Column: Are you ready for some bowls?! We aren’t
This college football bowl season is like a brand of Chex Mix
that comes with a bunch of nuts you don’t really care to eat.
Sure, there’s a handful of enticing matchups that are worthy of
your time for three or so hours. But by the time you’re done
picking through to the good ones, you realize there’s not much
Well, there are other things to do this holiday season.
Like, go ice skating.
Or, check out all the pretty lights.
Whatever it is, there’s never been a better reason to spend some
time – some real quality time – with your friends and family.
Believe us, you won’t be missing a thing if you tune out what
will soon be running virtually nonstop on your plasma screen, in
all its high-def ugliness. This is nothing more than a bunch of
meaningless contests between mediocre teams, a lineup that that
makes ”Honey Boo Boo” look like ”Downton Abbey.”
Call it Must-Miss TV.
The guys who run the system clearly take us as nothing but a
bunch of suckers, willing to watch whatever drivel they put before
us as long they attach the word ”bowl” to some product they’re
When the complete list of bowls was finally unveiled in all its
glory Sunday night, most of the attention turned to Northern
Illinois, a team that somehow made the Orange Bowl after losing to
Iowa (which won 33 percent of its games) and barely beating Army
and Kansas (who combined for a grand total of three victories).
But let’s not take out our wrath on the … uh, hmmm …
whatever their nickname is. We should actually be saluting the MAC
champs, because they’re like a single minnow swimming ahead bravely
to take on the BCS sharks, all while making an already ludicrous
system look even sillier.
Besides, there’s plenty of bowl games that are far more
objectionable than the one in Miami between the Seminoles of
Florida State and the … uh, hmm … oh yeah, the Huskies, that’s
it, of Northern Illinois.
The good folks of El Paso will be subjected to a Sun Bowl
featuring a team with a losing record (Georgia Tech) and perhaps
the most underachieving squad in all the land (USC).
The Yellow Jackets (6-7) needed a waiver from the NCAA before
they could accept their invitation. The Trojans lost five times
after starting the season at No. 1.
”We’re excited about a very good bowl and a great matchup,”
said USC coach Lane Kiffin, who we can only assume awoke the next
morning to find his nose had grown by a foot or two.
But, who knows, maybe one of Kiffin’s minions will go all rogue
again and deflate the tires on the team buses. That way, they can’t
leave their hotels and no one would have to be subjected to such a
Though, we must say, this game might have some car-crash appeal
if held in conjunction with a Kiffin family reunion. The bratty
coach already dumped his 72-year-old dad because of the team’s
defensive woes, and he surely would be willing to jettison a few
more relatives if the Trojans lost again.
Georgia Tech, meanwhile, was blown out at home by Middle
Tennessee, lost its final regular-season game by 32 points and
wound up with a losing record after getting into the Atlantic Coast
Conference championship game by default, the next team in line
after Miami decided to spend another postseason in self-imposed
Even after losing the ACC game, the Yellow Jackets still got the
call that extended their bowl streak to 16 years in a row.
Talk about an achievement worthy of an asterisk.
But, this isn’t about one particular school. There’s plenty of
averageness to go around.
A dozen teams received bowl bids with records of 6-6, which is
often the sort of mark that gets a coach fired, not earns his team
a trip at the holidays. (Or, in the case of Purdue, was bowl-worthy
AND got the coach fired).
In fact, there are two games matching a pair of 6-6 teams – Rice
vs Air Force in the Armed Services Bowl at Fort Worth (sorry, our
men and women in uniform) and Pittsburgh vs. Ole Miss in the BBVA
Compass Bowl at Birmingham.
When those kind of teams get together, they’re hoping you throw
out the record book.
Instead, you should change the channel.
Yet, none of the 35 bowls could find a spot for Louisiana Tech,
the highest-scoring team in the country, a squad that won nine
times and barely lost to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M in one of
the most entertaining games of the season.
The Bulldogs apparently weren’t too thrilled about the idea of
going to the nearby Independence Bowl to dance with another team
from their own state (Louisiana-Monroe). They thought they had
might get a call from someone more handsome. The Independence was
all, like, why you disrespectin’ us, girlfriend? So they called up
Ohio (University, not State), which said ”yes.”
”Under no circumstances did I ever think there was any
possibility at all that we would not play in a bowl game,”
Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes said. ”It is a shame that our
nationally recognized team and its 31 seniors have to end the
season this way.”
No, the real shame is that college football ends its season this
We’re promised a playoff in 2014, but we should see through that
four-team ruse. It’s a way to silence everyone who wants a
legitimate playoff (16 teams, minimum) and keep alive the bowl
system, nothing more than a nonprofit scam lining the pockets of
its operators with exorbitant salaries for the taxing job of
putting on one game a year.
Maybe if the fans stop watching, there will be a true
Maybe if the fans stop buying tickets, all these meaningless
games will wither up and die.
There’s no better time to start than now.
Happy Bowl Season!
Now, go do something else.
Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press.
Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.or or www.twitter.com