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.
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
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