Thursday, December 18, 2008

C&C Bowl Mania

First off, my apologies for the 12 day hiatus from the blog. The combination of work and family (in that order) have occupied every waking hour, and even a few hours that should have been spent non-waking. I do have to admit that with a disappointing football season having concluded with one of the most embarrassing defeats I can remember (I know it was a close game, so what), my attention has been easily diverted elsewhere. The Hawks and Falcons are doing well, otherwise my misery would probably be over the edge.

What I'm thinking about today are bowl games. Every bowl game, in fact. The good matchups and the bad ones. The meaningful and the meaningless. Every one of them. I like bowls. I watch as many as I can. I may be the only person left on Earth that yearns for the old days of the bowls, where it was a free for all. The bowls wanted the teams that they wanted, and they negotiated bowl slots with whichever team was interested in playing in said bowl. You had certain conferences whose champions were tied into certain bowls (SEC to the Sugar, Big 10 and Pac 10 in the Rose, etc), but for the most part anybody played anywhere they wanted. Georgia played in both the Sun Bowl and the Gator Bowl back in the day. They could play in neither under the current arrangement of the bowl system.

Another thing that I used to like about bowls was that there was no BCS selection process. If you had only 2 undefeated teams, there was a decent chance they wouldn't play each other in the bowls. They'd each play somebody else and just let the voters sort out the National Champion. I think Penn State went undefeated more than once but did not finish #1. It still beat today's system by a country mile. And for whatever reason, nobody complained much. Blame it on the age of the Internet I suppose, as now the common man is finally heard from. Before, college Presidents could insulate themselves from such arguments. Now a days they are left to figure out a solution. The BCS is the best they can come up with.

So while I was one of about 7 people watching ESPN Bowl Mania this past weekend, I noticed something they were doing that I thought was pretty neat. The Bachelor himself, Jesse Palmer, was picking his winners of each bowl game and giving them his own confidence ranking. It was nothing more than a promotion to get people to play the online version of this unpopular game show, but it was fun nonetheless and a good excuse for 3 hours of analysis of every bowl. Incidentally, Palmer picked UGA to beat Michigan State as the game he is most confident about out of all 34 bowl games being played. I like Palmer as an analyst, in fact I think he might be just about the best thing ESPN has going for its college football crew these days. But I'm not sure what he's smoking that could make him so confident in the Dawgs. Perhaps he lost a bet.

All caught up in the moment, I decided to go to ESPN.com and set my own Bowl Mania lineup. Here's what mine looks like (34-most confident, 1-least confident):

34. St Petersburg Bowl: South Florida over Memphis
This is essentially a home game for USF. No-brainer here.

33. Insight Bowl: Kansas over Minnesota
Minnesota really fell off the table at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Kansas plays in the Big 12. I've been trained to understand that the Big 12 is incapable of losing to a team from any other conference during the upcoming bowl season.

32. Outback Bowl: Iowa over South Carolina
The customary late season Spurrier swoon is in full effect.

31. Chick Fil A Bowl: Georgia Tech over LSU
This will probably be a close game, but Georgia Tech is carrying a horseshoe in its hind parts these days. They'll find a way to pull it out and thus extend my misery for another day.

30. Emerald Bowl: Cal over Miami FL
Too far for Miami to travel, very short for Cal.

29. Motor City Bowl: Central Michigan over Florida Atlantic
Another one right in one team's backyard, and a long distance for the other team.

28. Fiesta Bowl: Texas over Ohio State
I see this one getting ugly. Only way Texas loses is if they suffer a letdown for not making the Title Game.

27. Music City Bowl: Boston College over Vanderbilt
Normally this would work in Vandy's favor given that they are playing at home. But BC is good, and Vandy isn't. I don't see this one working out for the Dores. At least they made it this far.

26. Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State over Wisconsin
Wisconsin stinks. I think I had them ranked #4 in my preseason poll. Meanwhile Florida State is working on a return to mediocrity (although I think they skipped mediocrity altogether on the way down, and just went from real good to real bad in a short span.

25. Cotton Bowl: Texas Tech over Ole Miss
Oh how I wanted to pick Ole Miss to win this game, and Graham Harrell's hand doesn't help Texas Tech. I just don't see how the Rebels can score enough points.

24. Rose Bowl: Southern Cal over Penn State
I actually think Penn State will keep this game close, but Southern Cal is tough for a Big 10 to beat in CA.

23. Sugar Bowl: Alabama over Utah
Anyone thinking this is going to be on the level of UGA-Hawaii last year is mistaken. Utah is much, much better than Hawaii was. But Bama will win comfortably.

22. GMAC Bowl: Ball State over Tulsa
Tulsa's defense has gotten really bad at the same time teams are starting to figure out its offense. Not a good combo.

21. New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State over Colorado State
How in Hades did Colorado State qualify for a bowl game?

20. Alamo Bowl: Missouri over Northwestern
Once again, Big 12 team wins against another conference.

19. Papajohns.com Bowl: Rutgers over NC State
See New Mexico Bowl comments. Insert NC State in place of Colorado State.

18. Capital One Bowl: Georgia over Michigan State
I decided to take the easy road and put this one middle of the pack. In no way am I confident about this one though. I'll take anything that involves the opposition scoring less than 30 points, win or lose.

17. International Bowl: UConn over Buffalo
This game is played in Canada, where the weather is always nice in January. Should be comfortable for both of these teams.

16. Texas Bowl: Rice over Western Michigan
Take the home team here.

15. Liberty Bowl: East Carolina over Kentucky
For those counting, I have the SEC winning two of seven bowl games thus far, one of those I am not too confident about at all.

14. Sun Bowl: Oregon State over Pittsburgh
This should be a good game. Oregon State has to be a little disappointed in falling from the Rose to the Sun, and Pitt has been playing well. Just a hunch here.

13. BCS Championship: Florida over Oklahoma
This ends my streak of picking Big 12 teams to win. For anyone interested, I am not pulling for Florida to win this game.

12. Las Vegas Bowl: BYU over Arizona
This should be an entertaining game, but I like the Mormons in Vegas.

11. New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss over Troy
Shortish drive for both teams. Tough pick. Going with the shorter drive. (I know, proximity to bowl game is an overrated factor.)

10. Gator Bowl: Nebraska over Clemson
Pelini will figure out a way to slow down the Clemson RBs.

9. Eagle Bank Bowl: Navy over Wake Forest
The triple option seems to be the cat's pajamas these days.

8. Holiday Bowl: Oklahoma State over Oregon
Probably the best non-BCS bowl matchup of all. There could be alot of points here, and when alot of points are scored, I like Ok St.

7. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston over Air Force
I know, how can you pick against Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl? Not to mention Air Force won the first time these two played this year, at Houston. Call this one another hunch.

6. Poinsettia Bowl: TCU over Boise State
2nd best non-BCS bowl matchup. This is going to be an excellent game.

5. Meineke Bowl: North Carolina over West Virginia
I'll take Butch Davis over the guy at WVU. Teams are fairly evenly matched.

4. Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii over Notre Dame
This is a pure pick of desire, nothing more.

3. Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech over Cincinnati
This might be the least appealing BCS bowl I can ever remember. In games of little appeal, always take Va Tech.

2. Independence Bowl: Louisiana Tech over Northern Illinois
Taking La Tech close to home.

1. Humanitarian Bowl: Maryland over Nevada
I think I heard that Maryland sold 24 tickets to this game in the first week of sales. No joke.

3 comments:

Susan said...

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BayouDawg said...

nice call on the tcu upset. Proves the smurfs didn't belong in a bcs bowl.

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