Since I don’t work in professional sports anymore, I find it harder to keep espn.com open on my browser at work. Therefore, I’ve had to find alternate means of keeping up with my sports news. Recently, I’ve channeled my inner-old guy and have started tuning into sports talk radio on my way to and from work. This morning it was Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio griping about the bowl schedule. In the afternoon it was local sports clown Grant Napear ranting (what else is new?) about the horrible matchups. Now I’m not usually a glass-half-full guy, but I don’t see what the problem is. Yes, there are plenty of boring games and terrible matchups, but I wouldn’t call this one of the worst lineups in recent memory. Nevermind that none of my BCS predictions panned out, there’s still plenty of intrigue as far as I’m concerned. Here’s my Top Three and my Bottom Three for the upcoming bowl season….
#1 – BCS National Championship – Oregon vs. Auburn: It’s the national championship game, what else needs to be said? It’s tough to argue the only two major unbeaten teams – with apologies to TCU – being in the big game. It features two of the four Heisman finalists in Cam Newton and LaMichael James and two historically great programs. The only downside is we have to wait until January 10 to see it.
#2 – Rose Bowl – Wisconsin vs. TCU: Sure, a Pac-10-Big Ten matchup of Stanford-Wisconsin would have been the logical choice here, but Wisconsin is widely considered to be the next best team outside of the two unbeatens. Either they’ll solidify that spot, or TCU will make a good case for a share of the national championship – though they won’t get it.
#3 – Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Boise State: I know, the Las Vegas Bowl isn’t exactly the pinnacle of postseason college football, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this will be a great game. I picked both of these teams to earn BCS berths, but a couple of late season losses killed those hopes. Nonetheless, it will feature two teams that have both put together undefeated seasons recently.
#33 – Humanitarian Bowl – Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State – I’m a closet Fresno State fan for some reason, and I love the “we’ll play whomever, wherever” mantra. Problem is, I don’t consider Northern Illinois to be a national force to be reckon with. NIU seemed poise to win the MAC after running the table in conference play, but a championship game loss to Miami (Ohio) pushed the Huskies into the Blue Field Bowl against the Bulldogs. Not the most enticing matchup.
#34 – Holiday Bowl – Nebraska vs. Washington – The Huskers spent most of the season in the Top Ten, but a Big-12 Championship loss to Oklahoma relegated them to a Holiday Bowl berth to take on a 6-6 Washington squad that lost their final three games against UCLA, California, and Washington State. What’s worse is these two teams already played this season, with Nebraska winning by 45 points. Even if Washington were to score an upset here, it’s still the Holiday Bowl.
#35 – Fiesta Bowl – Connecticut vs. Oklahoma – Another casualty of the automatic berth policy. UCONN is making its first ever BCS Bowl appearance despite an 8-4 record. Their four losses came against Michigan, Temple, Louisville, and Rutgers. Now they’re supposed to hang with #7 Oklahoma? This one could be over before it’s done. If the Huskies were to pull off a miracle, it could be a classic upset a la Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma a few years back. That’s a long shot though. I would have rather seen LSU or Michigan State, or even Boise State, in this game.