Time to throw in towel on bowls?
Posted: Monday December 27, 1999 05:25 PM
By Stewart Mandel, CNN/SI
Most opponents of a major college football playoff are focused on preserving the tradition behind the bowl system. The day there is no Rose Bowl, they say, will be a depressing one indeed. The day Alabama-Auburn plays second fiddle to a playoff game will be a sad one.
But how much sadder can it be, one asks, than the sight of two 6-5 teams spending Christmas playing in a near-empty stadium? Such was the scene for Saturday's Wake Forest-Arizona State thriller in the Aloha Bowl. And though the dates and teams will change, the same scene is expected for nearly a dozen of this year's games.
Admittedly, it would be a shame to see the very things that make college football so unique -- the emphasis on the regular season, the pageantry of the bowl games -- disappear. But it also seems like the emotional investment of an 11-game season should pay off in something more than one meaningful postseason game.
Traditionalists disperse; let's get this darn playoff thing done.
| Each week, the Glance offered its projected BCS lineup based on current standings. CNN/SI's bowl picks |
| Sugar: Florida State 27, Virginia Tech 24 || Orange: Alabama 21, Michigan 19 |
| Rose: Wisconsin 38, Stanford 24 || Fiesta: Nebraska 29, Tennessee 16 |
| The bowl race at a glance: |
| When was the last time there wasn't at least one other team outside the national title game crying for a piece of the prize? Even in BCS year one, 10-1 Ohio State thought it deserved a shot if 10-1 Florida State won the Fiesta Bowl over Tennessee. No, the Sugar Bowl winner truly deserves to sit atop the final polls. Look for the loser to slip anywhere from Nos. 3-5. Nebraska, Wisconsin and Alabama are poised to finish 2-3-4 if they all win their BCS games, while Tennessee looks to sneak into the top five by knocking off the Huskers. |
| ON: June Jones. For Christmas, this lucky dude gets his name in the record books -- and the knowledge that he lives in Hawaii. |
| ON: Michael Vick. Between surprise Heisman performance and impending Sugar hype, this bandwagon is officially overflowing. |
| OFF: East Carolina. The team once ravished by Hurricane Floyd this week ravished a whole bunch of bowl pools. |
| OFF: Blue-Gray. The "All-Star Classic" apparently neglected to invite kickers. |
| ON: Peach Bowl. Clemson-Mississippi State might not thrill on paper, but watch for the game to go to the wire like every one this decade. |
| OFF: Y2K fanatics. Go to the damn games, people. |
| Will they remember the Alamo? |
| Penn State has had more than five weeks to put its late-season disappointments behind it. After further review, expect the Lions to come out absolutely jacked for Texas A&M. |
| R-E-S-P-E-C-T |
| It's a theme for numerous bowl teams: Marshall, Kansas State, Minnesota and Virginia Tech among them. But perhaps the biggest grumbles should come from Knoxville; All seven CNN/SI writers picked Nebraska over the defending national champs.|
| The Big Cheese. |
| Florida State and Nebraska will be remembered as the dynasties of the '90s. But if Wisconsin wins its third Rose Bowl title in the last seven years -- after going 20-58 the previous seven -- Barry Alvarez is the coach of the decade. |
| Kansas State vs. Washington (Holiday), Wednesday|
| K-State coach Bill Snyder mistakes Washington QB Marques Tuiasosopo's name for one of his non-conference opponents and gets complacent. After the upset, he's seen smashing Rick Neuheisel's guitar. |
| Louisville vs. Boise State (Humanitarian), Thursday|
| Realizing rural Idaho would be as good a place as any to hide during Y2K, the two teams bag the game and run for the hills. No one notices.|
| Michigan State vs. Florida (Citrus), Saturday|
| Steve Spurrier has promised to go mellow on the criticism. After putting up three points on an in-transition Spartans team, he declares, "By golly, the Gators don't play like champions any more, but we sure did have fun out there, good chaps."|
| * Three games selected at random|
| Ask the Glance and you shall receive. |
Should college football have a rule like the NFL that coaches can't be approached by other programs until their team's season is complete?
-- Richard Santos, Iowa City, Iowa
Absolutely. Not only would it prevent situations like Michigan State's, where the coach who led the school to its bowl game won't be there for the bowl game, but it would remove altogether the need for firing coaches before the end of the season. No need disrupting the team if you're not getting any kind of head start on the market. However, I don't think this is as feasible as in the NFL, where the element of recruiting is not there. You really need to have your coaching situation in place in order to recruit as early as possible before February signing day. Also, it's not like the rumors and speculation wouldn't swirl long before the candidates are actually contacted.
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