We’ll miss the bowl-projections, won’t we? Hey, Jerry Palm of CBSsports.com, didn’t you have Oklahoma State and Northern Illinois slotted in BCS bowls as of Friday afternoon? Oh yes, you did.
1. Excitement Times 35: Every bowl team is excited to be going to their bowl and each of the 35 bowls is excited about its matchupsl. How do we know this? Because even the smallest of the bowls have people giddy with, well, excitement.
“It’s one of those things where we’re very excited to get the opportunity to play in the Military Bowl,” said Maryland Coach Randy Edsall.
“We’re excited for the chance to play in another game against such a quality opponent,” coach Paul Chryst of Pittsburgh said about facing Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
“Vanderbilt is very excited to accept an invitation to play in the upcoming BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham on Jan. 4,” Vanderbilt Athletics Director David Williams II said.
“We are very excited to have North Carolina playing in the 2013 Belk Bowl,” said Belk Bowl executive director Will Webb said.
“We are excited about the opportunity to represent the Mid-American Conference against a terrific Arkansas State team in this year’s GoDaddy Bowl,” said Ball State Coach Pete Lembo.
2. Shelter From the Cold: It will be good to get somewhere warmer for ice-cold Texas Tech and Oregon State. The Red Raiders take a 5-game losing streak to the Holiday Bowl, the Beavers take a 5-game losing streak to the Hawaii Bowl.
“We are excited about the opportunity to play in the National University Holiday Bowl,” Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
“Man, this is going to be amazing,” said Oregon State linebacker D.J. Alexander. “We’ll be wearing shorts all week, not worrying about wearing pants or snow.”
Alexander doesn’t make a habit of wearing snow, but a big snowstorm hit Corvallis over the weekend and classes were canceled Monday.
3. Voting Fraud: There’s a reason why the USA TODAY coaches’ poll only releases its ballots after the last poll of the regular-season. If it did so every week, coaches would be bombarded with inquiries about their biased, flawed votes.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema placed No. 6 Ohio State 12th. That seems a tad low, and it was the lowest the Buckeyes were ranked on any coach’s ballot. But Bielema and OSU Coach Urban Meyer aren’t exactly chummy. Bielema questioned some of Meyer’s recruiting maneuvers.
But Meyer had in-conference help. Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio had the Buckeyes fourth, higher than anyone including Meyer, who voted his team No. 5.
The only coach who gave Nebraska a vote was … Nebraska’s Bo Pelini, at 25th.
No one had Northern Illinois ranked higher than 16th except for … NIU’s Rod Carey, who had his team 13th despite its 47-27 loss to Bowling Green Friday.
For all the coaches’ votes, click here.
The Harris Poll, like the coaches’ poll, was used in the BCS formula. It has a perennial outlier in former Iowa State coach Jim Walden, who had Central Florida No. 6 on his ballot and Louisville No. 8. He ranked as many teams from the Mid-American Conference (Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Ball State) in his top 25 as he did teams from the Big Ten, Big 12 and the ACC.
Derrick Mayes, a Harris voter apparently because he was a Notre Dame wide receiver, didn’t have Michigan State or Ohio State in his top 10.
Polls have biases. And so will the members of the 13-person College Football Playoff selection committee.
4. Strangers in a Strange Land: The Hawaii Bowl is a pull for fans of both teams, being in Hawaii and all. But at least there’s Hawaii at the end of that rainbow. How about these matchups:
Famous Idaho Potatoes Bowl: Buffalo and San Diego State. Combined distance of Buffalo and San Diego from Boise: 3,202 miles
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan and Kansas State. Combined distance of both from Tempe: 3,056 miles.
Texas Bowl: Minnesota and Syracuse. That’s 2,802 miles.
AdvoCare V100 Bowl (formerly the Independence Bowl, and what an awful name it has now): Arizona and Boston College, 2,765 combined miles from Shreveport.
Central Florida is going to the Fiesta Bowl. It’s 2,145 miles from Orlando to Glendale, Ariz., UCF will be on the hook for 17,500 tickets. Good luck with that.
Here’s one that’s a little more reasonable:
New Orleans Bowl: Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette. Tulane is in New Orleans. Lafayette is a two-hour car ride away.
Bowl-affiliations didn’t matter. The league didn’t have enough bowl-eligible teams to deliver anyone to those games. It rarely has had enough to send up to Detroit over the years.
The Leaders Division had just two bowl-eligible teams out of six. The Heart of Dallas Bowl ended up with North Texas against UNLV, and probably has a better deal than had it been stuck with a 6-6 Big Ten team like Purdue last year.
North Texas hasn’t been to a bowl since 2004, and is plenty happy to head to Dallas.
“I was blown away,” Mean Green Coach Dan McCarney said. “It was 100 percent that they wanted to go to the Heart of Dallas Bowl because all of their friends, family and high school coaches could come watch them play.
“That gives me a good feeling that our guys want to be there.”
McCarney, the former Iowa State coach, has an 8-4 team in his third season in Denton. The program won a total of eight games in the four years immediately before McCarney arrived.
6. Reminiscing: Ohio State will play Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Remember the only previous time these two programs hooked up, at the Gator Bowl?
And so ended the Woody Hayes Era in Columbus.
7. The Final Word: “Nebraska again? You kidding me?” — Georgia wide receiver Michael Bennett in a Sunday tweet. He deleted it soon afterward.
Nebraska played Georgia in last season’s Capital One Bowl. The two teams are paired again, this time in the Gator Bowl.
“We’re not disappointed at all in the two teams we have playing in our bowl game,” said Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett. “In fact we’re really quite excited about it.”
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