So many bowls, so little time

December 31, 2012

Just a few thoughts while we all wait anxiously for the start of the Music City Bowl, which will feature North Carolina State and Vanderbilt in the first game of today’s so-so New Year’s Eve bowl lineup.

OK, tonight’s Clemson/LSU game is a pretty good matchup, but the other three games aren’t exactly what the founding fathers had in mind when they laid out the original bowl system during breaks at the Constitutional Convention.

Hmmm. The most disappointing preseason BCS favorite in years – USC – will take on Georgia Tech, which will enter the Sun Bowl with an impressive 6-7 record. And you thought losing teams weren’t eligible for bowl games. The other late-afternoon game features Tulsa against a .500 Iowa State team in a matchup that almost certainly will not get you out of a trip to the mall.

The Music City Bowl is the most exciting thing to happen in Nashville since baseball’s Winter Meetings, which is not saying a whole lot. USC will unveil its next great quarterback (redshirt freshman Max Wittek) in place of injured Matt Barkley, who has a shoulder injury and will not be seen again until he’s tumbling down the board at the next NFL draft. Tulsa and Iowa State is basically a “pick-em” game, which means that the two teams are either perfectly matched or no one placed a bet on either one.

In other words, it’s not a bad driving range day, if you’ve got winter gloves or your local range has heaters.

Funny, but I can remember complaining about the pathetic proliferation of bowl games back when there were only 23 of them. This season, the NCAA has outdone itself, taking the bowl system to a new level – just not a higher one. There was only one real bowl team (Boise St.) in the first six games and only a couple of decent matchups since.

My theory: In anticipation of the switch to a playoff system in 2014 – which will be integrated into a rotating major bowl format -- the NCAA is trying to assure that nobody misses the old system. Seems like a pretty good plan.

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