This college football season proves, without a doubt, that the current bowl system is the most farcical postseason exercise in the history of athletic competition.
Thirty-four bowl games will be played this year. Thirty-four. More than half of all the teams in Division 1A college football will “earn the honor” of playing in a postseason game. Even teams without winning records are going bowling this season. What a country we live in, huh? Only in America could such mediocrity go unpunished. Thanks, NCAA, for turning America’s new favorite pastime into a first-grade field day. When the fat kid in last place gets a trophy for the fun run, it’s time to go watch soccer.
How bad is the bowl lineup this year? Take a gander at these seven ghastly match-ups we’ve cobbled together below. For your own sake, please watch at your own risk and on an empty stomach:
7. Papajohns.com Bowl – Birmingham – N.C. State (6-6) vs. Rutgers (7-5)
Here’s a new rule for the NCAA to ponder: If a team receives a bowl invite, loses the game and consequently finishes with a record at or below .500, then that team should be automatically disqualified. N.C. State is one of ten such teams on the bubble this year, playing a Rutgers squad that began this season by losing five of their first six games. And to think Birmingham was supposed to play host to an SEC team this year…
6. Orange Bowl – Miami – Virginia Tech (9-4) vs. Cincinnati (11-2)
One of the abnormalities of the BCS formula is that certain conference champions win automatic bids to one of the five BCS bowls each year, regardless of whether or not they deserve to play in one or not. The ACC is one such conference, sending pitiful Virginia Tech to one of the biggest bowl games of the year instead of, say, undefeated Boise State.
5. Insight.com Bowl – Tempe, Ariz. – Kansas (7-5) vs. Minnesota (7-5)
Pretty much any bowl game with “.com” in the title is going to suck. That’s just a general rule of thumb. No objections here as two teams that have lost eight of their last ten games square off in the desert (How apropos). This game is one of two that will be televised on the NFL Network, meaning more than half the country won’t be able to see it. Those will be the lucky ones.
4. Hawaii Bowl – Honolulu – Hawaii (7-6) vs. Notre Dame (6-6)
The NCAA is rewarding two six-loss teams with a postseason bowl game. One team gets to play in its home stadium. The other is reeling after losing to Syracuse three weeks ago, a team with a 10-37 record over the past four seasons. And it’s on Christmas Eve! At least you wont have any trouble getting the kids to bed after watching this snoozer.
3. Humanitarian Bowl – Boise, Idaho – Nevada (7-5) vs. Maryland (7-5)
What if they had a bowl game and no one showed up? As of Dec. 12, Nevada has sold eight tickets to this game, while Maryland had sold 16. At least they can all carpool together.
2. Independence Bowl – Shreveport, La. – Northern Illinois (6-6) vs. Louisiana Tech (7-5)
The former “Weedeater Bowl” lucked out over the past couple of seasons, snagging two mediocre Alabama teams that brought a ton of fans to this pedestrian Louisiana town. No such luck this year. Fast fact: Independence Stadium is where all of the baseball shots for Ollie Stone’s “W.” movie were filmed. Josh Brolin even got arrested in Shreveport during filming after taking part in a bar fight. Now do you want to go?
1. The magicjack St. Petersburg Bowl – St. Petersburg, Fla. – Memphis (6-6) vs. South Florida (7-5)
Ok, the match-up here is awful – South Florida has lost four of its last five games – but the real stinker here is “magicjack.” Ladies and gentlemen, I present a new low in college football: a bowl game sponsored by an infomercial scam. Check out their ad on YouTube…then pray that next year’s game isn’t sponsored by “ShamWOW.”