Columnists, Sports

The Empty Net: Bowl cut

An old friend of mine contacted me recently to see if I wanted to compete with him and a few other comrades in ESPN’s “College Bowl Mania”.

Admittedly, “Bowl Season” does not excite me at all — it’s a watered-down mess of teams I could care less about — but I accepted the offer, as I thought it’d be a fun way to keep in touch with those guys.

But good lord … when I scrolled through that list of matchups I could not believe what I was looking at.

It was like when my girlfriend made me watch “Twilight” with her in high school. I mean I expected it to be awful, but it was so much worse than I could’ve ever imagined.

6–6 Rice vs. 6–6 Air Force. That’s a postseason game?

East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette is a postseason game?

Ohio vs. Louisiana Monroe?

6–6 Pitt vs. 6–6 Ole Miss?

Duke vs. Cincinnati?

Does being in a “bowl game” mean anything at all at this point?

Georgia Tech is in the Sun Bowl. It has a losing record!

Why should anyone care about “bowl season?” It’s an absolute and utter sham.

In fact, the entire bowl selection system has become that bad joke you wish your dad would stop telling every Christmas Eve.

Northern Illinois is playing in BCS bowl — a “bowl championship” game.

Northern Illinois. The team that lost to the 4-8, powerhouse, Iowa. The team that beat juggernaut, 2–10, Army by one point.

Here are some other elite squads that NIU beat this year: 1–11 Kansas — barely, 1–11 UMass, 4–8 Buffalo, 1–11 Akron, 2–10 Eastern Michigan, 4–8 Western Michigan …

NIU’s “signature win”? They beat Kent State in double OT.

Kent State got routed by Kentucky. Kentucky went 2–10 this year.

NIU beating Kent St. is one con-man out-frauding another.

Now they’re part of the “bowl championship.”

What a mess.

In society, we hold in regard those who go don’t actively seek the easy way out, who accept and meet challenges.

Taking the easy road doesn’t get you anywhere.

In college football?

Just schedule the saddest, most pathetic array of 12 teams you can find and be awarded with a BCS bowl berth.

The biggest head-scratcher of all is why the FBS insists on watering-down its own product.

Everyone wants to see top teams clash. Duh.

So what does the FBS do?

It employs a system where we get a matchup between Northern Illinois and Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Next. That’s a blowout. That’s awful television.

I went to the Orange Bowl official website.

It’s too embarrassed to even mention the matchup on their own homepage. Seriously.

Ok, what about Florida? It narrowly missed a spot in the title game. You could make a case that it’s the best team in the country. Who’s Florida playing in the Sugar Bowl?

Louisville? Really?

Another blowout. Another joke matchup. Another potential great game lost in the muck of college football mediocrity.

I think it’s time to nuke this pathetic excuse for a postseason.

The biggest problem is how archaic, and quite frankly stupid, the “automatic bid” system is.

Why does the Big East even get an automatic BCS spot?

The Big East stinks. None of those teams should be in a BCS game this year.

Look at Louisville’s schedule.

It beat 3–8 Missouri State. It beat 3–9 Florida International. It beat 0–12 Southern Miss — barely. It beat 3–9 South Florida by two points.

It lost to Syracuse and UConn.

Does that sound like a BCS team?

8–5 Wisconsin is in the Rose Bowl because they won the Big Ten.

Sure, the Big Ten is a historically relevant conference, but who cares about 1953 when you’re slotting teams in 2012 postseason matchups?

The Big Ten stunk this year. Sorry, Big Ten fans, it stunk. That doesn’t mean it always will, or even that it will next season, but this year it was lousy.

Your champion is 8–5. There doesn’t need to be a Big Ten team in the Rose Bowl this season.

We abandoned dial-up Internet. We abandoned 8-track players and rotary phones. Why do we still cling to these “traditional” conference matchups?

Don’t we want really good teams playing other really good teams?

Georgia, LSU, South Carolina — all left out of the BCS picture.

To make room for Louisville, Northern Illinois and Wisconsin?

Would you rather see Stanford play Wisconsin or Stanford play LSU? Or Georgia?

Would you rather see FSU play Northern Illinois or play South Carolina?

Why do 6–7 teams need to play in bowl games, and why do BCS games need to include every conference?

It’s like we’re in kindergarten. Every kid has to get a ribbon.

Duke, Rice, Air Force — these teams are mediocre (at best).

They don’t merit postseason games.

And crappy conferences don’t deserve automatic passes to clog up spots in BCS games.

A bowl game is no longer something that carries any relevance. We’re just told it is by ESPN.

A meaningless game between two marginal teams doesn’t become something relevant just because we call it the “Little Caesar Bowl.”

Some hokey trophy for the winning team doesn’t make the “Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl” any less pathetic.

Just because your girlfriend likes “Twilight” doesn’t mean it’s good.

“Bowl season” is a joke.


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