Watching College Football: BOWL SEASON WEEK 1

Here's what you should be watching during the first week of college football's postseason bonanza.

It's time for college football's annual set of exhibition games where all but three don't really matter but the matchups are sometimes good and regardless it's football so you're probably going to watch it!

Man, we need a shorter name than that. Hey, I've got it! BOWL SEASON!

Yeah, yeah, lame attempt at humor. But given the way bowl season is structured, I've gotta do some tinkering with my formula. There's usually not more than a few bowl games on every day, and it's rare that two bowl games are on at the same time.

So instead, I'll be categorizing every single bowl game based on whether you should watch it, maybe watch it, or not watch it, according to its potential for entertainment. I'll preview every single game in the Watch and Maybe Watch categories.

Of course, the usual caveat applies that if I say not to watch a bowl game your team is involved in, you should just ignore my silly advice and watch it! Also, as usual, all game times are in God's Time (CST).

SAT 12/15

WATCH

  • Las Vegas Bowl (Arizona State vs. Fresno State, 2:30p, ABC): Herm Edwards pops every last vein in his vein-popping forehead trying to scheme a way to stop Fresno State's 37th-ranked offense and (gulp) 9th-ranked defense. Doubt he can, but ASU has surprised under The Herminator this year.

MAYBE WATCH

  • New Mexico Bowl (North Texas vs. Utah State, 1p, ESPN): Two top-speed offensive juggernauts just zooming around is always a good time. Take it to the bank. That’s all I have to say about that.
  • New Orleans Bowl (Appalachian State vs. Middle Tennessee, 8p, ESPN): Sure, this will likely be carnage in the Mountaineers' favor. But App State's offense is cool to watch, and Middle Tennessee's on the tail end of a hot streak. Don’t sleep on this one.

DON'T WATCH

  • Cure Bowl (Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 1:30p, CBSSN)
  • Camellia Bowl (Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern, 4:30p, ESPN)

TUES 12/18

MAYBE WATCH

  • Boca Raton Bowl (Northern Illinois vs. UAB, 6p, ESPN): NIU somehow lucked their way into a MAC championship, so they get to face off against the motivated feel-good story of UAB. The Blazers have a suitably fiery offense this year. NIU has a solid defense, but can't score. You see where this is going.

WED 12/19

DON'T WATCH

  • Frisco Bowl (Ohio vs. San Diego State, 7p, ESPN)

THU 12/20

MAYBE WATCH

  • **Gasparilla Bowl (Marshall vs. USF, 6p, ESPN):**SPONSORED BY BAD BOY MOWERS AND PLAYED IN TAMPA. Which is hilarious. What makes it even funnier? Oh, just the fact that USF plays all its home games in Raymond James Stadium - the very site of this bowl. Still, they've faltered lately, so We Are Marshall might just knock them off.

FRI 12/21

DON'T WATCH

  • Bahamas Bowl (FIU vs. Toledo, 11:30a, ESPN)
  • Idaho Potato Bowl (BYU vs. Western Michigan, 3p, ESPN)

And that's it! Yes, the pickings here are a bit slim, but business should pick up next week. See you then!

Comments
No. 1-3
etbass
etbass

If they did implement an 8 team playoff, there should be no automatic bids for anyone. The best 8 teams in and give extra consideration for conference champions. An 8-5 Pitt team could have won the ACC. Then a 9-4 Northwestern could have won the Big Ten. In that case, Notre Dame would have a bid. Then you would have two bids left for Georgia, Clemson and UCF. All three of those are much more deserving and better than champions Pitt or Northwestern. Winning a conference championship means you were the best team in the conference on one day. Just because an 7-5 Pitt team beats a 12-0 Clemson team, does't negate the rest of the season. Automatic bids are idiotic and it puts the teams into an box. If a champion has an argument, then put them in.

This year, the 8 teams should have been:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Georgia
  6. Ohio State
  7. UCF
  8. Washington

I give the nod to 10-3 Washington over 10-2 Michigan because of the Conference Championship. Michigan has already lost to Notre Dame and they got embarrassed by Ohio State in their last game. Washington finished on a high note, beating Washington State and Utah. The conference champion wins the argument.

etbass
etbass

All of the people crying about an 8 team playoff have forgotten the purpose. The purpose was to make sure the best team had a chance to win the championship. THE best team. Under the BCS, one bad night against a good opponent and it is all over. With the 4 team playoff that isn't the case. You have to lose multiple games to be left if you play a decent schedule. Or you have to struggle week after week against cupcakes and then get blown out by an unranked, 6-6 team, like Ohio State did.

We have lost sight of the purpose. The argument isn't whether Ohio State is one of the best 4 teams, but if they have an argument for the best team and a chance to prove it. With the data we have, it is Alabama, Clemson and then everyone else. Notre Dame ran the table, so they deserve to show whether they are the best or not. Oklahoma avenged their only loss, so they deserve a crack at it. Georgia is one of the best four teams, but they had a shot and lost, which after getting blown out by LSU, destroyed their argument to be the best. UCF struggled against some weak and medicore teams and played no one of substance all season, so no, they don't have an argument either.

It isn't about access. It isn't about being one of the best four. It is about being the best. We are trying to get one champion, not a group of the best teams. Expanding the playoff will make many of your regular season games worthless. Alabama could have lost to Auburn with no consequences, maybe even to Auburn and Georgia and still gotten in an 8 team playoff. The SEC Championship game would have certainly been meaningless, other than seeding.

Eventually, they will cave and we will go to an 8 team playoff. One thing most people haven't noticed is that larger playoffs just entrench the same teams year after year. Alabama has been all 5 years. Clemson has been 4. Oklahoma has been 3 years. Ohio State has been two and been on the edge at least 2 more times. (Georgia will be in this group going forward). If you want someone else to have a real chance, you better keep out these teams when they slip up. If you let them in every year, they will keep winning it all. The coaches and the players figure out how to navigate the playoff and they have an advantage over people like Notre Dame, Washington and Michigan State that will only make it on occasion.

etbass
etbass

Not only is UAB a feel good story, but the job Bill Clark has done there is amazing. I am shocked that he hasn't gotten a lot more consideration for bigger jobs. He did a great job as Jacksonville State before taking the UAB job. Then in 1 year, he had them bowl eligible and they yanked the program down. After public outcry and fundraising, they reinstated the program.

Clark stuck with UAB through 2 years of no football and built this team from scratch. In the first year, they went to a bowl game. In the second year of the program's reinstatement, they won CUSA and 9 games. It is just amazing what Clark has done with this program. It is hard to turn a program around quickly. It is much harder to build one from scratch in two years.