Bowl Mania (of the college football variety) – Part 5

There is a spectacular Ohio State vent coming. I will save it until time to pick the Sugar Bowl. I want to say it in measured tones, given the mixed company that reads these musings.

There’s plenty of other things to rant about, worry not.

 

ARMED FORCES BOWL
ARMY (6-6) v SMU (7-6)

I think the idea behind this matchup is, I am supposed to be excited over two of the great old college programs meeting up behind two unique offensive systems. All I can think of is the raging inconsistency and mediocrity. This is a tossup and a guess, nothing more. SMU 25, ARMY 19.

 

PINSTRIPE BOWL
KANSAS STATE (7-5) v SYRACUSE (7-5)

Homer pick! I support Hilliard, Florida’s own Daniel Thomas, the hometown’s best NFL prospect since that guy who played line for the Denver Broncos when I was extremely young. (This article probably represents the most positive coverage Hilliard, Florida has ever recieved in the Los Angeles Times.)

And yet, the closer that I get to game time, the more I start to feel like the homer pick is foolhardy. This is a New York City bowl game, the first since 1962, and Syracuse (who spent the entire Greg Robinson Era in the bowl-wilderness) will be extremely well-supported. I stand behind the picks as I originally selected them two weeks ago…at least, I do until I’m eliminated from this pick-’em game. (Soon. Very soon.) KANSAS STATE 28, SYRACUSE 27.

 

MUSIC CITY BOWL
NORTH CAROLINA (7-5) v TENNESSEE (6-6)

Boy, those Vols have had a whale of a year, thanks Lane Kiffin. (Your GIF of the day, courtesy of SixMeatBuffet.com – for the nostalgic among us, UT versions still available.) But Vince Dooley’s boy has stabilized the ship, if not entirely righted it yet; Tennessee is at least somewhat steady and reliable right now.

In contrast, in this Butch-Davis-AgentGate-complete-NCAA-compliance-failure era, I have zero trust in the North Carolina Tar Heels. I’m confident in what Tennessee team that will show up; I have no clue which North Carolina team will show up (or even literally which players will show up). In times of trouble, go with what you know. TENNESSEE 20, NORTH CAROLINA 14.

 

HOLIDAY BOWL
NEBRASKA (10-3) v WASHINGTON (6-6)

It occurs to me that I have resisted a standard trope of bowl pick-’em columns for a couple of years now, despite the fact that firms like Advocare, uDrove, and Little Caesar’s have been tempting me, and now a company that is far enough beyond the pale AND just in my realm of expertise has presented itself for appropriate comment.

Ladies and gentlemen, I must rant about the stupidity of a bowl sponsor.

For the past eight years, the Holiday Bowl has been selling you life insurance through Pacific Life – solid and reputable. Previously, the Holiday Bowl has sold you water purification (Culligan), car rental (Thrifty), cars (Plymouth – !) and, of course, holidays (SeaWorld). Now, the Holiday Bowl’s title sponsor is…um…a for-profit higher education company?

Bridgepoint Education (and it is Bridgepoint, not Bridgeport as I keep hearing ESPN insisting) owns two institutions – Ashford University and the University of the Rockies. Both were formerly privately-held, nonprofit schools – U of the Rockies was a previously the Colorado School of Professional Psychology, and Ashford was previously The Franciscan University of the Prairies. Bridgepoint has bought both institutions out over the past decade.

It’s notable that the parent firm is doing the sponsoring. Pointedly, the Holiday Bowl is not selling to you or me, because none of us will ever do business with Bridgepoint Education. And even more notably, Bridgepoint is advertising its for-profit education services, in support of institutions that will pursue generally less-privileged prospective students, to business leaders who will be watching…a football game between two large publicly-funded state universities.

Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’ve been in this business too long, but it occurs to me that this system is extremely messed up.

Oh, the football game? Should I even watch it?  It’s not like we haven’t seen this story before. NEBRASKA 56, WASHINGTON 21.

 

As far as the Pearson family game is concerned, there may be a contender arising from the pack as we head into the genuine Moving Days of the bowl season, but for the moment there is (with eyes cast to the great state of Texas) my cousin Matt on 10-4, there is my Uncle Dave on 9-5, and then there is everyone else, who despite our best efforts have proved collectively clueless. I don’t see that changing today, and it’s going to take some results falling exactly right for that to change tomorrow either. (Personally, the best I hope for is honors among the Florida Pearsons, and yet with all this research I’m still a game behind executive-secretary father and brother, and level with defending-champion and CEO mother.)

It would be one thing if you were getting these musings from somebody who had demonstrated his picking worth, but in this economy, what you get, what you pay for, you can do the math from there.

Cheers, and until tomorrow….

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