A lot of things have been learned during this final season (thankfully) of the BCS. We have relearned that a decent FCS team can indeed take down a major program (ND State over KSU and GSU over Florida), we also must note that a very good FCS squad (again ND State), would be at least a top 15 team if in the ranks of D1. Last but not least we have most assuredly learned that Auburn gets into the big game on the heels of a unbelievably lucky play and that FSU arrives after trouncing (mostly) very inferior competition. Oh and we learned that Big Twelve expats can certainly compete in the SEC.
All that being said let's take a look at this years plethora of bowl games.
New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State and Washington State are on tap here in this "who cares" game between two (let us be honest) who cares programs. I like the Pirate and he should come back south where he belongs. He will probably not find the success he is capable of in the Pacific NW. That being said I would go with his Cougars here. Go with WSU.
Towson vs EWU: This FCS match up will decide who gets to be trounced by ND State in the FCS Championship. Quality FCS programs both (remember the Towson Tigers gave Les Miles and Co a scare last season) and I will go with Towson. Probably a toss up....
Las Vegas Bowl: It seems that USC can play a little ball after all soon as Kiffin was out of the picture. Fresno State still just does not convince me they are a top 25 program. I will go with the Trojans here.
Idaho Potato Bowl: Another bowl game on the blue field with this year's rendition being the Bulls of Buffalo and SDSU. The Aztecs started off slow but may, in reality, be a pretty decent team. Buffalo had a good season as far as such things go and surprised a few folks in the MAC. I would go with SDSU here though. I think they are hands down the better team
New Orleans Bowl: Getting the party started this year for NOLA is a very good match up between Tulane and Louisiana. The Cajuns have fallen off the last couple weeks but managed to put together pretty good season. Tulane has far over reached any expectation that anyone would have had for their program but a good team they really are not. I would go with the Cajuns here.
Beef O'Brady Bowl: The what? The Bobcats of Ohio U had a rather successful (albeit disappointing) season and ECU may well be under rated. Both squads are well coached and Ohio may have one of the best QBs in the nation that you have never heard of (along with Browning at ULM). I will go with ECU in this toss up match.
Hawaii Bowl: Peterson is out at BSU and that, in my opinion, is a mistake on his part. Boise State is just a flat out better program than his new home but he may have "needed" to jump for more money while the iron was still hot. Another just above average season in Boise and his stock would not be so high likely. That being said, both Boise and Oregon State have been a bit off track this year but still pretty decent (and dangerous to anyone) squads non the less. This is a toss up and I will go with OSU here.
Little Caesar Bowl: Pitt vs Bowling Green may get ugly. BGSU is the better team and should win. Never count out the MAC to surprise....
Poinsettia Bowl: NIU must guard against the let down of not making it to the BCS this year. They were trounced and totally embarrassed by BGSU in the MAC Championship. A top 10 team they are not. Still they are probably better than the Aggies of Utah State. Those guys can be dangerous but just did not seem to play to their potential. This may be closer than expected but I will go with NIU.
Military Bowl: Marshall vs Maryland may or may not be a good game. Depends really on which Maryland team shows up. I will go with the Turtles here in a close one.
Texas Bowl: It would be nice if this game held in Houston matched up some teams of local interest. Still, the game will draw some folks trying to escape the cold and money will be spent (some at gentleman's establishments likely) and that is what it is all about. Oh - the game? Yes, well Syracuse will lose to Minnesota.
Fight Hunger Bowl: The what? There are just a few too many bowls although BYU will trounce Washington in this contest.
Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame, again, did not make it into the big time. The program is now relegated to not much above a top MAC or CUSA squad. Rutgers had a decent year as far as such things go but do not have the talent to beat the Irish. ND should be a contender every year for top spot but no coach in recent memory can take them there. Something is wrong up that way but they will win this one.
Belk Bowl: The what? Good Lord. Cincinnati vs North Carolina has the potential to get ugly. Tuberville may have actually found his sweet spot in southern Ohio and his team is far better than any middle of the road ACC squad. Go with Cincinnati here.
Russell Athletic Bowl: A disappointing year for both Miami and Louisville in that Miami did not compete for the ACC Championship and Louisville did not run the table and make it into a BCS game. Louisville is the better team but have shown a tendency to play down to their competition all season. Miami, a decent team, has the potential to win here but likely will not. Go with the Cardinals.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: KSU and Michigan could be a very good match up. KSU started off in a dismal fashion but finished pretty well. Michigan has some potential and Hoke may have saved his job by taking Ohio State down to the wire. Michigan has more talent likely but KSU has faced marginally better competition and that experience will show. Go with the Wildcats.
Armed Forces Bowl: Someone has to go and this year it is MTSU. This actually could be a good match up. Navy has had a lot of exposure due to the nature of the institution but not many folk know so much about the Blue Raiders. I will go with the team from Tennessee here.
Music City Bowl: The Houston Bowl folks should take a look at how it is done up Nashville way. Two teams of local interest squaring off.....This year the Rebs will be taking the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech to the woodshed. Maybe. I will go with the team from Mississippi.
Alamo Bowl: This is a home game for the Horns in Mack Brown's last game. I wonder who they will find that will be better than old Mack? Probably no one. At any rate the Longhorns may have some problems with the speed that the Ducks bring to the table. It really depends on which Longhorn team shows up. I will go with Texas to play hard for Mack and pull it out of the hat.
Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs Texas Tech could be good. Tech is coached by a young gun who will find success although his squad certainly fell off the pace the second half of the season. ASU is coached by an utter ass although the man does know how to win. ASU is probably the better team and will find some way to pull this one out of the hat in what promises to be an ASU home game of sorts.
Advocare V100 Bowl: This utterly forgettable bowl game pits Arizona and Boston College. Take your pick. I will go with BC here for no particular reason.
Sun Bowl: I have always liked this one. Don't know why. UCLA is up and coming and may be a force nationally in the not too distant future. Virginia Tech is Virginia Tech. Usually a good team that is just not quite ready for prime time. I will go with UCLA here. This could be a good game.
Liberty Bowl: Memphis - my old stomping ground. Great town although, much like NOLA, you gotta always be aware of who is behind you. Always. This will be a home game for the Bulldogs of Mississippi State sure. Rice, a very small school, does not travel real well and has a limited fan base to boot. That being said, I think the Owls will win here. They are perhaps an under rated football team and coached by, in my opinion, one of the best coaches in the game you may have never heard of. Go with Rice.
Chick fil A Bowl: TAMU is a better team than Duke. More speed, power, depth, etc. The Blue Devils have had a wonderful season and the coaching staff should probably receive some sort of "best of the year" award. It would be fun to see Duke take that silly "Johnny Football" to the woodshed but I don't think it will happen. Go with the Aggies.
Gator Bowl: This could be a good game between two teams that desperately want to show that they matter (the don't). Both coaches are on the hot seat and I would not be surprised if the losing coach finds himself pounding the pavement. They just don't take mediocrity well in Athens or Lincoln. This will be a toss up and we should see some outstanding QB play......I will go with the team from Georgia.
Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV vs North Texas? Can't get any more ho hum that this. I will go with the Mean Green here. It will be a home game for them. Denton is just up the road......
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin and South Carolina may be a good one. I will go with the "SEC is better than the Big Ten" scenario here and pick the team from the Southeast.
Outback Bowl: Iowa will not beat LSU unless Miles has anything to do with it. I would go with the Tigers here but if Miles gets a bit too "proactive" in coaching......? Anything could happen. Put your money on the Tigers none the less.
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs MSU will be good. The only fly in the MSU ointment is that one inexplicable loss. Both teams are quite good and I will go with MSU to power over the Cardinal here. It is possible that the Spartans are the second best squad in the country this season.
Fiesta Bowl: UCF made it in to the BCS. They are a rather big, powerful team but will not be able to match up well with the speed of the Bears. Go with Baylor. This is perhaps not the high profile match up that the folks in AZ are accustomed to but Baylor is better than many teams they have seen recently.
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma will not beat Bama. Both schools may well be rather even on talent but Bob is not half the coach that the Evil One is. Not even close. It is pretty likely that Bama is still the best team in the land despite the fluke loss to War Eagle.
Cotton Bowl: This game between OSU and Mizzou may well be the most fun match up of the bowl season. OSU has shown they can play "national championship" type football and shown also that they can be rather mediocre. Mizzou has proven that they can well compete in the SEC. This one will be a toss up but I think the team from Missouri is marginally better and will go with them for the win.
Orange Bowl: Both Clemson and Ohio State had some delusions of grandeur this season. Still both are very good (although OSU may be a bit over rated) teams. This will be a match up between two possible NFL caliber QBs and it will be fun to see who comes out on top. It is a Even Steven type match and I will toss a coin and go with the team from Ohio.
BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt had a good season as such things go. Well coached squad to be certain. U of H surprised some folk and their young QB is going to be another outstanding addition to the list of stellar Cougar QBs. This could be good but Vandy has faced much tougher competition and that experience will show.
FCS Championship Game: Whether Towson or Eastern Washington reach the big game is likely a moot point. ND State will be your champion of the FCS ranks.
GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State is a good Sun Belt team but probably not as good as they have been in recent past. Their last two coaches have had success in the SEC (one wild success) and the jury is still out on the Red Wolves staff at this point. Still they have reached a bowl game (of sorts) and that does say something. Ball State is a pretty good MAC squad and can be dangerous to a lot of teams including, I suspect, this year's rendition of Arkansas State. I am going out on a limb and predicting a victory for the Cardinals. Win or lose the Red Wolves can say they are the best team in the state of Arkansas...for many years in a row now.
BCS "National Championship" Game: Auburn may or may not belong. They had an unbelievable turn around from bottom to top in the SEC after just one season and that says a lot. A hell of a lot. Still, most of us think that Alabama is still the better club. FSU? Undefeated sure says something but one does have to take a look at the level of competition. Doesn't one? Guess not. What we have here is what we have here.
Many folks think that a rematch of the Bama/Auburn game would be the true "national championship" game and I have heard some bleat (with a bit of merit) that Michigan State is a better team than FSU. Doesn't matter. This is the match up we have.
The game? FSU is quick and Winston is a good young QB but Auburn will likely prove to be the better team and we again, will have an SEC Champion.
Just the way it is.
I don't think I missed any. There are entirely too many bowl games. A 6-6 (or even 7-5) team should not go "bowling" in my mind. Still the bowl games are entirely about getting money into the community and that friends is, in reality, what it is all about. Sad but true.....
This was one of the better seasons I can remember in quite some time and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Won't be long before this humble blogger will be going about regularly scheduled business of calling bullshit on various politicians and other assorted dickweeds, and this year, being committed to bringing you some stellar Rule 5.
What else is blogging for?