Bowl Mania (of the college football variety) – Part 4
An addendum to my musings for Dan Jr.’s benefit on Monday:
The sbnation.com project I referenced was a popular-vote sort of deal; all the SBNation bloggers made their picks, and the site’s picks were the majority in each case. Well, if you look at how we’re doing as a family for the 11 games so far, we’re 3-7 (with a split vote on Iowa-Missouri). We’ve had overwhelming 9-1 opinion on Southern Miss beating Louisville, Boise State beating Utah, and Hawaii beating Tulsa; we’re 1-2 on that front.
Fam, we don’t know what we’re talking about; none of us do.
Am I using this take to mask my own 3-8 ineptitude? You bet I am.
Three games today; four games tomorrow; four games on New Year’s Eve; six games on New Year’s Day. There is one set of standings right now; after January 1, they will be completely different, and the endgame will be firmly in place. But bully to Matt and Uncle Dave for owing the game thus far. My own chances at catching up are close to nil.
This won’t stop me spouting like a know-it-all, though.
MARYLAND v EAST CAROLINA
Yes, I made this pick after Maryland forced out Ralph Friedgen. Before that dubious move, I was leaning Maryland anyway; inconsistent-but-occasionally-spectacular ACC team over inconsistent-but-occasionally-acceptable Conference USA team. Then this became “win one for the Fridge.”
Spare a thought for Ruffin McNeill, though. Last season he was the guy responsible for rallying the troops after Mike Leach’s ouster at Texas Tech, which he did to great effect by beating Michigan State in last year’s Alamo Bowl. He got the East Carolina job out of that, and his first bowl game might be in the face of the buzzsaw of a motivated Maryland side, supporting their coach, who’s just been sacked in favor of…Mike Leach, if the rumors are to be believed? It’s funny how this game turns. MARYLAND 28, EAST CAROLINA 3.
ILLINOIS v BAYLOR
Um…home field advantage, maybe? This bowl season has already been impossible to figure out, and these teams are even harder. Congrats to Baylor, though; this bowl berth has been a long time coming, and maybe this is best described as a motivation pick (first bowl in forever vs. hoping that Fresno State loss wasn’t as bad as Fresno State’s bowl game made it look). BAYLOR 30, ILLINOIS 27.
OKLAHOMA STATE v ARIZONA
Has it become clear enough that I’m running out of words? This is at least an easier game to pick, for me; Oklahoma State beat every team they were supposed to beat, couldn’t find a way past Nebraska or Oklahoma (the class of the Big XII this year), and were unfortunate not to get the Cotton Bowl nod over TAMU. Oklahoma is better than this bowl game. Arizona is coming in on a four-game losing streak (yeah, losses to Stanford and Oregon away are forgiveable; losing to Arizona State at home isn’t so much) and does have the quality win over Iowa (more quality after last night, but at season’s end it was looking like flattery-to-deceive) but has folded every time they’ve played a team of real quality. The Cowboys have sufficient quality. OKLAHOMA STATE 45, ARIZONA 24.
As I was finishing this, I came across the news that the Sugar Bowl lobbied to keep Ohio State’s Tattoo Five eligible for the bowl game and to delay their five-game suspension until next season, and the Sugar Bowl CEO is willing to go on the record saying so and get quoted saying something like “[my] appeal did not fall on deaf ears, and I’m extremely excited about it, that the Buckeyes are coming in at full strength and with no dilution.” The NCAA is denying that such lobbying played any role in the timing of the suspensions, which only means that the NCAA is getting less and less credible by the day.
To be blunt, I’m ashamed of my alma mater and that I’m feeling uneasy now about even watching the Sugar Bowl or supporting any of the bowl sponsors (not that I’d ever have a thing to do with Allstate anyway). I’ve been known to overreact to stuff, but I’m sick about this.
Never mind the string of invectives I can clearly envision my grandfather spouting about anyone, no matter how talented, having the unmitigated gall to SELL their Gold Pants. The phrase “Woody rolling over in his grave” comes to mind.
I may have more coherent to say tomorrow.