Bowling Anyone?

With Hawaii’s victory over Washington the NCAA draws the curtain on its 2007 regular season and leaves us all in a state of suspense that may never truly reach resolution. Last week’s disorder pales in comparison to this week’s chaos that can be best summed up with the joke: How many #2s does it take to make it to the national title game? For those wishing to see an implosion of the Bowl Collusion Syndicate, we couldn’t have asked for anything better. I want to hear Myles Brand and his comrades explain how they will determine this year’s national champion.

Today heralds the announcement of the anointed two that will do battle in N’Awlins on January 7th. Let the debate begin as to who should play in that game. Aren’t you glad you have the Clipboard and other sites to voice your opinion? 
What’s crazy is the number of days between actual games for the two teams that will play for the national title; today until then numbers thirty-six.

The bowl season begins on December 20th with the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (man, they should add the reciting of that bowl to the list of DWI tests). Navy will play a representative from the Mountain West conference in that opening bowl. In all, thirty-two bowls will take place in nineteen days.

This dizzying number of ‘bowl’ games may seem crazy, but I enjoy the contests. Don’t know if this is rational thought or some holdover from the ‘70s when we had four television stations, and sports’ events occurred as frequently as a lunar eclipse (yeah, I know I’m exaggerating – it just seemed like it). I remember spending New Year’s Eve huddled in front of a little black and white (because my parents-crib for the hipsters- had Guy Lombardo on our only color set) watching two teams that I knew nothing about play in the Bluebonnet Bowl just because I loved the games. Now I enjoy an occasional December contest for the competition and a chance to learn about a team I might not know too much about. Also, I consider the fact that for many of these student-athletes they will play their last game in one of these bowls – an otherwise meaningless game on the national scene represents the culmination of a very long individual journey through inter-scholastic sports. A successful sports’ career is something to celebrate, and the bowls afford that opportunity.

It is with that spirit of celebration that bowl games originated. Bowl games started in 1902 when the Tournament of Roses decided to add a football game to its celebration of a new year. The University of Michigan hammered Stanford 49-0 in that inaugural bowl. The game was so lopsided that tournament organizers opted for chariot races the following year. College football returned to the Tournament of Roses in 1916, and in 1923 the Rose Bowl, on its current site, was opened to great fanfare. USC topped Penn St. 14-3. Only WWII could move ‘The Grand Daddy of Them All’. Oregon St. beat Duke 20-16 at Duke Stadium in Durham, North Carolina in the 1942 Rose Bowl.

Others followed: the Orange and Sugar Bowls in 1935, the Sun Bowl-which would take the name of John Hancock from 1986-96 before returning to its original name – began in 1936. 1937 saw Texas Christian top Marquette in the first ever Cotton Bowl. The following year the Blue-Gray Classic, pitting all-stars from the former Confederacy against those all-stars of the remaining states, took place for the first time. This Christmas day game continued until 2001 when a lack of funding signaled its demise.

In 1947 the Tangerine and Gator Bowls joined the fray. The Tangerine has become known as Capitol One. The Liberty Bowl followed in ’59, the Peach in ’68, and Fiesta in ’71.

Bowls have come and gone: the aforementioned Bluebonnet and Aloha to name a couple. From 1948-52 the Ice Bowl took place in Fairbanks, Alaska. Yes, they played those games on or around New Year’s Day – Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!! There was even a Gotham Bowl that took place in 1961 and ‘62. It took two years to figure out that not many denizens of NYC would care to attend a New-Year’s- Day-outdoor game in Yankee Stadium.

Since 1936 the Associated Press (AP) has awarded a national champion. This collection of writers, former players, and other members of the media has been acknowledged as one, if not the most, prominent poll. In 1950, United Press International (UPI) first assembled the coaches’ poll. UPI gave way to the USA Today/ CNN poll in 1991.

Until 1968 the NCAA crowned its champion prior to the bowl season. Then in response to controversy created during the bowls the AP first moved to a post-bowl season poll. The UPI followed suit six years later.

Eleven different years the AP & UPI have awarded different champions: 1954, 1957, 1965, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1991, 1997, and 2003.

Our present system was born in 1992 when The Bowl Coalition started. Interesting to note that collusion, conspiracy, and gang all qualify as synonyms for the word coalition. In 1995 the Bowl Alliance went into effect. The BCS first awarded a national title in 1998 when Tennessee defeated Florida St. 23-16.

So tonight as we cozy up to the set and watch the BCS selection show that is kinda like the March Madness selection show, we will wonder if this year’s scenario will engender change. I’m reminded of a local television show of my youth: ‘Bowling For Dollars.’ Contestants were brought into a television studio and given two rolls. If the bowler managed two strikes she/he won the cash. An abbreviated game elicited a financial reward. Funny…we sorta have the same thing in college pigskin – one game gets the trophy, and it’s all about the cash.

Rebounds & Put backs: sad to read of Evel Knievel’s death. I remember setting up ramps in the driveway and clearing empty milk gallons on my bike – still have a twinge in my elbow from one of those failed attempts.

Even hall-of-fame coaches make mistakes. Just ask Joe Gibbs who cost the ‘Skins 15 yds. as he called back-to-back timeouts to freeze Bills’ PK, Rian Lindell.

15 Responses to "Bowling Anyone?"

  1. Reynell   December 2, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    I know I am stating the obvious here. The joy of College Basketball is watching a team like Gonzaga or Creighton in years past: we always get to see if they can play with the big boys. Our questions and debates are always answered in March concerning these teams that play in inferior conferences or have a lackluster non-conference schedule.

    We will never know what Boise State last year or Hawaii this year could have done. So once again Ohio State avoids “elimination” so to speak by not playing a conference championship as Mizzou is forced to duke it out one last time with a national power in Oklahoma. Hawaii and Colt Brennan – thanks for a great season; enjoy the half life of being this year’s Boise State.

  2. Reynell   December 2, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    I have an idea for the clipboard’s rebellion against the BCS system: The 1st Annual Clipboard College Football Playoffs. Though it’s rough, here’s what I have in mind:

    We first have to seed the top 16 teams. Let’s say we each submit our seedings or final regular season rankings by this Saturday. From there, we (and by we, I mean Casey or Wally) 🙂 create the brackets on a simple point system (16 points for 1st, 15 for 2nd, 14 for 3rd) and so on. Once the brackets are created, we vote on the first round game winners on 12/15, the quarterfinals on 12/22, the semis on 12/29, and we vote on the championship game the same day of the OSU-LSU game. We could simply submit who wins the game, or we could even submit the score of the game. This would also allow us to explain our picks and what we forsee happening in a one-and-done game between say an Ohio State and a Hawaii.

    Interested? Though I bashed WV earlier, I believe in Hawaii, not only because of Colt Brennan, but also because of their pass rush. How far would clipboard members take the Warriors in a playoff? Let’s find out. . . .

  3. ccww   December 2, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Brother Reynell,

    It is a plan. Let’s hear from everyone else. Start giving me your rankings when you are ready.

    Casey

  4. Reynell   December 2, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    1. LSU 11-2
    2. Kansas 11-1
    3. Ohio State 11-1
    4. Oklahoma 11-2
    5. Missouri 11-2
    6. Georgia 10-2
    7. Hawaii 12-0
    8. Virgina Tech 11-2
    9. West Virginia 11-2
    10. USC 11-2
    11. Illinois 9-3
    12. Florida 9-3
    13. Arizona State 10-2
    14. Boston College 10-3
    15. Clemson 9-3
    16. Tennessee 9-4

  5. Reynell   December 2, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    1. LSU
    2. Kansas
    3. Ohio State
    4. Oklahoma
    5. Missouri
    6. Georgia
    7. Hawaii
    8. Virginia Tech
    9. West Virginia
    10. USC
    11. Arizona State
    12. Illinois
    13. Florida
    14. Boston College
    15. Clemson
    16. Tennessee

  6. Wally   December 3, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Now that we know the BCS results and match-ups … here are a few comments:

    1) There are no “great” teams this year, although I’m not sure how I feel about Ohio State. Just don’t know how good they really are, given the terrible non-conference schedule they played and the “weak” Big 10 this year. However, of all the teams in the hunt, they are probably most deserving of a title shot, although how they dropped the ball at home vs Illinois in late November is a mystery to me … and casts significant doubt.

    2) Georgia may have gotten jobbed. #4 in BCS going into the weekend and having won 6 in a row, folks were talking about them being the hottest team and feared. But, they have two losses and didn’t even play in the SEC chan’ship. Although it’s written nowhere that you must be a conference champ to play for the nat’l title, it seems the voters screwed them on this last vote. (although I think it would be a good rule that you must be a conference champ to play for the title).

    3) LSU just does not impress me as a “great” team. In addition to their 2 OT losses, they had several other close calls … and if Tennessee had a decent QB, they woulda had a 3rd loss Saturday.

    4) Why not give Hawaii a shot??? Of all the years, this is the one to give the “weak conference but only undefeated” team a chance at the title. You scoff, but I think they’d give Ohio State a better game than the “experts” think. I thought it was a travesty when BYU was awarded the title back in the 80’s after only having to play a 3 loss Michigan team on bowl day to win the title. Hasn’t Hawaii earned the chance as THE ONLY UNDEFEATED TEAM to play for all the marbles THIS YEAR???

    5) West Virginia’s chokefest vs Pitt was one of the worst gaggings we’ve seen in a very long time. Their first chance to play for the title since Jan 1, 1989 (vs … moment of silence … Notre Dame), they’re at HOME vs a VERY WEAK Pitt squad and they threw up all over themselves. This is why the Big Least gets very little respect in football.

    6) We badly need a playoff system. This season is now Exhibit A!!!

    Wally

    Wally

  7. ccww   December 3, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    No scoffing at all here. Hawaii deserves their shot – we learned that last year from the Broncos of Boise.

    Not sure I agree with the assessment of the Big East. WVU lost to another Big East team. Had they lost to an underling from say…the MAC then I would use that as evidence to criticize the conference. Instead, I’m looking at BC & Va. Tech and saying weren’t they just in the Big East?

    My rankings from 1-16 coming soon. Got some research to do.

    Casey

  8. Aaron Smith   December 4, 2007 at 9:49 am

    There is no doubt that the BCS is flawed. All season it has been about teams with the best record and not the best team being #1… Well Hawaii has the best record and they aren’t even within sniffing range of the #1 spot.

    I know their schedule wasn’t the hardest, but neither was Ohio State’s and they have been playing some of the most exciting football in the country..

    And LSU playing for the National Championsip one week after losing? Are you kidding? For that matter Missouri is shut out of the BCS, yet the team it beat – Kansas is in.

    If this season doesn’t start a push for a playoff system, i don’t think it ever will.

    My top 16 to come soon.

    Aaron

  9. Aaron Smith   December 4, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Another thing.. If you are voting for the Heisman trophy, isn’t it your duty to watch all of the games – including those on the west coast?

    How did writer’s submit their Heisman ballots before Saturday games? Did anyone watch Colt Brennan’s performance on Saturday? If they did, some of their votes might have changed..

    But as a voter, don’t you have the responsibility to watch as many games as possible – including those on the West Coast? Last time I checked, it is not the best player in college football – on the East Coast..

  10. Reynell   December 4, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    A little justification for my top 16. By the way Casey – take my first list. I posted it twice because it took a while to post the first time and though it didn’t go through.

    I understand the bashing of Kansas. But their wins weren’t just wins, they absolutely crushed opponents they were supposed to. When they faced a formidable team in Mizzou, they struggled. They did, however, post a nice little comeback. To me, this was an “any given Saturday” type of game. Kansas could handle Mizzou any day of the week. That particular day wasn’t theirs. Missouri, however, was handled convincingly by Oklahoma’s defense – twice. For some reason, I still give Kansas the edge.

  11. Reynell   December 4, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    And I almost forgot…

    LSU at #1? Aaron, I know they lost a week ago. But look at their two losses. Two 3OT games – one that took a missed FG at the end of regulation against Kentucky. Then, they had to contain Darren McFadden for an extra 3 drives on the 25? Come on – you have to admit those are some tough losses to hold against them compared to other teams ‘L’ column.

  12. ccww   December 4, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Brother Reynell

    Somehow the software picked up your top 16 as Spam – maybe ’cause of the list format. Doesn’t matter I recovered them both later.

    Casey

  13. Aaron Smith   December 5, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Reynell,

    I am not knocking LSU – I am knocking the system. Then again, the fact that they lost to Arkansas and they were heavily favored going in..

    I have a problem with the system. For the most part, all season, if you lose you fall in the rankings, yet Hawaii – who has done their job and run the table – doesn’t move up. They should have their opportunity..

    For that matter, how is USC not playing for the National Championship? Sure they lost a couple of games – when they had a few guys hurt, starting with John David Booty. But over the last 2-3 weeks, they have come on strong and probably are the best team in collge football. Evidence by the butt whooping they put on Arizona St. over Thanksgiving weekend. They also played 4 nationally ranked teams and were 3-1 against them – losing a close one to Oregon. And yes, they played Notre Dame, which in other seasons, probably would have been a tougher challenge.

    As for Kansas/Missouri. I almost buy your arguement except for the fact that Kansas played some serious patsies early on (C. Michigan and SE Lousiana) and only played 2 nationally ranked teams this season. One of those was Missouri.

    So I don’t buy it.. and I certainly don’t agree with Ohio State playing for the National championship.There is more of a need for playoff then ever before. I also believe that if we did have a playoff – USC would win.

  14. Aaron Smith   December 5, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Did you know that the New England/New York Giants game is on the NFL Network?

    History might be blacked out because millions of people might not have the chance to see the Pats go 16-0..And if the Giants are fighting for a playoff spot? Oh boy…l 12/29, 8:15 on the NFL Network.. Thankfully it is a Saturday, but the uncle might be dropping by that night.

    Then again, Pats need to get by the Steelers and that is going to be tough.. 12/29.. Thankfully it is a Saturday, but the uncle might be dropping by that night.

  15. Chris   January 3, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Pat White played Amazing…

    “White finished with 150 yards on 20 rushes, including a 42-yarder that was one of six Mountaineer plays from scrimmage of 30 or more yards. He also was 10-of-19 passing, including a WVU bowl-record 79-yarder to Tito Gonzales.”
    From a Pat White Website.

    It was a great shootout for a while there.

    Chris

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