Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gators & Buckeyes will play for all the Tostitos

Florida gets the nod over Michigan to meet Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game

The University of Phoenix Stadium will host the BCS Championship Game on January 8th

My how quickly things can turn sour in the bittersweet world of NCAA Division 1 college football.

Just ask the USC Trojans. 48 hours ago it was a near lock that USC would be headed to Glendale to play in its third consecutive BCS title game. One miserable game at UCLA later and the Trojans find themselves headed back to the scene of two of their most painful recent losses- the Rose Bowl.

Or how 'bout Lloyd Carr & his Michigan Wolverines? Two weeks ago after taking the Buckeyes to the brink of defeat in a thrilling 3-point loss in Columbus all it could do was sit back and wait, and hope, that no one leapfrogged them for the #2 spot. Alas the Wolverines got passed over not once but twice and now it ends up playing USC in the Consolation Bowl in Pasadena.

But the worst case of riches to rags has to go to poor Rutgers University. A month ago after knocking off then #3 Louisville to run its record to 9-0 with 3 games left, it looked as if a potential title game was in their future, or at the very least a BCS bowl. But after finishing with back-to-back losses that cost the Scarlet Knights the Big East championship and the BCS bid that went with it, Rutgers now finds itself playing in something called the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28th against Kansas State. To add insult to injury, the game is being televised on the dreaded NFL Network. Talk about a fall from grace.

Just about the only team that is happy with its place in the Bowl series appears to be the 'right win at the right time' Gators. A few weeks ago experts were deriding Florida for its measly margins of victory and weak out-of-conference schedule. But one thumping of an obviously overrated Arkansas squad later UF had leaped over the idle Wolverines and landed it straight in Arizona. Of course all the BCS haters and Michigan apologists are up in arms over the selection, but really, with an imperfect system you are going to have imperfect results. Believe me I'm no Gator lover, but in this "what have you done for me lately?" society, lately the Gators thrashed a top 10 Razorback team while the Wolverines sat in Ann Arbor and crossed their fingers that everyone would keep the memories of the close loss fresh in their minds. Didn't happen.

So instead of a rematch of one of the most storied rivalries in college football we get the first ever meeting between the Buckeyes and the Gators. Now that the debate over who was going to the game is over we can get ready for a solid month of "which team will win?" Can't wait till ESPN over analyzes this into the ground.

Believe it or not there are other bowl games as well- 32 of them to be exact. Some of the other key match ups include:

-Rose Bowl: USC vs. Michigan
-Sugar Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU
-Orange Bowl: Louisville vs. Wake Forest
-Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Oklahoma
-Gator Bowl: West Virginia vs. Georgia Tech
-Cotton Bowl: Auburn vs. Nebraska
-Outback Bowl: Penn St. vs. Tennessee

Notice I didn't put the stupid sponsor names in front of these classics. Here are a few of the asinine names in front of some of the lesser bowls:

-Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl: Tulsa vs. Utah
-PetroSun Independence Bowl: Oklahoma St. vs. Alabama
-Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky
-International Bowl: Cincy vs. W. Michigan

...and my personal favorite: Bowl: USF vs. Eastern Carolina

I'm going to hear about that one a lot since local team South Florida is participating in it. Whoopie!

For a complete list of all the bowls and their dates & locations, click here.

Well that's it for the predictions and prognosticating. Only 15 more days until the new season gets under way, starting with the classic San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, featuring TCU and Northern Illinois.

Let the games (and for Michigan fans, the whining)begin!

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