I’m (apparently) the resident college football dork around here, and this first set of bowl games snuck up on me even though we’re like a week from Christmas. Not that any of these games are going to light the world on fire, but whatever, you know? It’s college football, so there’s really nothing to complain about beyond the fact that a bowl game exists to give Ohio and Troy a place to play each other.
That’s actually my primary beef with that predictably short-sighted email from BCS executive director Bill Hancock to the Associated Press. He was implying that colleges love the fact that they get revenue from the bowls, that their players get one more game, and that anyone involved with the money side of college football gives a sh*t about “student athletes.” In fact, even UConn is spending a fortune on their first trip to a BCS bowl.
Quick side note: The cheapest ticket available through UConn to the Fiesta Bowl is $111?!?! Those are NFL prices! And I should know, having paid exactly that amount to go to Colts/Chargers right after Thanksgiving. Live football is much, much too expensive for fans. It’s the secret downfall looming for football in general.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure with what teams have to shell out to go to bowl games, they would be more than happy to participate in a playoff with “financial inducements” that could offset the insane costs associated with taking your football team on the road. Especially if any of those games were home games. On to the previews…
Saturday, December 18, 2010
2 pm ET
New Mexico Bowl
Brigham Young (6-6) vs. Texas El-Paso (6-6) (+12)
I would have thought teams would welcome Boise State, Hawai’i, and Fresno State to the Mountain West. If BYU, Utah, and TCU had stayed, this would have easily been a super conference, rivaling any of the majors for quality and quantity and good teams. It’s questionable whether the BCS would have opened up and added them as another auto-qualifying conference, but that’s because of collusion. BYU being independent doesn’t really increase their shot at the BCS. For that matter, TCU in the Big East doesn’t really make sense either.
UTEP sucks, and this is only a down year for BYU. This doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge for the Cougars. Plus, it’s not like New Mexico is that fun to party in anyway, so there won’t be too many distractions.
But why is UTEP’s stadium hosting the Sun Bowl for the umpteenth year in a row, but they somehow can’t work out just having UTEP play there whenever they’re bowl-eligible. I’m fully aware of conference arrangements with bowl games, but this is just silly. Notre Dame would play at their stadium if it hosted a bowl. Also because there’s no way you could find two teams to play in South Bend, Indiana in December/January.
5:30 pm ET
uDrove Humanitarian Bowl
Northern Illinois (10-3) vs. Fresno State (8-4) (+1.5)
Games like this are exactly why I’m not keeping track of my record in bowl picks. It’s impossible to figure out how teams will handle the layoff, losing their head coaches, and the fact that they’re playing in places like Boise, Idaho in December.
The location of this game is also more than a little ironic since the most successful season in NIU history led them to lose their head coach and end up in a bowl game in Boise instead of somewhere warm. I’d feel bad for them, but now Jerry Kill is in the Big Ten, so thanks for dropping that on us, guys.
Oh right, Fresno State. They’re okay. I guess.
Pick: Fresno State
9 pm ET
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Ohio (8-4) vs. Troy (7-5) (-2)
Honestly, who cares about this game? There’s still like a 75% chance I’ll watch it, but that’s not a point.