Columnists, Sports

Tuesday’s Take: Going bowling

It’s bowl time!

No, not that kind.

Rather, college bowl season is upon us. Though, I guess the two go hand in hand.

One of the best stories out of the bowl matchup assignments has to be Northern Illinois getting into the Orange Bowl.

Let me just put this out there, the way they determine who gets a bowl matchup and what constitutes automatic berths is confusing. It has to do with conference champions, bowls being exclusive to certain conferences, coach rankings and maximums on the number of conference teams that can be sent to BCS games. Like I said, confusing and, frankly, sort of ridiculous, to the point that I don’t even want explain how they got in. Maybe to the point that I don’t even know how they actually got in.

But they’re in.

And why is this story so good?

Coming into the weekend, Northern Illinois was ranked No. 21 and needed to get by a few teams to even have a slight hope of reaching a BCS game. But they may have just had one of the best weekends ever.

On Friday night, they won a double-overtime game against No. 19 Kent State 44–37. After blowing a 27–13 lead in the fourth quarter, they kept it tied until the end of regulation. A 40-yard field goal in the first overtime kept their hopes alive and a rush by their seriously underrated quarterback Jordan Lynch sealed the deal.

A huge victory, coupled with a few losses from higher-ranked teams, and things looked good.

And then Saturday, while there was still uncertainty about whether or not they would make a bowl game, their head coach Dave Doeren jumped ship and accepted a job at North Carolina State.

“Hey thanks for the vote of confidence, Dave. We’re just on the very cusp of getting a bowl game and that’s when you throw in the towel?”

Granted, it’s a career-oriented move, but couldn’t it have waited?

The team must’ve really enjoyed the announcement Sunday that they’d be playing Florida State University in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1.

People are throwing their hands up saying higher-ranked, better teams like Oklahoma were overlooked. But again, that’s thanks to the confusing ranking and seeding systems of the BCS.

But, what makes their selection justified?

Since last October, the Northern Illinois Huskies are 21–1, the best record in the country. They have better records than the two teams competing in the National Championship game. The Huskies have two more wins than Alabama and four more than Notre Dame.

Give them a shot.

That brings me to the fun part. Bowl game names. How do they come up with names for those things?

There’s the generic state named bowls: New Mexico and Hawaii just use their state name. But why not spice it up a bit? The Idaho Potato Bowl is an … attempt. New Mexico, you hold it in Albuquerque how about the ”Querky Bowl”? More ring to it. Hawaii, I’m disappointed you haven’t instituted the “Get Lei’d Bowl.”

Then you have some bizarre corporate sponsorship. The “Chick-Fil-A Bowl” will be interesting this year. There has to be a gay rights advocacy group protesting that already.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. If the atmosphere is anything like the restaurant, sign me up.

The “Little Caesar’s Bowl.” Pizza, pizza. Wow, it’s been a long time since I had that gross pizza. I’d suggest stepping up the affiliation to, say, Dominos? Papa John’s got the shaft this year.

The “Cotton Bowl.” Add, “Candy” and you’ve got a whole new, sugar-high crowd and a big seller in the stands.

And the fact that nobody has combo-ed a “Bud Light Bowl” on New Year’s Eve with a “Hangover Bowl” on New Year’s Day is a serious oversight in my opinion.

By far, the favorite renaming I’ve heard is the BCS Championship game to “Catholics vs. Cousins.”

Whatever bowl you pack … pick to watch this Bowl season, the cleverly named or the boring, may it be a good game, like the one Northern Illinois had Friday night.

Because good football is what bowl season is all about.

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