Up two teams from last season, this year's crop of bowl teams includes 70, yes, that is a 7 and a 0, worthy to marginally worthy to totally UConn squads. To help you differentiate between, say, the New Mexico Bowl and the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl (note: there is no difference), I attempt to offer some limited assistance, but it's up to you to decide which ones you'd rather watch. And, let's be honest, while most are horribly unwatchable, there is absolutely nothing else on TV during December and early January. Damn you, TV and your extended breaks during holidays.
New Mexico Bowl
BYU (6-6) vs. UTEP (6-6)
Pro: The game is played in the early afternoon, which reduces players' and fans' chances of freezing to death by at least 80%.
Con: After the result of this game, both teams will still have a combined .500 record
Way to make it better: Move this thing out of the stadium and onto the desert floor, then maybe we can squeeze a picturesque painting out of this ordeal.
uDrove Humanitarian Bowl
Northern Illinois (10-3) vs. Fresno State (8-4)
Pro: Northern Illinois's coach just left to go to Minnesota, so there's a chance we could have a Varsity Blues situation, minus the showdown in the locker room at halftime. And the horrible accents. I hope for the Huskies sake they have a James Van Der Beek at quarterback.
Con: I have seen Fresno State play an entire game of football and I never want to watch them again.
Way to make it better: Boise, Idaho in June.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Ohio (8-4) vs. Troy (7-5)
Pro: I have always wanted to see a MAC and Sun Belt team in front of 12,000 people even though I've ignored it every Tuesday and Wednesday night since September.
Con: Did I just type the words "MAC" and "Sun Belt?"
/scans last sentence
Yes, I did.
Way to make it better: Throwback game at old Tulane Stadium. Or the empty lot where Tulane Stadium once stood. Or inside the building that sits on that once empty lot.
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg Bowl
Southern Mississippi (8-4) vs. Louisville (6-6)
Pro: It's not easy having the word "bowl" in the title twice while successfully using two of the word's definitions.
Con: Are the faux Irish strong at producing quality beef dishes?
Way to make it better: More chotchkies on the wall, preferably an oversized stop light, a Kansas license plate and picture of a team of skydivers.
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
Utah (10-2) vs. Boise State (11-1)
Pro: 21 wins between the two with a threat of competent football.
Con: Unfortunately, it's only a 15% threat from Utah. Did you see the TCU game?
Way to make it better: ANY KIND OF GAMBLING.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Navy (8-3) vs. San Diego State (8-4)
Pro: San Diego.
Con: There's a chance, a chance, it might be partly cloudy and only 71 degrees.
Way to make it better: You and your perfect weather, San Diego. Always looking down your nose at the rest of us. I'll show you. Watch me not watch most of this game. Part of this game. A quarter of this game. Shit. The intro.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Hawaii (10-3) vs. Tulsa (9-3)
Pro: I think we've got an outside shot at 61,000 yards passing.
Con: I said this last year, but every game I've ever watched taking place in Hawaii's stadium involves debris blowing across the field or swirling in the air. What the hell is that? This is not Costa Rica vs. Honduras in soccer. CLEAN THAT CRAP UP.
Way to make it better: Have the game serve as the backdrop to Saved By The Bell: Hawaiian Reunion. Like you wouldn't watch that.
Little Caesars Bowl
Florida International (6-6) vs. Toledo (8-4)
Pro: I'm not sure anything in Detroit, and certainly anything in Detroit in December, has a pro.
Con: I find it absolutely delicious that Isiah Thomas' Florida International basketball team lost to Jackson State, a member of the SWAC, which is usually in the race for the worst basketball conference in America.
Way to make it better: $5 Hot-n-Ready pizzas for all. These things are delicious, provided you eat the whole pizza in one sitting. Saving that stuff for later ruins what little zest is actually in the pizza. So to recap, it's cheap, tastily edible, but you'll be left feeling like a complete fatass for eating the whole thing. HOW DARE YOU JUDGE ME.
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Air Force (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (6-6)
Way to make it better: Bring back Poulan Weedeater.
Champs Sports Bowl
West Virginia (9-3) vs. NC State (8-4)
Pro: Bill Stewart will have a month to fine-tune his Country Bear Jamboree offense, which consists mostly of 11 out-of-tune banjos and a washboard trying to make a passable song.
Con: Tom O'Brien has a month to conceive of ways to bleed out what little interest there is in watching this game.
Way to make it better: Stimulants for O'Brien and doses of logic for Stewart.
Missouri (10-2) vs. Iowa (7-5)
Pro: Wait, Missouri won 10 games? When did this happen? Is that also counting last year? I don't believe that happened.
Con: It's unfortunate Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi cut down on his tendency to throw the ball to the other team. The game could have used the spice of a five interception day from Stanzi, which he did once last year, so there's always a chance.
Way to make it better: Stanzi, and only Stanzi, is allowed to wear a uniform made out of an American flag from a tank unit in World War II North Africa.
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
East Carolina (6-6) vs. Maryland (8-4)
Pro: Ruffin McNeill's Pirate defense is actually worse than that of Tyrone Nix. McNeill's defense gave up a staggering 43.4 points a game, almost 10 more than Nix's. CANNOT. IMAGINE. THE. HORROR.
Con: We'll have to watch McNeill sweat, and I mean literally, sweat. It's like he has the entire Great Salt Lake within his body and all of it must come out in three and a half hours.
Way to make it better: A few dozen towels and a couple of fresh shirts for McNeill.
Illinois (6-6) vs. Baylor (7-5)
Pro: Ron Zook alone is LIFE ON THE EDGE.
Con: Ron Zook alone is also HOW IS THIS MAN ALLOWED TO COACH FOOTBALL.
Way to make it better: Zook calls the shots for both sides and somehow Baylor wins.
Valero Alamo Bowl
Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5)
Pro: I've scored this one as a toss-up between watching the Cowboys' offense when it's clicking and Mike Stoops shooting rage out of his eyeballs when something, anything happens.
Con: I see that Craig James is going to be behind the mic here. Last year, he did this game with Mike Patrick, and together those two spent an entire half of football laying out why Mike Leach deserved to get fired because James' son wasn't getting to play. BURN IN A FIRE.
Way to make it better: Let's not renew James' contract next time around, ESPN.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Army (6-5) vs. SMU (7-6)
Pro: I love old tales of boosters who didn't give a damn and players who held out both hands (as long as it's not of my team). So I can't wait for ESPN's latest 30 for 30 documentary, Pony Excess, about the bat shit craziness that was going on at SMU in the 80's.
Con: I can wait to see this game.
Way to make it better: The game is televised by thousands of cameras on these:
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New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Kansas State (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
Pro: Not being at this game where you would:
1. Watch a truly horrible game.
2. Pay $16.75* for a beer
3. Spend three and a half hours in the Bronx
4. Did I mention Syracuse and Kansas State were playing?
Con: Everything associated with this game is pure evil.
Way to make it better: Conduct a home run derby while the game is being played.
*As a user of Confederate currency, this is only an estimation of what I think a beer costs in Yankee greenbacks.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
North Carolina (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6)
Pro: The chance to see UT AD Mike Hamilton grind his teeth down as he watches his school lose to a team he spent $750,000 on NOT to play.
Con: In late December in Nashville it's entirely possible you could see a group of frozen dead fans staring wide-eyed into one of the cameras.
Way to make it better: Let Vince Young play all-time quarterback until he either injures his woman parts or cries and throws his shoulder pads into the stands.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
Nebraska (10-3) vs. Washington (6-6)
Pro: Nebraska has now lost two straight Big 12 Championship Games by a field goal, but at least it won't happen next year. They'll get their chance to do the same though, while in the Big Ten/Twelve/Conference/Cold Conference. Not really a pro, just an interesting fact.
Way to make it better: A counter in the corner of the screen for the pieces of gum Bo Pelini chews during the game. Or, how many fury smacks he makes when he watches his offense shit the bed on yet another possession.
Meineke Car Care Bowl
South Florida (7-5) vs. Clemson (6-6)
Pro: You can see the team that almost kept UConn out of a BCS game, then yell profanities at them for the duration.
Con: You get to watch Kyle Parker play quarterback and be reminded of his horrendous throw to a wide-open wide receiver in overtime against Auburn that could have stopped the Auburn freight train before it reached maximum velocity.
Way to make it better: DO NOT WATCH.
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Notre Dame (7-5) vs. Miami (7-5)
Pro: If you are not at the game, you do not have a chance to get abducted and taken into Mexico where you will never be seen again. I would think that's a pretty solid positive.
Con: The tens of thousands of references to the glory days of Miami and Notre Dame, which, if you're keeping track, last happened 20 years ago before 75% of the players playing in this game were even born.
Way to make it better: Both teams represent a drug cartel and whoever wins, that cartel gets control of the area across the border from El Paso. No more violence, just standard illegal business operations.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Georgia (6-6) vs. Central Florida (10-3)
Pro: One last chance to check out A.J. Green against competition that best resembles your athletic ability.
Con: I vividly remember watching the 2007 Liberty Bowl, when Mississippi State and UCF played, as the second worst college football game I've ever seen. State won 3-0, but humanity lost infinity to nothing (The worst game I've ever seen? Also at the Liberty Bowl, Ole Miss' 3-0 win over Memphis in David Cutcliffe's first year. It was at night, yet still close to 110 degrees, and Ole Miss should have lost.)
Way to make it better: Hot liquor drinks for all who brave hypothermia and actually attend the game.
South Carolina (9-4) vs. Florida State (9-4)
Pro: I will always wholeheartedly support anything and everything Chick-fil-A does. Just thinking about stuffing my face with three sandwiches in one sitting makes me ready for this game.
Way to make it better: Order multiple platters from your local Chick-fil-A and eat all of them while watching Stephen Garcia ruin one last game for the Gamecocks.
Northwestern (7-5) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
Pro: Nothing screams welcome to 2011 quite like an 11 AM CT kickoff between a team without a quarterback and Tommy Tuberville's quest to suck the life out of the once-great Texas Tech offense.
Con: 11 AM on New Year's Day.
Way to make it better: Demolish one of the end zones of the Cotton Bowl while the game is being played.
Florida (7-5) vs. Penn State (7-5)
Pro: It could plant the seed to later convince yourself that, yes, it is time to go to Outback, where I find overeating a requirement.
Con: Watching a Steve Addazio offense, the Tyrone Nix defense of offenses.
Way to make it better: Avoid direct eye contact.
*EDIT: Damn you, Urban Meyer. Now my Addazio jokes should be replaced by jokes about you quitting because it became too hard for you to engage "total asshole" mode on a regular basis. But I won't do it! I won't! Not gonna give you the satisfaction that it's about you. Jerk.
Capital One Bowl
Alabama (9-3) vs. Michigan State (11-1)
Pro: A potentially angry Alabama team unleashed on a Michigan State team that is not an 11-1 team.
Con: A potentially indifferent Alabama team half-assing its way through a game against a Michigan State team that can still probably be beaten with a half-assed effort.
Way to make it better: Make sure the field doesn't look like it did last year:
Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Michigan (7-5)
Pro: Denard Robinson.
Con: Greg Robinson's defense.
Way to make it better: Allow Michigan to play with 27 defenders in order to keep the game close.
Wisconsin (11-1) vs. TCU (12-0)
Pro: The pageantry. The history. The traditi...wait. TCU? The lack of a Pac-10 presence will certainly make stuff, old white men highly uncomfortable.
Con: Other than TCU being pounded into a fine paste, nothing really here.
Way to make it better: Be less fascist and get non-Big Ten and Pac-10 teams in here more often.
UConn (8-4) vs. Oklahoma (11-2)
Pro: After the scorching, followed by the salting of the remains Husky football, this could be the final piece of evidence as to why the Big East should lose its seat at the table with all of the grown-ups.
Con: If Oklahoma acts like Oklahoma in BCS games and loses, then the Big East becomes like Boise State and we never hear the end of it. Also, if this happens, Oklahoma should disband its football program.
Way to make it better: How about West Virginia not totally sucking and beating UConn to prevent this from happening? Just so you know, UConn lost to TEMPLE, who is also 8-4 and not going to a bowl game.
Stanford (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)
Pro: There are is not a pro when Virginia Tech is playing on television.
Con: I believe this is Tech's 32nd straight Orange Bowl appearance, so it might be time to freshen things up in Miami.
Way to make it better: Find a way to keep it from raining.
Ohio State (11-1) vs. Arkansas (10-2)
Pro: Terrelle Pryor gets...no, just kidding. Nothing about the Ohio State offense is a pro. Except the seven guys that will go to the NFL and leave everyone wondering why the Buckeyes are always so blah on offense. Hint: JIM TRESSEL.
Con: Ohio State.
Way to make it better: Remove the tribal arm band tattoos so adored by Ohio State players.
Middle Tennessee State (6-6) vs. Miami (OH) (9-4)
Pro: 13 teams that have 6-6 records got into bowl games (Army is 6-5 and plays Navy this weekend, so we could have 14).
Con: Those teams will be on TV.
Way to make it better: Less MAC and a little less Sun Belt.
LSU (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (9-3)
Pro: We'll finally get to settle the question of whether Gary Crowton or Mike Sherman is more incompetent in an offensive capacity.
Con: Pat Summerall will not be calling the game this year, which means we won't be able to enjoy name mispronunciations or incorrectly identified players.
Way to make it better: No one want to watch these two bumble around for 60 minutes. The entire game should be the overtime process. Much faster and will pump some life and interest into the game.
BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh (7-5) vs. Kentucky (6-6)
Pro: There's a chance Dave Wannstedt could still coach this game and give the people what they want from a final Wannstedt game, a 6-3 bloodbath.
Con: Dave Wannstedt may not coach this game.
Way to make it better: Complimentary fake mustaches for all Pitt fans (and Kentucky fans, since Wannstedt is their best chance of winning) as a tribute to their coach before the door hits him in the ass on the way out.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Nevada (12-1) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Pro: This damn list is almost over.
Con: I'll never get back the hours it took to do this.
Way to make it better: More time and quicker wit.
BCS National Championship Game
Oregon (12-0) vs. Auburn (13-0)
Pro: Kind of an important game. Maybe you heard about it.
Con: Any shots of Trooper Taylor.
Way to make it better: Play this game with players who did NOT take hundreds of thousands of dollars for one year of service.