Bowl season is just three short days away and with 68 teams, over half of Division I (or whatever it's called now), playing this year, going to a bowl is more special than ever. After all, who isn't intrigued by a 6-6 Wyoming team or a 6-6 Marshall squad? It's rich and compelling football. So, in honor of this exclusive group of teams, it's time to put on the t-shirt tuxedo and discuss every bowl game in a classy fashion. I prefer the tuxedo made of 100% cotton because as it was pointed out so eloquently in Talladega Nights, the t-shirt tuxedo says I want to be formal, but I'm here to party. On to the party...
NEW MEXICO BOWL
Fresno St. (8-4) vs. Wyoming (6-6)
Pros: None come to mind.
Cons: Spending December 19th in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Way to make the bowl better: Outside of canceling and/or moving the bowl, I don't think there's much that can be done here.
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
Central Florida (8-4) vs. Rutgers (8-4)
Pros: For Rutgers, it's a chance to spend a few days not freezing to death in New Jersey. Or just being in New Jersey in general. No matter the outcome of the game, Rutgers is already a winner.
Cons: It could possibly be the most boring bowl game ever played. Have you ever been excited by a single minute of Rutgers football? And the last time I saw UCF in a bowl game, they got involved in a thrilling 3-0 game against Mississippi State.
Way to make the bowl better: Force one of the teams to not be called the Knights. If anyone were actually watching, it could get confusing.
R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Southern Miss (7-5) vs. Middle Tenn. State (9-3)
Pros: Corporate sponsors of bowl games make it easier to make fun of the games. Although no one has come close to touching the magnificence that was the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl.
Cons: $325,000 to play in front of 24% capacity in the Superdome. The good news for both of these teams is that the 24% capacity should make it feel like a home game and the $325K should give it the feel of an out-of-conference road game.
Way to make the bowl better: Do not combine the super powers that are the Sun Belt and Conference USA
MAACO LAS VEGAS BOWL
Oregon State (8-4) vs. BYU (10-2)
Pros: TV tells me that Las Vegas is awesome, so I'll trust something that would never lie. I'm am sure both teams will be in peak physical condition by the time this one kicks off.
Cons: Both teams should probably try to avoid the "Double Your Payout" game that will be present at most all of the casinos. I suggest sticking to blackjack or a game of "War" that was at one of the lower-level casinos frequented by Cousin Eddie in the debacle that was Vegas Vacation.
Way to make the bowl better: Allow the announcers, production staff and anyone involved in the broadcast to make and wager on prop bets as the game goes along. Like say, number of bad or overplayed Vegas jokes (like the ones you just read) said by the announcers. I'll go with an over/under of nine and take the over.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY PU POINSETTIA BOWL
Utah (9-3) vs. California (8-4)
Pros: I blacked out while typing the entire bowl name so I've got nothing here.
Cons: Is there a con to being in San Diego?
Way to make the bowl better: Send the rest of the country some of the weather out there. I hate cold weather.
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL
Nevada (8-4) vs. SMU (7-5)
Pros: The passing game of SMU colliding with the running game of Nevada. It's a really interesting matchup if it weren't, you know, SMU and Nevada.
Cons: Every time I see a game played in Hawaii I'm always thoroughly annoyed at all the debris fluttering across the field. THIS IS AMERICA NOT SOME SOUTH AMERICAN SOCCER GAME. CLEAN THAT CRAP UP.
Way to make the bowl better: Everyone playing wears a lei. Or coaches wearing the face paint that big tribal guy from Hawaii always wears.
LITTLE CAESARS BOWL
Marshall (6-6) vs. Ohio (9-4)
Pros: I cannot put into words how much I love Little Caesars' $5 ready-to-go pizzas. Edible and thrifty? Absolutely.
Cons: No other city screams holiday fun like Detroit.
Way to make the bowl better: Move Detroit to a less crime-riddled and cold place.
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL
Pittsburgh (9-3) vs. North Carolina (8-4)
Pros: At least North Carolina has a short drive before they put in a half-assed effort.
Cons: Pittsburgh was a little over a minute away from playing in a BCS game, now they're playing in Charlotte in a bowl game sponsored by a company that is currently offering 50% off all break pads.
Way to make the bowl better: How about a $19.99 oil change? When the hell did these things get so damn expensive?
Boston College (8-4) vs. USC (8-4)
Pros: Since USC sucked for most of the year, despite the media refusing to admit it, the good people of northern California get to see them up close without having to drive hours to Los Angeles.
Cons: Attendance will probably be a little low due to Boston College bringing those only directly related to the playing of a football game. As in the players, coaches, trainers and staff. That's it.
Way to make the bowl better: Complimentary bowls of Emerald Nuts for everyone.
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL
Kentucky (7-5) vs. Clemson (8-5)
Pros: Kentucky apparently has a lifetime contract with the Music City Bowl, which guarantees at least one half of tickets will be sold.
Cons: Kentucky apparently has a lifetime contract with the Music City Bowl.
Way to make the bowl better: Extend a bid to someone other than Kentucky.
ADVOCARE V100 INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5)
Pros: Shreveport is the perfect setting for this collision of mediocrity.
Cons: The Poulan Weedeater version of this bowl may have been ridiculous, but at least I knew what was sponsoring the game. Advocare V100 requires me to either watch more TV or Google it. And I am only industrious enough to do one of those. I hope they advertise on TV.
Way to make the bowl better: Have one team represent Shreveport and the other Bossier City for the right to call the area the Shreveport-Bossier City area or the Bossier City-Shreveport area for one year.
UCLA (6-6) vs. Temple (9-3)
Pros: I don't know if Temple making a bowl game is really a pro. I suppose if you're Temple it is.
Cons: Did anyone actually watch UCLA play this year? I didn't, but I can assume they're awful.
Way to make the bowl better: Much like the New Mexico Bowl, there's not much that can be done here.
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
Miami (9-3) vs. Wisconsin (9-3)
Pros: Jacory Harris has a chance to hit the 20 interception mark (currently at 17), which, as someone who has seen all of Jevan Snead's games, is harder than you think.
Way to make the bowl better: Less Big 10 football.
ROADY'S HUMANITARIAN BOWL
Bowling Green (7-5) vs. Idaho (7-5)
Cons: Something called Roady's. The state of Idaho in December. And "Humanitarian," which is the only time in which that word probably has a negative connotation.
Way to make the bowl better: Perhaps four walls, a roof and heat might do the trick. Oh, and green grass.
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL
Arizona (8-4) vs. Nebraska (9-4)
Pros: The Holiday Bowl is usually a pretty entertaining bowl, featuring teams with lots of offense and very little defense. Probably not happening this year though.
Cons: Watching Nebraska attempt to play offense.
Way to make the bowl better: Again, San Diego doesn't really need improvements.
BELL HELICOPTER ARMED SERVICES BOWL
Houston (10-3) vs. Air Force (7-5)
Pros: Watching Case Keenum and Houston's offense attempt 95 passes and rack up 1200 yards of offense. If you've never seen them play, you'll be watching an offense that is both highly entertaining and as close to a video game as the New Orleans Saints offense. Also, there could be a really cool pre-game flyover involving jets and/or helicopters. Those never get old.
Cons: This could turn into a skull-dragging if Houston can get a fraction of performance out of their defense.
Way to make the bowl better: Flyovers before the game, after each quarter and just as the clock hits 0:00.
BRUT SUN BOWL
Oklahoma (7-5) vs. Stanford (8-4)
Pros: Toby Gerhart might actually be watched by people outside of the state of California. Might is the key word here. This game is still played at 2 pm EST on New Year's Eve.
Cons: Was Jack Palance a spokesman for Brut? I'm pretty sure he died a few years ago and that's a shame for this game. Having him introduce the starting lineups would have been awesome.
Way to make the bowl better: As Kramer once said on Seinfeld, "El Paso? I spent a month there one night."
Navy (8-4) vs. Missouri (8-4)
Pros: I've heard Reliant Stadium is really nice.
Cons: Other than the game being on TV, is there a compelling reason anyone would be interested in Navy and Missouri playing in Houston, Texas?
Way to make the bowl better: See the New Mexico Bowl.
Minnesota (6-6) vs. Iowa State (6-6)
Pros: Seriously? These aren't the teams in this game, right? Surely this bowl is jesting.
Cons: Everything but being in Tempe in December.
Way to make the bowl better: Find a team above .500.
Virginia Tech (9-3) vs. Tennessee (7-5)
Pros: More practice time means there's more time for Lane Kiffin to do something else stupid and attract even more NCAA attention. And with the way Tennessee assistants are bailing out, this Vols team could be coached by something like five coaches, which would be fun for everyone else.
Cons: Tyrod Taylor and Jonathan Crompton shouldering the responsibility of offense in this game.
Way to make the bowl better: Free Chick-fil-a for a month for anyone without a rooting interest who watches this entire game.
Northwestern (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5)
Pros: Luckily, most everyone will be asleep from the previous night's New Year's Eve festivities for the first half and won't have to watch.
Cons: This matchup.
Way to make the bowl better: Free Outback for life to anyone without a rooting interest who watches this entire game.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3)
Pros: Another game presents another opportunity for Les Miles to show the country that he is in fact even more clueless than we assume.
Cons: More of those stupid Capital One commercials in which people design their credit cards. That novelty wore off about three years ago, assuming it was interesting in the first place.
Way to make the bowl better: A primetime TV spot. It will probably never happen since the Sugar Bowl is always New Year's night, but these are still top teams in the SEC and Big 10 and shouldn't play when the fans haven't had the chance to crank up their BACs to the previous night's levels.
KONICA MINOLTA GATOR BOWL
West Virginia (9-3) vs. Florida State (6-6)
Pros: Just one more game and we'll never have to hear another Bobby Bowden story again. Or at least until he writes a book in which he tells the inside story of his being forced out of the head coaching job.
Cons: The approximately 2,000 sappy pieces about Bowden's last game leading up to and during the game. Luckily, both of these teams are unwatchable and no one will see it.
Way to make the bowl better: Don't strike special deals to get crappy teams like Florida State into your game.
Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2)
Pros: Ohio State is not playing an SEC team so there's at least a chance this won't be a total destruction of a football team and program. And if it is, it's just another reason to never rank the Buckeyes in preseason again.
Cons: Watching Ohio State.
Way to make the bowl better: Say to hell with tradition and not have an overrated and overmatched Big 10 team lose to a team from the Pac 10. Get some other teams in there to beat them.
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL
Florida (12-1) vs. Cincinnati (12-0)
Pros: A chance to see the Bearcats play someone not in the Big East who stinks.
Cons: The fawning over Tim Tebow's last game, dumb Urban Meyer stories, Cincinnati's "no respect" and "playing for the little guy" card and a reminder every 20 minutes that Cincy lost its head coach and were not happy about it. When does Fox's contract with the BCS end? 10 minutes ago would be too late.
Way to make the bowl better: Ban Fox from the building.
South Florida (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (7-5)
Pros: Assuming I don't go to the Cotton Bowl, I'll have something to pass the time until it starts.
Cons: Toronto in January and the international flavor of South Florida and Northern Illinois.
Way to make the bowl better: Canceling is the easiest and most cost efficient option.
South Carolina (7-5) vs. UConn (7-5)
Pros: Papa John's is delicious. And it can be delivered without picking up a phone or verbally explaining that you only want half the pizza to have sausage.
Cons: $300,000 to play in Birmingham at the old, crumbling Legion Field in a neighborhood that can generously be described as rough.
Way to make the bowl better: More Internet specials. Are two large, one-topping pizzas for $11.99 that much of a financial burden for Papa John's? And yes, I would like two free 20oz bottles of Coke with that order.
AT&T COTTON BOWL
Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Ole Miss (8-4)
Pros: If I go to the game, seeing Jerry Jones' take on what a building in the first colony on the moon will look like. This building alone is one of the main reasons I really want to go. A high-definition TV that is 60 yards long? Yes, please.
Cons: Watching Jevan Snead play another college football game. Oh, and that weird arm waving thing Oklahoma State fans do after they score. And seeing that much orange in one place. It could prove to be disorienting.
Way to make the bowl better: Again, let's keep Fox away from this one. What other sport has a few networks broadcast the majority of the games, then has one that broadcasts zero games in the regular season broadcast all of the most important games at the end of the year? It's beyond stupid. It's like TNT airing the AFC and NFC championship games as well as the Super Bowl.
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL
Arkansas (7-5) vs. East Carolina (9-4)
Pros: This time when East Carolina visits Memphis, the stands should be mostly full, unlike their previous trip earlier in the season when they played Memphis on a Tuesday night in front of 4,000 fans. Yes, that is a four followed by just three zeros.
Cons: If you survive the rigors of Conference USA and win the championship game, a game in Memphis, a place you might have already played in the regular season, is your reward.
Way to make the bowl better: Say goodbye to Conference USA.
VALERO ALAMO BOWL
Michigan State (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (8-4)
Pros: Mike Leach gets a chance to embarrass the Big 10, and he very well could given a 6-6 Spartan team that boasts the 103rd-ranked pass defense in America is matching wits with him. This Michigan State team is awful.
Cons: Any viewing of the Big 10 is always bad for one's soul.
Way to make the bowl better: Play the game in the actual Alamo. That would be kind of cool. Michigan State won't bring that many people so I think everyone could fit inside.
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL
Boise State (13-0) vs. TCU (12-0)
Pros: Two undefeated teams playing a rematch of last year's Poinsettia Bowl, which was a good game. The winner will allow either the Mountain West Conference or the WAC to yell the loudest that they belong in the BCS to no avail.
Cons: I would have liked one of these teams to play someone else besides one another. Watching one of them thrash Iowa, sending the Big 10 into further irrelevance would have been fantastic.
Way to make the bowl better: Other than banning Fox, I think this is one of the best games in the bowl season.
FEDEX ORANGE BOWL
Iowa (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech (11-2)
Pros: Miami in January.
Cons: Oh, Orange Bowl. It seems like every year you get screwed with a matchup like this. Last year it was Virginia Tech and Cincinnati. Before that, Kansas and Virginia Tech. And who can forget Louisville and Wake Forest. I don't know what you did to the BCS to deserve this, but I suggest a large cash gift with flowers to make things right.
Way to make the bowl better: Invite teams that are appealing.
Central Michigan (11-2) vs. Troy (9-3)
Way to make the bowl better: Combine it with the New Mexico Bowl and have four teams playing at the same time on the same field. Two games at the same time, one field, Albuquerque. I'd watch.
CITI BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Texas (13-0) vs. Alabama (13-0)
Pros: It's kind of a big deal. Hell, the state of Alabama will be empty for about four days, which would be a great time to pillage and loot for all you hardened and small time criminals. And just imagining some of that state's finest walking around slack-jawed looking at all the sights and "people that ain't right" is fun for everyone. Plus, the cluster bomb-like ferocity in which they will descend on Southern California will leave that area in a state of shock much like those who are actually hit by a cluster bomb. Good times all around.
Cons: Texas being there. I'm not saying any of the other teams (BSU, TCS and Cincy) should be there (because they shouldn't), but this Texas team is not going to fare well against Alabama. Close national championship games are always more fun for those of us who don't have an interest (unless the Big 10 is involved) and I don't see that happening here.
Way to make the bowl better: A two to three minute pre-game monologue from Matthew McConaughey in which he says how much this game means to Texas. Something along the lines of this beauty: