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Tag:Cotton Bowl
Posted on: January 13, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:19 pm
 

BCS headed toward plus-one, but still roadblocks

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The move toward a BCS plus-one has been gaining support following a commissioners meeting in New Orleans this week and was given a further shot in the arm with the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert on Thursday.

Still, roadblocks remain among the presidents controlling and ultimately the discussion about college football's postseason.

"I think that our position is we like the way the current system works," Oregon State president Ed Ray said. "The Rose Bowl is pretty damn special so we're pretty protective of that. I'm sure Larry (Scott) hasn't gone into considerations that there is an imperative to change. I understand the public feels that way but I don't. I think the most realistic change, if any, is the plus-one because the structure exists."

Representatives from the 11 BCS conferences met in New Orleans following the national title game to begin the process of re-working the system ahead of negotiations for a new contract that will start with the 2014 season. Although the general consensus amongst presidents and athletic directors at the annual NCAA convention is that there is likely a move to a plus-one with the new deal, there are plenty of skeptics of changing a system that, in their eyes, is working fine.

"I'm still not enamored with expanding the number of BCS games," said Nebraska channcellor Harvey Perlman. "I'm not in favor of a playoff, I have yet to hear a good reason why we would want one. I've spent a lot of time over the last several years as to why a playoff is bad. I'd like to hear one why it would be good and what it would accomplish. The only one I ever hear is that it would give us an undisputed national champion."

Arizona State president Michael Crow told CBSSports.com on Wednesday that he is supportive of an 8-team playoff run by the NCAA. While the position has not been formally proposed, it does appear to be on one extreme of the Spectrum where no two people are on the same page.

"I think (a playoff) would undermine the regular season or add games or undermine the bowls," Perlman said. "We don't need it. We have a regular season that is as much of a playoff as anything that could be constructed artificially. Why would you want it? Football isn't basketball."

"if there is a change, I think it will occur incrementally," Ray added. "The next incremental change would then be to make the plus-one structure to where you have two semifinals and a final. Beyond that I don't know but sometimes you get surprised."

There has been talk that the Cotton Bowl, thanks to Jerry Jones' money and the largess of Cowboys Stadium, would be in play as a fifth BCS bowl come 2014. Perlman doesn't believe that will be the case, with a more likely scenario of the BCS evolving into a #1 vs. #2 matchup and the rest of the bowls reverting back to conference tie-ins. That scenario is one that many think Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany would be supportive of.

"I don't think (Delany) is convinced yet," Perlman said of a plus-one. "We're all in conversations and I think we're going to have a teleconference soon. We'll have to see how it goes."

From the sounds of it, there could be a bumpy road to BCS change.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:29 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 12:22 pm
 

1-to-35: Ranking the 2011 bowl games



Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Each December, there's plenty of rankings out there as to how good each bowl should be. But if that's the "before," what about the "after"? Here's the Eye on CFB's (highly subjective) ranking of all 35 bowls from the 2011-2012 college football postseason, best game to worst.

1. Rose. Unlike certain other bowls we could name (who happen to rhyme with "Schmalamo"), the Rose's outburst of offense came despite the presence of legitimate championship-level defenses--making the punch and counter-punch between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on one side and LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas on the other like haymakers in a heavyweight prizefight. Add in college football's greatest venue, a down-to-the-wire ending, and even the aesthetic battle between the Badgers' understated uniforms and the Ducks' glitter factory helmets, and you've got the best bowl-watching experience of the year.

2. Fiesta. Andrew Luck vs. Justin Blackmon at the top of their powers -- at the top of the powers of anyone at their positions in college football -- would be worth a top-five placement alone. Luck vs. Blackmon and 79 points and overtime drama? That's worth top-two.

3. Alamo Bowl. To call the defenses in this game abominably porous would be an insult to pores (and abominations). But the Alamo is a random weeknight bowl game--just as no one wants to watch an Oscar-baiting 17th-century literary adaptation on their Guys' Night Out, so no one tuned into the Alamo for rugged defense and awesome punting. Thankfully, what Baylor and Washington gave us was the college football equivalent of four hours of Jason Statham shooting explosions.

4. Outback. Come for Kirk Cousins leading the most unlikely comeback this side of the whooping crane, stay for Mark Richt nominating himself for the (dis)honor of "World's Fraidiest-Cat Football Coach." Oh, and triple overtime.

5. New Orleans. We'd ask if you could remember this thriller between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State from the bowl season's opening night, but we don't think anyone who watched could forget Ragin' Cajun kicker Brett Baer deliriously celebrating his last-second game-winner if they tried.

6. Military. One word: #MACtion. And two numbers: 42-41. And, all right, eight more words to help do this game justice: last-minute do-or-die failed fake extra point holder-kicker option.

7. Sun. We're suckers for any game featuring the triple-option (see the Air Force game ranked one spot above), and Utah's 4th-and-14 touchdown conversion to send the game into OT was one of the more dramatic single plays of the entire bowl season. That 3-0 anti-classic between Pitt and Oregon State was a particularly distant memory in El Paso this year.

8. Belk. A matchup of Utterly Average ACC team vs. Utterly Average Big East team -- in a bowl sponsored by a department store that thinks Macy's is way too wild and edgy -- should have been one of the snoozers of the year. Instead, Mike Glennon caught fire, Louisville mounted a spirited comeback, and this wound up one of the better games of the postseason.

9. Little Caesars. The quality of play in this game at times was like ... well, have you ever actually eaten the pizza of the sponsor? But Western Michigan receiver Jordan White put on a spectacular show (13 catches, 249 yards), the teams combined for 69 points, and the Boilers special teams pulled off two onsides kicks and a kick return for TD. Tasty!

10. Famous Idaho Potato. OK, OK: we're giving this game (which was less-than-must-see-viewing for much of the first 55 minutes) a slight bonus for its killer logo. But we're giving it a much bigger bonus for the pulse-pounding final drive from quarterback Tyler Tettleton and the Bobcats for the first bowl win in program history.

11. Armed Forces. If you're going to be a sorta-dull game between two sorta-unmemorable teams, better come up with a memorable play and/or a big finish. Riley Nelson's game-winning fake spike touchdown to become college football's answer to Dan Marino just about did the trick.

12. Sugar. Another for the "ugly game, fascinating ending" file, but this was Michigan doing their damnedest to be Michigan again and Virginia Tech doing their damnedest to avoid the rabbit's feet and horseshoes and four-leaf clovers falling out of the Wolverines' pockets -- Danny Coale most especially -- and it was in New Orleans. You didn't quit watching, did you?

13. Poinsettia. Not a classic, but three-and-a-half back-and-forth hours with a feisty Louisiana Tech team and an underrated TCU squad most definitely qualified as "serviceable." Think of this year's Poinsettia as the quality burger-and-fries plate from the local joint down the street--not mind-blowing, but spend a few weeks in Peru, where they don't have burgers or college football, and you'll crave a Poinsettia Bowl so badly you could scream.

14. Orange. In the space of about an hour, Dana Holgorsen's evisceration of Clemson went from thrilling to discomfiting to boring to morbidly fascinating to -- once we all realized the Mountaineers weren't going to hit triple digits -- back to boring again. Not every game that hits 100 points is one for the DVD vaults, as it turns out.

15. Liberty. Give me Cincinnati defeating Vanderbilt in surprisingly convincing, mildly entertaining fashion or give me death! (Actually, we've got that first thing already, so no need to worry about providing the second, thanks.)

16. Chick-Fil-A. For 2.5 quarters, this was a delightful shootout with all the requisite trickery you'd hope for from a game involving Gus Malzahn. Then Virginia remembered that it was not only Virginia, but proud ACC member Virginia, and the fun was over.

17. Meineke Car Care. Seriously, Texas A&M, we didn't tune in to see you only flirt with blowing a huge lead against a team that hasn't won a bowl game since approximately the Grover Cleveland administration.

18. Capital One. This game featured an abundance of must-watch plays -- Alshon Jeffery catching a  bomb, Alshon Jeffery hauling in a half-ending Hail Mary, Alshon Jeffery getting ejected for fighting -- but aside from, well, Alshon Jeffery, there wasn't much to it.

19. Cotton Bowl. The 15 seconds of Joe Adams' punt return, the 10 seconds of Jarius Wright's touchdown, and the 5 minutes when it looked like Kansas State might mount yet another smashing comeback were riveting stuff. The other 54:35? Not so much.

20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.

21. TicketCity. If he'd stuggled, he'd have been called a fraud; because he ripped Penn State's D into tiny shreds, no one paid attention. Which is why we're working on a sitcom pilot right now called Case Keenum Can't Win.

22. Gator. When one team's special teams scores just one fewer touchdown than the two offenses combined (as Florida's did), it's safe to say you're not watching a classic.

23. GoDaddy.com. Thanks to a 31-0 run from Northern Illinois, what was expected to be a nailbiting shootout ended up the biggest disappointment since that "unrated web content" we checked out.

24. Champs Sports. It wasn't pretty, but at least the Seminoles and Irish were trying their best ... to make us wish they'd just aired a repeat of the 1993 meeting instead.

25. Las Vegas. College football produces a lot of emotions, but from the neutral perspective, it's rare that one of them is outright legitimate anger. Seeing Kellen Moore forced to end his career slumming it against an Arizona State team that checked out in early November sure turned the trick, though.

26. Independence. The Tar Heels came out so flat, and were finished off so quickly, that we're pretty sure the only lovely parting gift they walked away with was "Independence Bowl: the Board Game."

27. Music City. Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, and Wake Forest averaged 2.9 yards per-play. If Hank Williams or some other old-time country artist had come to Nashville to write a sad song about a sad bowl game, this is the game they'd use for inspiration.

28. Insight. Sadly, the only "insight" we got from this game was that Vegas oddsmakers -- who had the Sooners installed as the biggest favorite of the entire bowl season -- know what they're talking about. And who didn't know that already?

29. Holiday. It wasn't that long ago when Jeff Tedford's Cal and Mack Brown's Texas squaring off would have been appointment television. This game was, too, though in the sense that it was the sort of game you made an appointment somewhere else to avoid viewing.

30. Hawaii. Nevada and Southern Mississippi were collectively as sharp as your average butter knife, but let's see you spend a week chilling in Hawaii and then play a quality football game. The best players the NFL has to offer try it every single year and haven't succeeded yet.

31. Pinstripe. The only thing we remember from this game was our wish to travel back to, say, 1998, and explain to a random college football fan that in 2011, Rutgers would win a bowl game in Yankee Stadium that would give them the nation's longest postseason winning streak. (We're still not sure it's actually happening.)

32. Beef 'O' Brady's. Newton's Second Law of Bowl Aesthetics: Whensoever a Game Produces Fewer Offensive Touchdowns Than the Game Has Apostrophes in its Title, That Game Shall Be, Verily, Entirely Terrible.

33. New Mexico. We'd waited so long to be able to sit down and watch a college bowl game, and by halftime we were sort of wishing we'd gotten to wait a little bit longer.

34. BBVA Compass. For two straight years, Pitt has been forced to play in Legion Field on a January weekday afternoon in front of no one under an interim coach against a nondescript opponent. Vs. SMU the Panthers looked like they'd much rather be off somewhere doing something much more fun, like peeling potatoes with their teeth--and we don't blame them a bit.

35. Kraft Fight Hunger. Comedian Patton Oswalt once called a certain famous KFC product a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Capitalize that B, and we can't think of a better way to describe 2011 Illinois "battling" 2011 UCLA.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:28 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 3:29 pm
 

Injured RB Knile Davis returning for Arkansas

Posted by Chip Patterson

Arkansas running back Knile Davis was eligible to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft, but after suffering a season-ending ankle injury on Aug. 11 has decided to return to school and plans on finishing his Razorback career on the field.

“I have made the decision to return to the University of Arkansas for the 2012 season as I am determined to help this program accomplish the goals we have set in place," Davis said in a prepared statement released by the school. "My injury was unfortunate, but I feel I have worked extremely hard for the opportunity to lead the Razorbacks on the field. Through my setback last season, I remained positive and was committed to persevering and I plan to apply those principles to this year’s team."

Razorback fans found themselves saying "what if" throughout the 2011 season as Arkansas climbed as high as No. 3 in the BCS standings without the All-SEC running back. Davis led the SEC in rushing in 2010 with 1,322 yards, the fourth-highest single-season total in Arkansas history. His return to Fayetteville, along with a Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State, have Arkansas fans already hoping to dethrone their SEC West rivals.

"I believe Coach (Bobby) Petrino is the best coach in America, and he has put this program back on the national stage," said Davis. "He has instilled in everyone the expectation to be great and that we will win championships.

"You can tell the leadership at Arkansas truly cares about us as people and has put the resources in place for us to reach our goals, and that is very special. Also, our fans make playing for the Razorbacks a great experience. I can’t wait for another season with them and my teammates in 2012.”

The competition in the division is only getting tougher with Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M joining the West in 2012, but Petrino certainly has the pieces moving in the right direction. The Razorbacks have won 21 games over the last two seasons, including back-to-back 6-2 conference records and a No. 5 ranking in the final AP Poll of the 2011 season.

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Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:32 am
Edited on: January 7, 2012 12:33 am
 

QUICK HITS: Arkansas 29 Kansas State 16



Posted by Tom Fornelli


ARKANSAS WON. It wasn't the prettiest of games by any means, and the long layoff for both teams since the regular season ended no doubt had something to do with it. Arkansas was able to shake off the rust first, thanks to a field goal and yet another punt return touchdown by the amazing Joe Adams. The 10-0 lead quickly grew to 19-0 before Kansas State blocked an extra point and returned the kick for a safety and the Wildcats scored two more touchdowns to cut the lead to 19-16. Unfortunately for Kansas State, that was the end of any success on offense.

It wasn't his best performance of the season, but Tyler Wilson finished the night with 216 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, with Jarius Wright making 3 receptions for 88 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Collin Klein had a tough night for the Wildcats, finishing with only 41 yards rushing on 24 carries, though he did throw for 173 yards and accounted for both of Kansas State's touchdowns.

WHY ARKANSAS WON. The reason Arkansas won this game came from an area where you'd least expect it to: its run defense. Arkansas finished 9th in the SEC in run defense this season but somehow managed to stop a Kansas State rushing attack that finished the regular season 25th in the country averaging 193.7 yards per game. The Wildcats ran the ball 40 times on Friday night for a grand total of 86 yards, or 2.15 yards per carry. By making Kansas State's offense one-dimensional and forcing Collin Klein to throw a lot more than Kansas State wanted him to, Arkansas ensured its eleventh win of the season.

WHEN ARKANSAS WON. Kansas State had a chance in the final minutes of this one, but when kicker Anthony Cantele missed a 43-yard field goal with 6:43 left and the Wildcats trailing 26-16 it was pretty clear that there would be no late rally.

WHAT ARKANSAS WON. This was the finishing touch on what was a great season for Arkansas. The Razorbacks finish their season with an 11-2 record, with both of those losses coming against LSU and Alabama. The Razorbacks will also likely finish the season ranked in the top five setting them up for a possible title run in 2012.

WHAT KANSAS STATE LOST. This would have been a nice bookend to what was a spectacular and unexpected season for Kansas State, but it's hard to be disappointed in the year the Wildcats had. Kansas State finishes the season with a 10-3 mark and those three losses came against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Arkansas. Some very good teams.

THAT WAS CRAZY. I don't get why teams are willing to punt the ball to Joe Adams, but he burned the Wildcats once with a touchdown in the seocnd quarter. What was crazy, however, was that Kansas State continued to punt the ball to him. No, he never took another one to the house, but still, it's Joe Adams. If you play Russian roulette and survive you don't just keep pulling the trigger.

FINAL GRADE: B-. I was leaning towards more of a C here because I thought this game would be a lot better and more entertaining than it was, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. That being said, both defenses put in some solid performances on the night, and in a bowl season where we haven't seen much of that, I have to give them some credit. Particularly Arkansas, who despite losing its defensive coordinator, still managed to have its best defensive performance of the season. Only Texas had proven capable of slowing down Collin Klein before tonight.
Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:09 pm
 

Cotton Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could determine the Cotton Bowl.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas vs. Kansas State secondary

Arkansas' offensive line hasn't been great this season, but considering the amount of times that the Razorbacks dropped back to pass, the fact that Arkansas only allowed 25 sacks on the year is somewhat impressive. Combine that with a Kansas State pass rush that only tallied 19 sacks on the season, and it's reasonable to believe that Tyler Wilson is going to have some time to throw against Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl.

Which is terrible news for Kansas State.

An offense like Arkansas', which averaged 321.7 yards per game passing and scored 37.4 points per game is not one that you want to give a lot of time to, nor is Tyler Wilson. A quarterback with a strong arm and a lot of weapons at his disposal. Then there's the Kansas State pass defense which finished the regular season ranked 73rd in the FBS in defensive pass efficiency (132.79) and allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 63% of their passes and throw for 24 touchdowns.

Which has to have Wilson licking his chops, but he can't get too cocky because the Kansas State defense was also good at picking off passes, snatching 18 on the year. Only five other teams in the country finished with more.

So while Wilson will have plenty of chances in this contest, and has a plethora of dangerous options to choose from, he's going to have to be smart with his decisions. While trusting your receivers while the ball in the air is a good thing, you don't want to trust them too much because the Kansas State secondary has players like Nigel Malone (led Big 12 with 7 interceptions) and Tysyn Hartman (3 interceptions) who are more than capable of making a play on the ball.

If Wilson makes the right decisions and goes with the plays that are there, and doesn't try to make the play that isn't, then Arkansas has a very good chance to win this game. If not, then the opportunistic Kansas State secondary could make Arkansas its eleventh victim of the year. 
Posted on: December 30, 2011 2:57 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 2:58 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Cotton Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

KANSAS STATE WILL WIN IF: Kansas State is an odd team in that it wasn't exactly outstanding in any one area this season, yet that didn't stop the Wildcats from winning 10 games. So how can it go about winning an eleventh game against a team as good as Arkansas? Well, it should probably follow the same formula that it used all season. Give the human wrecking ball that is Collin Klein the football and let him run people over for 60 minutes. As a team the Wildcats rushed for 193.7 yards per game in 2011, with Klein totalling 1,099 yards on the year. He was also virtually unstoppable in the red zone, as he scored 26 rushing touchdowns. This should not change against Arkansas. The Razorbacks allowed 174.33 yards per game on the ground, giving up 4.5 yards per carry and allowing 20 touchdowns on the season. Numbers that will go up if Kansas State is going to be successful. And running the ball will not only help Kansas State's case on offense, but by using Klein and John Hubert to move the ball on the ground, the Wildcats will also give their defense a break. Arkansas' offense is not one you want to keep on the field for too long because it's explosive and can rack up a lot of points, and Kansas State's offense isn't designed for shootouts. Though it has participated in a few. Still, if the Wildcats want to win this game, they'd be better served to keep this score in the upper 20s, lower 30s.

ARKANSAS WILL WIN IF: Arkansas' strength is clearly its offense, and considering that the Razorbacks have a brand new defensive coordinator for this game, that's not likely to change. Arkansas should pay close attention to what quarterbacks like Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Oklahoma's Landry Jones did against the Wildcats. Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State run offenses that are similar to Arkansas, and those two signal callers combined to throw for 1,007 yards and 9 touchdowns against Kansas State. The Wildcats defense is a lot better suited to stopping the run than it is spread passing attacks, and Arkansas is the perfect kind of offense to exploit that. Though Tyler Wilson will have to take care of the ball as well, because while the Kansas State secondary may not be great, it is opportunistic and guys like Nigel Malone can make a big play. So as long as Wilson takes care of the ball and spreads it out amongst his many weapons, then Arkansas should be able to put up a lot of points in this contest.

X-FACTOR: Joe Adams. It's a shame that Kansas State's Tyler Lockett lacerated his kidney in November and will miss this game not only because of the concern for the freshman's safety, but because we could have had two of the most explosive kick and punt returners in college football this season if he were healthy. However, we still get the chance to watch Joe Adams, and he has the ability to make any punt into one of the most exciting plays in a football game. While Kansas State's kickoff coverage unit has been one of the best in the country this season, its coverage on punts has been pretty average, and if they leave the slightest crack open for Adams in this game, then he may change the outcome of the Cotton Bowl by himself.
Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:02 pm
 

PODCAST: Bowl Previews (Jan. 6-9)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Bowl season rolls on unabated, and the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast rolls on as well with its bowl previews. On the show today the guys go over the bowl games being played from January 6th through the 9th, though not that one game that features Alabama and LSU. They'll have much more on that one later.

Instead they break down some interesting matchups in the Cotton Bowl, the BBVA Compass Bowl and the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Can Arkansas' Tyler Wilson have the same kind of success against the Kansas State defense that Brandon Weeden and Landry Jones had before him? Can Arkansas stop Collin Klein and Kansas State's rushing attack? Then there's talk about how SMU and Pitt match up with one another, and about a bowl game that may be a diamond in the rough between Northern Illinois and Arkansas State.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

Posted on: December 21, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 7:10 pm
 

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

Posted by Eye On College Football 


Occasionally the Eye on CFB team gathers, Voltron-style, to answer a pressing question from the world of college football. Today's question is:

What changes, if any, would you make to the current bowl schedule and/or bowl eligibility requirements?


Bryan Fischer: Any time you have a team like UCLA playing in a game at 6-7, I think it underscores that there needs to be a new rule that you not only be 6-6, but 7-5 at the very minimum. I get that the bowl games are a treat for the players but shouldn't we be rewarding winners and not the mediocre? The entire bowl system seems to have turned into the college football equivalent of a participation trophy. This, of course, ties-in with the line of reasoning that there are too many bowl games. At some point we'll get to the point where there's a good number of games for good teams but right now the excess causes mediocrity. For every crazy New Orleans Bowl finish we get, there's just as many Beef O'Brady Bowl duds it seems.

Tom Fornelli: I tend to agree with Bryan in that I'm not a big fan of 6-6 teams being rewarded for mediocrity, and I usually fall in line with the "there are too many bowl games" crowd, but then a funny thing happens every year. The games start, and they feature a couple of 6-6 teams, and I love them.

Yeah, there are some duds, but there are plenty of duds every Saturday during the regular season. So I think my personal criticisms from the current bowl system come from the fact that I'd like to see some type of playoff. A plus-one being the minimum of what I'd like to see.  So while I get extremely annoyed when I see that 6-6 Florida is playing 6-6 Ohio State in the Gator Bowl, I'm sorry, the TAXSLAYER.COM (bangs head, SIGN OF THE BEAST!!!) Gator Bowl, I'll probably still watch the game. I'm just a college football junkie, there's no way around it.

Jerry Hinnen: There's an easier fix for getting the UCLA-like riffraff out of the postseason than scuttling existing bowls: re-institute the discarded NCAA mandate that bowls must take teams with winning records ahead of teams with .500 (or sub-.500, in the Bruins' case) marks. "Too many bowls" is going to be a hard sell for the folks at places like Temple -- who unfairly sat at home after going 8-4 in Al Golden's final season last year -- or Western Kentucky, who should have gotten their first-ever FBS bowl bid after 2011's second-place Sun Belt finish and 7-5 record.

Cases like Temple's and WKU's are why, personally speaking, I'm fine-n'-dandy with the Participation Trophy Bowl circuit; not every game is going to be riveting theater (and matchups like UCLA-Illinois or Louisville-N.C. State promise to be quite the opposite), but it's not like anyone's required to watch. Should the seniors on that UL-Lafayette team we saw celebrating like they'd collectively won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes Saturday night have been denied that once-in-not-even-most-people's-lifetimes experience just because a few college football diehards don't want to risk being bored?

Is the long-since-antiquated notion that bowl berths are for no one but mid-major champions and the top handful of major-conference programs worth brilliant Hilltoppers' running back Bobby Rainey ending his career without a bowl appearance? Not if you ask me--if the players want to play them, the the local organizers want to host them, it's not my place (or any fan's) to say they shouldn't. The number of bowls is fine; the way the teams are selected could just use a little pro-winning-record tweaking. Besides, give it another month and there won't be any college football at all. I'll take whatever I can get at this stage, Belk Bowl included.

(That said, it would be outstanding if the NCAA also prohibited the exorbitant ticket guarantees that have turned bowl trips into a financial sinkhole for so many smaller schools, but that's a separate issue from the scheduling/eligibility question.)

Chip Patterson: I too would like to see limping 6-6 BCS conference team taken out of the bowl equation, particularly when there are dangerous Non-BCS teams that have been left out of postseason play in recent years. One way could be to change the requirements to 7-5, but this season I thought of another wrinkle.

Instead of changing the bowl eligibility record/win total, add a stipulation that requires a team to finish .500 or better in league play. Many times, the 6-6 team that fails to show up for a bowl game has struggled down the stretch and enters the postseason with little-to-no momentum. If schools are going to benefit from conference tie-ins, make them perform in conference play to earn that right. A 6-6 team with a 3-5 conference record likely is not playing their best football at the end of the season, and might be a part of one of the dud bowl games we have seen recently.

I would also prefer to move the "gutter" bowl games back before the BCS and traditional New Years Day games. That stretch of bowls leading up to the National Championship Game is one of the places where we find unattractive matchups and lose college football excitement after the blitz of New Years Day. If those games were moved back before the New Year and the title game was pushed back to Jan 4-5, it would arguably be a better spot for college football to capitalize on the nation's interest. Not only does the average fan have to wait, but they have to be teased with games that would be better consumed in pieces during a Dec. 28 doubleheader.

Adam Jacobi: It's important to keep in mind that most of these lowest-tier bowls are media-owned entities, which were created and staged every year because from a media perspective, live televised FBS college football is more lucrative than anything else that could be aired in the middle of a December week. As such, if you want to get rid of these bowls, you had better come up with something that produces higher ratings for that network instead, otherwise, no amount of hand-wringing about the quality of the teams playing in bowls is going to result in any meaningful change. This is not a scandal or anything that should not be, mind you, because it does not negatively affect fairness of play or anything else of vital importance. It's merely the entity that stands to gain most from lowest-tier bowls being played, making sure that the lowest-tier bowls get played by owning and organizing them. That's just good business.

Moreover, if by some chance these lowest-tier bowls happen to disappear, as much as we're tired of seeing a 6-6 (3-5) BCS-conference team get into the postseason, let's not pretend that that team's going to be the first against the wall. It's going to be the also-rans of the MAC, WAC, C-USA, and every other non-AQ conference, because 90% of the time, those non-AQ schools draw lower ratings than their BCS-level counterparts. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl between UCLA and Illinois is going to suck, but if we're being honest about what bowl organizers really want out of a team that they invite, UCLA and Illinois are going to keep getting bowl invitations over even 8-win teams like Tulsa, Toledo, or Louisiana Tech.

So if you're asking me what I would change about the bowl system, I wouldn't possibly know where or how to begin. The bowl system is a product of media desires and inequality in FBS football, so if you want the bowl system to be any different, you'd better figure out a way to fix either the media landscape or the college football landscape first, and well... good luck with that.

Tom Fornelli: What if we replace the mid-week December games with gladiator like competitions? In which players from each school battle each other to the death. The loser, obviously, dies and frees up a scholarship for the school. The winner gets extra credit in any class of his choosing!

WHO WOULDN'T WATCH?

Adam Jacobi: Well, that would certainly be heartbreaking for everyone involved.

I wouldn't mind it if the sponsors (or bowl organizers or the stadium) had a little bit of leeway in ground rules for these games. These are silly games anyway (unless I'm supposed to take something called the Beef O'Brady's Bowl completely seriously all of a sudden), so why shouldn't the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl be played with literally a giant potato for a football? Field goals in the Holiday Bowl worth 4 points if they're from more than 45 yards out? Fine by me! Special uniforms in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl designed to look like boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese? OF COURSE we should be doing that.

So yeah, as long as we're going to have ultimately trivial exhibitions end the seasons of so many teams, we might as well make said trivial exhibitions unique in ways that go beyond mere branding.

Tom Fornelli: These ideas have my full support.  Can you imagine how much better the Orange Bowl would be if they were using an orange instead of a football?

Chip Patterson: Did they change tires on car at half time of the Meineke Car Care Bowl? If not they should.  Same goes for the Belk Bowl. I think instead of a coin toss there should be a Dockers shopping spree to determine who gets the ball first.

Adam Jacobi: And if Hooters got involved, there would be... lots of wings available for attending fans to eat. And that is all.

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