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Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Bowl Picture:

The playoff selection went pretty much as expected.  The committee didn't have the guts to leave out an unbeaten team, so Baylor got the brush off.  All my other picks were included and they did list Baylor ahead of TCU so I'll take what I can get.

I said from the beginning of the season that the Big 12 was in trouble.  The Big 12 at just ten teams is a misnomer, as was its 'one true champion' slogan.  So much for that, now Baylor and TCU are co-champions and the only Power 5 league sitting out on the sidelines this playoff season.  This conference desperately needs to expand back to its glory days of having twelve teams and a championship game so it can be taken seriously like the rest of the Power 5.  I can think of a lot of great teams that could be recruited -- Rice/Houston/SMU from the old southwest conference seem like obvious first choices.  Or you could try Cincinnati from the American conference plus the independent BYU.  It doesn't matter how you get there so long as you get back to 12 programs.  At this point anyone will do.

What we have now is a de facto 'Power 4' which will every year send their conference champion into a designated slot in the playoff selection after winning an exciting game on Championship Saturday.  The Big 12 has no similar hook to catch the selection committee's eye.  They're going to be bypassed every time.

At least every bowl eligible team from the Power 5 conferences actually got a bowl invitation.  That part was done respectfully and well.  The Group of 5 teams that were left out were also appropriate choices, 6-6 Temple, 6-6 Middle Tennessee, 6-6 UAB, 6-6 Old Dominion, 6-6 Ohio, and 7-5 Texas State can't be called very exciting programs, no one will miss them from the post season.  It's odd that South Alabama, at 6-6, got a bowl invite while Texas State, at 7-5 did not, but I guess that was because South Alabama beat Texas State in their head-to-head matchup which became the tiebreaker for their in-conference standings vis-a-vis each other.  If the Sun Belt takes the three best teams from their conference based on their in-conference standings automatically, that would put South Alabama ahead of Texas State in a way that doesn't leave much room for argument.

The Mountain West is the only Group of 5 conference that sent all 7 of its bowl eligible teams to a bowl.  Boise State is the Mountain West champion and the only Group of 5 team playing in a New Year's Six bowl.  That pretty clearly establishes the Mountain West as the best non-power conference, which I called before the season began.

The SEC is sending what has to be a record 12 teams to bowl games this year (only two teams from the conference are missing out on the fun).  If people want to keep saying the SEC is overrated, this is their chance to prove their point.  If the SEC comes out with a winning bowl average, the SEC was rated correctly as the best conference in the country.  If Alabama wins the National Championship, the SEC was rated correctly as the best conference in the country.  If neither of those things occur, go ahead and bring out the knives.  But I doubt such an occasion will present itself.

There are a lot of great bowl games lined up.  This will be the best postseason in FBS history, now that we have 4 teams in the playoff instead of just two.  Alabama-Ohio State and Oregon-Florida State are both fantastic games that give all the strongest conferences a chance to prove themselves head-to-head.  Likewise, the Marshall-Northern Illinois game lets the Conference USA and MAC champions fight it out head to head on the field.  Georgia vs. Louisville looks like a great game in terms of SEC vs. ACC.  UCLA vs. Kansas State is intriguing because I feel like both of these teams are better than their records indicate.  Michigan State vs. Baylor and TCU vs. Ole Miss gives the Big 12 the chance to prove they shouldn't have been left out by winning these vital matchups.

The bowls begin December 20th.  Bowl season is the best season of every year.  What a great way to cap off a sports year that included both an Olympics and a World Cup.  2014 was the best year in anime and the best year in sports.  Let's just call it the 'year of entertainment' and put it in the Guinness Book of World Records already.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here come the knives....