BCS ruins the best bowl matchups for football fans

It’s that time of the year when gifts are given, food is eaten and ‘Man Christmas’ occurs.

‘Man Christmas’ is the greatest holiday known to mankind. Twenty-three days of college football, sprinkled in with some NFL games on the weekends to mix it up. The women in your life will cook hearty meals and bring you beverages on demand as you enjoy the happiest season of all.

Maybe not the latter part, but what more could a man ask for than football seven days a week? There is no other sport that has a format similar to bowl season.

Nonetheless, college football bowl season countdown is officially underway, and men’s salivary glands are working.

Unfortunately, most of the non-BCS bowls have developed into the most interesting following the selection on Sunday.

The BCS bowl games have once again turned into the laughingstock of the bowl season. Initially, fans had already suspected a No. 1 Notre Dame versus No. 2 Alabama BCS National Championship game, and a Wisconsin versus No. 6 Stanford Rose Bowl game. The Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls were still up for interpretation going into Sunday’s selection.

ESPN college football analysts Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards both predicted that No. 5 Kansas State would play No. 4 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, No. 11 Oklahoma versus No. 3 Florida in the Orange Bowl and No. 12 Florida State versus the Big East champion — that resulted in No. 21 Louisville upsetting predicted winner Rutgers.

There’s a reason many analysts say predictions don’t mean squat — especially in the BCS.

The BCS always seems to play the spoiler, pity-giver card by including a non-BCS team in a championship bowl game. Northern Illinois was originally ranked No. 21 going into its last game of the season versus No. 17 Kent State in the MAC Championship game. The Huskies found a way to move up to No. 15 in the BCS rankings after their overtime win against the Golden Flashes, thus qualifying them for a BCS berth.

This is where the bowl season became another crapshoot.

The No. 15 ranking somehow forced the hand of the BCS to grant them an Orange Bowl berth against No. 12 Florida State from the ACC. It’s nowhere the Huskies of the MAC belong, and thus screwed up the entire bowl layout from the top down. The Sooners were moved to the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic versus No. 9 Texas A&M, and knocked Louisville into the Sugar Bowl against Florida.

As someone who follows college football, these match-ups provide nothing but garbage football for viewers. No one wants to watch a Northern Illinois team that lost to a 4-8 Iowa team and hasn’t played anyone ranked other than Kent State — also a MAC conference team.

The BCS and the Discover Orange Bowl representatives shouldn’t be pleased either, as each team participating is required to purchase approximately 18,000 tickets for fans. The Huskies average attendance this season was just under 16,000.

That’s ridiculous. It will more than likely end up costing Northern Illinois money instead of making any form of profit, as even most big schools find out the hard way.

In New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl is presented with the same poor matchup by the BCS. Louisville doesn’t belong in a game against an SEC team, let alone the No. 3 Gators. Florida and Florida State present overwhelming matchups against the MAC and Big East schools traveling south.

The only advantage to the screw-ups on the top end of the bowl games is that it provides for better, more interesting games in 2012. Fans would much rather see an Oklahoma versus Texas A&M game over the Orange or Sugar Bowl.

Don’t be surprised when the attendance at the Cotton Bowl is much larger than the two respective BCS games.

Oklahoma’s Cotton Bowl berth pushed Georgia, Michigan and Texas further down the bowl ladder into less-prestigious bowl games, thus infuriating a lot of teams in those conferences and beyond.

It just proves that yet again, the BCS cannot get anything right, even when the obvious pair offs are placed on a silver platter before them. All they had to do was read the script and smile. College football fans almost had an amazing BCS bowl lineup to look forward to.

That’s why nothing is expected from the BCS though, right?


Reach the columnist at msterrel@asu.edu

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