Bowl Mania (of the OMG WHEN DOES THIS SEASON END variety)
The complaint that the bowl season is too long is well-established.
And, to be perfectly honest, when I decided that I was going to blog my bowl pick-’em this season, this is the one element of the system that I didn’t think to take into account.
Why didn’t I have a post in time for the GoDaddy.com Bowl? I could crack the funny that it was because there was a Sun Belt team playing, and to draw any attention to that game would be to draw attention to the fact that I made a big deal about the Sun Belt Conference being the worst Football Bowl Subdivision conference in the history of the Football Bowl Subdivision, and here they’ve gone 2-0 thus far. (And yet MTSU still lost last night – once again demonstrating that downplaying my picks is contributing to my stellar pick-’em record in the closedown.)
Why didn’t I have a post in time for the GoDaddy.com Bowl? Because I’m at work, and when I’m done with work, I’m tired. (And, last night, literally, I watched the GoDaddy.com Bowl from work.)
This is not what I signed on for in bowl season. It’s a holiday diversion, not a diversion that carries past when I’m back doing school work.
As if I need to complain about one more thing that’s totally broken about college football in the new decade, your must-read for the day is Stewart Mandel’s SI.com article about Oregon’s mandatory study halls in the midst of practice for the BCS Championship Game. This is necessary because Oregon has been in school for most of this work. Oregon got their full Christmas break, and then they’re in Glendale practicing while the rest of their mates are in class.
I don’t think this is how the system is supposed to work. Corresponding politicizing will not be done this post, but it is absolutely implied.
But since burying the lede on my picks has worked so well this week, I’m going to continue to practice doing so and see if I can continue to finish strong.
NCAA DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIP
DELAWARE (12-2) v EASTERN WASHINGTON (12-2)
Yeah, those words are a little unsettling, aren’t they? Get your TV on ESPN2 now if you forgot they were playing this thing; the I-AA title games are always good, clean fun. Eastern Washington had more than a little bit of home-field advantage in their bracket and dealt with more than their share of snow; Delaware had a slightly softer half of the bracket. This game is being played in Frisco, Texas (at FC Dallas’ Pizza Hut Park, may God bless corporate sponsorship), so weather shouldn’t be much of an issue here. Both teams are quality but I’m thinking Eastern Washington is a little more battle-tested.
(That’s as definitive a pick as I get.)
Bowl advocates who moan about the extra games in a playoff system, please note: Both these teams to date have only played 14 games. Make it work, dang it.
COTTON BOWL CLASSIC
LSU (10-2) v TEXAS A&M (9-3)
Yeah, yeah, it’s the Cotton Bowl but it’s not being played in the Cotton Bowl, yadda yadda. We’ve already dealt with this. What I want to know is: who ordered the I-AA title game to be competing with the bowl game at JerryWorld at the same time IN THE SAME DANG TV MARKET? The casual fan of course will be watching LSU run riot over an improved but still inferior Texas A&M, but us geeks are not going to be paying a LICK of attention to this game.
BBVA COMPASS BOWL
PITTSBURGH (7-5) v KENTUCKY (6-6)
I had a thought of trying to get a ticket to this game, honestly. I don’t care if it’s falling down, I love Legion Field; some of my favorite experiences watching soccer have come there. It would be neat to watch a football game there. (Think about that statement for a moment. I’m not kidding, either. I drove to Birmingham to watch the United States punk Guatemala 2-0 in their hardest home match in second-round qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. It was a blast.)
And it wouldn’t be watching Alabama, but watching an ascendant Kentucky team with far and away the best player on the field in Randall Cobb against a reeling and demoralized Pitt program would be classic SEC-denfreude.
KRAFT FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
NEVADA (12-1) v BOSTON COLLEGE (7-5)
I really, REALLY want to know what marketing genius came up with this name. Or this matchup. You know what? I don’t think even I can mess up this pick; Nevada’s comeback against Boise State demonstrated they are legitimate Top-10 fodder, and I honestly don’t know what Boston College has been doing since Matt Ryan went to the National Football League. NEVADA 45, BOSTON COLLEGE 6.
…will wait for the weekend.
Even if the season has gone on too long, it’s the last weekend of college football. We’ve got to enjoy it.