Granted, it's a far cry from being college football's most attractive postseason invitation, but this year's Insight Bowl has a great personality -- really. The match-up pits the Golden Bears of California-Berkeley, who handed first-ranked Southern Cal its only loss of the season, against Virginia Tech's Hokies, who put a stop to the mighty Miami Hurricanes' 39-game regular-season winning streak last month. Add to the subplot the fact that this is Cal-Berkeley's first post-Christmas game in seven years -- and that the Hokies are a bit peeved with themselves for losing three of their last four -- and a gridiron fanatic might just forget about this whole Bowl Championship Series fiasco.
The big game kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, December 26, at Bank One Ballpark, 401 East Jefferson. Tickets start at $12, and can be purchased by calling 480-350-0911. For more information, see www.insightbowl.com. - Joe Watson
Wooing The Pooch
New dog park opens at Pecos Park
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The leashed among us can roam free at Pecos Park, 48th Street and Pecos, where the new PETsMART Dog Park welcomes waggers into 2.5 fenced acres, plus a space for smaller dogs. The area's first bark park also features a sidewalk entryway, double-entry gate system, water, information kiosk and "mutt mitt" bags.
Get fit for the New Year
If there's strength in numbers, then keeping your New Year's resolution to get in shape should be a cinch with the help of the Arizona Outdoor and Travel Club. From hikes around the Valley and the state to biking excursions, 4x4 off-road trips and campouts, the nonprofit group offers fresh-air fun for families and singles alike. Visit www.azoutdoortravelclub.com for details. - Michele Laudig