anyway," or even a "See you later".  "Papa John" and company whizzed out of the door like a driver who didn't get a tip.

And...He took the boxes of pizza with him!

Based on that, because he's a Louisville guy and because he stiffed us on our halftime pizza, I have personally boycotted Papa John's ever since.

Besides, what's with that stupid pepper anyway?

Of course, in these shaky conference times, I suppose we should be kind to Louisville. Maybe, if the Cards and Bearcats can keep a conference together or team up elsewhere, I might try a small slice again.

By the way, this is a rivalry.  The legendary Keg of Nails is at stake.

keg of nails3.JPG
( I hear the "Spikeburger" is better than the pizza/Thanks to roadfood.com)

More importantly, this is a territorial war involving much more than an empty wooden bucket that used to serve as my microphone stand way back when in Rick Minter's office.

Louisville recruits Cincinnati.  In particular, Charlie Strong has made a strong presence in town and has whisked away some local football talent.

Most notably, Dominique Brown of Winton Woods, who flip-flopped like a political candidate after declaring for UC, and Preston Brown of Northwest.

(See Paul Dehner Jr.'s column effectively fanning the flames)

Beyond that, Gregg Scruggs and Stephon Ball of Cincinnati St. Xavier are there. So is seemingly eighth-year senior Josh Chichester of Lakota West and Colerain's Tyon Dixon. Throw in a number of Northern Kentucky products and there's a substantial amount of Tri-State talent that did the I-71 shuffle.

Now, I would never fault a player that gets a full ride anywhere.  Truth be told, if most of us had athletes at either University, we'd be very proud.

However, for those that have some loyalties to their town and school, it doesn't and shouldn't sit well that Charlie Strong passed "Checkpoint Charlie" on the Brent Spence or "Big Mac" bridges and toted some players back.

The key in Saturday's game is to not let any of these local kids who went South be a factor in the game.  I remember that same Papajohns.com Bowl year when Louisville came to Nippert and got a win.  Elder's Eric Wood was the Cardinals center and he rubbed Cincinnati fans' noses in it by strutting the Keg of Nails all around.

Petty as it may seem, I didn't like it.  I don't want to see it again.

That's what's on my pie.



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