Bowl rumblings

Dec 012003
Authors: Joshua Pilkington

When looking at the bowl picture, any avid college football fan

may wonder: “What’s the point?”

A wise question indeed, considering that nothing makes sense in

the topsy-turvy world that is the money-driven NCAA Division-I bowl

system. Take, for example, the typical home of CSU during the

postseason, the AXA Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn.

Receiving a $750,000-$900,000 payout, two universities from

non-Bowl Championship Series affiliated conferences – in this case

the Mountain West and Conference-USA conferences – will battle it

out in the less-than-ideal conditions that the city’s cold, humid

winter climate brings. Not exactly a place or a bowl worthy of a

pair of champions.

And with Colorado State and Texas Christian drawing an estimated

55,600 fans last season in what resulted as one of the worst bowls

on last season’s menu, just how many fans do the organizers of the

Liberty Bowl expect to generate with Utah taking on Southern

Mississippi? The two, though champions, are not exactly big-name

schools that warrant much interest outside of their respective


Meanwhile the runner-up in the MWC, New Mexico, takes a short

trip to Las Vegas to battle a Pac-10 conference foe, most likely

Oregon State, which was ranked in the top 20 this season. The Las

Vegas Bowl also provides its members a $750,000-$900,000


But the fun doesn’t stop there. As we continue our stroll DOWN

the list of MWC finishers we come to CSU, whose 7-5 overall record

and 4-3 conference record is good enough to punch the Rams’ ticket

to San Francisco, arguably the most beautiful city in the nation.

While enjoying the sites and sounds of the “City by the Bay” and

earning a $750,000 payout, the Rams will face Boston College, a 7-5

team from the BCS-affiliated Big East Conference that features one

of the best running backs in the nation in Derrick Knight.

“Derrick Knight and Bradlee Van Pelt are two of the best

offensive players in college football,” said San Francisco Bowl

Executive Director Gary Cavalli at a press conference.

We haven’t heard such praise coming from Memphis just yet, but

rumor is the Alex Smith bandwagon (he’s the quarterback for Utah)

has doubled in size (from four to a whopping eight members).

So again the question: “What’s the point?” Win the conference

and a trip Memphis awaits you. Finish third and you’re on your way

to San Francisco to face a better opponent. Something doesn’t add

up. Not that I’m complaining, I love sourdough bread and fresh fish

from the Bay.

BCS confusion

While on the subject of the absurdity that comprises the NCAA

D-I football postseason, we turn our focus southeast and west to

the respective homes of the Louisiana State Tigers and the Southern

California Trojans. Or better yet, maybe we should turn that focus

eastward to New York, where the 5-6 Orangemen of Syracuse battle

the 5-6 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. That’s right. The outcome of

a game involving two sub-.500 teams could determine whether 10-1

USC or 11-1 LSU, ranked second and third respectively, goes to the

Sugar Bowl to face No. 1 Oklahoma for the National Championship.

How is that possible? Let’s just say the powers that be devised a

system that not only fails to work, but fails to even allow those

teams involved in the race for the National Championship the chance

to decide it on the field.

True, USC could have avoided losing to Cal-Berkeley, just as LSU

could have avoided losing to Florida, but neither did. Now, with

LSU carrying the stronger strength of schedule component and

Saturday game against No. 5 Georgia, even if USC manhandles its

Saturday opponent (Oregon State), the Trojans may be on the outside

looking in.

So how do Notre Dame and Syracuse figure into the puzzle?

USC demolished the Irish earlier this season, while LSU beat

Syracuse. So if Syracuse wins, LSU’s strength of schedule

increases. If Notre Dame wins, USC’s will increase, making it

difficult for LSU to make up the approximate 1.5 margin between the

Tigers and the Trojans in the BCS standings. Talk about Southern

Californian’s worst nightmare. Cheering for the Irish to help USC!?

Yeah, the BCS has really turned the college football world upside


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