Gutter Balls

     As I write this Oregon and Oklahoma State are living up to the vaunted Holiday Bowl tradition: defensive clinics on how to not stop the opposing team, sandlot plays masquerading as intentional offensive movement, and fatigued scoreboards.
     As I write this, Navy, Memphis, Nevada, Troy State (sorry, I grew up a couple hours from this school in southern Alabama and cannot call it Troy), Northern Illinois, and Central Michigan have all lost bowl games. Vaunted Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Rutgers, and Colorado State have already won games.
     As I write this, Houston, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Ball State, Tulsa, Buffalo, and Connecticut have yet to play their bowl games.
     Since when did college football “bowl season” become the wasteland of mediocrity?
     It’s become a running joke, the number of college bowl games, a number that seems to expand by one or two each year. Pretty soon we’ll have to establish some more schools just to fill the quota of teams needed. This year was the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl, played in luscious, not-at-all-reviled-even-by-locals Tropicana Field in bustling downtown St. Petersburg, where the more adventurous businesses stay open past 9 P.M.
     This year was also the first year of the EagleBank Bowl. Two years ago was the inaugural Papajohns.com Bowl, originally called the Birmingham Bowl. Who doesn’t want to travel to central Alabama in late December? continued




     Since 2002 11 new bowl games have been introduced to college football. That’s an additional 22 teams “going bowling” each year. There are 34 bowls now, meaning 68 of the 119 teams in division 1A (that whole FBS moniker is lame and should be avoided by anyone with two or more IQ points) get a chance to play postseason ball.
     Playing in bowl games used to be a hard-earned reward for actual accomplishment on the gridiron. These days as long as a team wins just one more game than it loses it has a good shot of a road trip to exotic locales like Boise, Idaho, Ft. Worth, Texas and Mobile, Alabama.
     As I write this, highlights of the Humanitarian Bowl are playing on television. A classic battle between two of college football’s most hallowed programs, Maryland and Nevada. Played in front of about 23 people.
     As I write this, Western Michigan is getting killed by Rice in the Texas Bowl. Show me someone who cares about that game outside of those two alumni bases and I’ll show you a degenerate gambler.
     As I write this it’s halftime of the Holiday Bowl. Fifteen bowls down, two in progress, and 17 more to go.
     Who says college football isn’t all about the money?

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