Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: If you love mostly meaningless football, bowl season is for you

The Camellia Bowl, which pits 6-6 South Alabama against 7-6 Bowling Green, is the worst of the 38 bowl games this season. But it’s close.
The Camellia Bowl, which pits 6-6 South Alabama against 7-6 Bowling Green, is the worst of the 38 bowl games this season. But it’s close.

Unlike so many of you, I’ve never been a big college football bowl guy.

For the most part, I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind bowl games, other than to make money. And while I’m all for making money, though obviously not good at it, I don’t get much from bowl games.

Ninety percent of them have no meaning.

A reward for the season? Come on. Give the players a check for $5,000; that would be a reward for the season.

And could we wait any longer to play these games? Teams develop a ritual with almost-weekly games, then have to wait three, four or even five weeks to play in a bowl.

But this anti-bowl fight has taken it out of me. I’m tired and beaten down by all of you die-hard football fans out there who would rather watch the Camellia Bowl than take your family out for dinner. Or sing Christmas carols. Or view It’s a Wonderful Life for the 75th time.

So my vow is to watch more bowl games. I’ll be holding my nose in some cases and there are some that I just won’t be able to watch no matter what.

In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the bowls with a brief comment on all the games.

Saturday, Dec. 20

New Orleans Bowl, Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4) – If you’re in New Orleans and have nothing better to do than attend this game, you need to examine your life.

New Mexico Bowl, Utah State (9-4) vs. UTEP (7-5) – If you’re in Albuquerque and have nothing better to do than attend this game, you need to examine your life.

Las Vegas Bowl, Utah (8-4) vs. Colorado State (10-2) – I hate to do it to you again, but if you’re in Vegas . . . actually, this is a pretty good game. I’ll watch this game. At least for a half.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Western Michigan (8-4) vs. Air Force (9-3) – I heard Jim Rome’s interview with Western Michigan coach PJ Fleck on Tuesday and was impressed with the guy. Plus, I enjoy any bowl game that makes me hungry.

Camellia Bowl, South Alabama (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (7-6) – Lovely camellias are found mostly in eastern and southern Asia, where lucky people will not be subjected to this one.

Monday, Dec. 22

Miami Beach Bowl, BYU (8-4) vs. Memphis (9-3) – The thing about bowl games is that they’re often played in great locales. Seems a shame to interrupt these great vacations for fans with a football game. But this one is decent and involves future Big 12 member Memphis. Maybe?

Tuesday, Dec. 23

Boca Raton Bowl, Marshall (11-1) vs. Northern Illinois (11-2) – The records are glossy. Both teams have tradition. This might well be the best Boca Raton Bowl in history, although I haven’t checked the others.

Poinsettia Bowl, Navy (6-5) vs. San Diego State (7-5) – This could be fun, considering there is a huge Naval base in San Diego, where the game will be played, and a huge number of San Diego State fans, too. Forget the game, watch what goes on in the stadium.

Wednesday, Dec. 24

Bahamas Bowl, Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5) – The Bahamas is so lucky to have this game because finding tourists is such a struggle.

Hawai’i Bowl, Fresno State (6-7) vs. Rice (7-5) – OK, ask yourself: Is this game necessary and who does it serve? I think we all know the answers.

Friday, Dec. 26

Heart of Dallas Bowl, Illinois (6-6) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-5) – This game should be devoted to a far less vital organ than the heart. Maybe the spleen?

Quick Lane Bowl, Rutgers (7-5) vs. North Carolina (6-6) – If I were attending this one, I’d be perfectly fine to travel in the slow lane to get there.

St. Petersburg Bowl, (North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Central Florida (9-3) – Give me something?

Saturday, Dec. 27

Military Bowl, Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6) – Air Force and Navy are in bowl games. Why is neither in this one?

Sun Bowl, Arizona State (9-3) vs. Duke (9-3) – Count me among those who is still enamored by decent Duke football.

Independence Bowl, Miami (Fla.) (6-6) vs. South Carolina (6-6) – Two name schools and two teams that finished below .500 in their conferences. It’s fitting that this is the Independence Bowl because only in America would these teams get a bowl opportunity?

Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College (7-5) vs. Penn State (6-6) – Let Derek Jeter play quarterback for Penn State. Then I’ll watch.

Holiday Bowl, Nebraska (9-3) vs. USC (8-4) – This game would be so cool if Bo Pelini and Lane Kiffin were coaching.

Monday, Dec. 29

Liberty Bowl, Texas A&M (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5) – When A&M bolted the Big 12 for the SEC, West Virginia was brought aboard. I think the Big 12 got the worst of this deal.

Russell Athletic Bowl, Oklahoma (8-4) vs. Clemson (9-3) – What happens if Bob Stoops loses this one? Probably nothing, but isn’t there a little pressure?

Texas Bowl, Arkansas (6-6) vs. Texas (6-6) – This one harkens back to the good ol’ Southwest Conference days. Unfortunately, the records don’t match the allure.

Tuesday, Dec. 30

Music City Bowl, Notre Dame (7-5) vs. LSU (8-4) – Two great football programs, two down seasons. If these two teams want to cry in their beer, at least they’ll be in the country music capital of the world.

Belk Bowl, Georgia (9-3) vs. Louisville (9-3) – There’s always a chance Louisville coach Bobby Petrino will do something really stupid. Enough reason for me to watch.

Foster Farms Bowl, Maryland (7-5) vs. Stanford (7-5) – I never did any farming, but I’d slop pigs before I’d watch this game.

Wednesday, Dec. 31

Peach Bowl, Ole Miss (9-3) vs. TCU (11-1) – This is can’t miss because of how angry the Horned Frogs should be that they decided to join the Big 12.

Fiesta Bowl, Boise State (11-2) vs. Arizona (10-3) – Could Boise be a Big 12 target?

Orange Bowl, Mississippi State (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech (10-3) – Am I the only one who thinks it’s great that Mississippi is more relevant than Georgia in college football? I probably am.

Thursday, Jan. 1

Outback Bowl, Auburn (8-4) vs. Wisconsin (8-4) – Badgers running back Melvin Gordon needs 293 yards to pass Barry Sanders as college football’s all-time single season rusher. I’m a Sanders guy, so I hope Gordon comes up short.

Cotton Bowl, Michigan State (10-2) vs. Baylor (11-1) – The Big 12 believes it was snubbed by the College Football Playoff system. Given that, the Bears better show up for this one.

Citrus Bowl, Missouri (10-3) vs. Minnesota (8-4) – Cheney native Jerry Kill coaches the Gophers. That’s my hook.

Rose Bowl, Oregon (12-1) vs. Florida State (13-0) – The first of the national semifinals needs no introduction. I’m pulling for Mariota over Winston.

Sugar Bowl, Alabama (12-1) vs. Ohio State (12-1) – The next semifinal features Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer in a battle of smugness. Can’t wait.

Friday, Jan. 2

Alamo Bowl, Kansas State (9-3) vs. UCLA (9-3) – The country will still be spinning from the semifinal games. But Bill Snyder needs to get a bowl win here.

Armed Forces Bowl, Houston (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6) – This game is different from the Military Bowl. How, I’m not sure.

Taxslayer Bowl, Iowa (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6) – Despite its somewhat violent name, this one promises to be tame.

Cactus Bowl, Washington (8-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6) – Both teams had losing records in their conferences, something the ticket salesman don’t want you to know.

Saturday, Jan. 3

Birmingham Bowl, East Carolina (8-4) vs. Florida (6-5) – Begs the question: If you’ve had a season bad enough to get your coach fired, should you go to a bowl game?

Sunday, Jan. 4

GoDaddy Bowl (Toledo (8-4) vs. Arkansas State (7-5) – Why? Seriously, why?

Monday, Jan. 12

National championship game – All hands, and eyes, on deck.

By the way, the most common record for a bowl team this season is 7-5; 17 of the 76 bowl teams are 7-5. Here’s a rundown:

7-5 – 17

9-3 – 13

6-6 – 12

8-4 – 12

12-1 – 3

10-2 – 3

11-1 – 3

10-3 – 3

11-2 – 2

6-5 – 2

8-5 – 2

13-0 – 1

6-7 – 1

7-6 – 1

9-4 – 1

Which means there are 48 teams with bowl invitations that lost at least four games this season. And 35 that lost at least five. But, darn it, I’ll be watching.

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