When Packey posted the Bowl schedule yesterday it got me thinking how lame this year’s slate of New Year’s bowl games was.  Now, there are still 6 bowl games on New Year’s Day, but take a look at the games and you’ll see that there’s not much worth waking up for from your New Year’s Eve night out.  There’s a bowl game being played in the Cotton Bowl that’s not the Cotton Bowl.  Yes!  It’s the soon to be legendary TicketCity Bowl between unranked Northwestern (7-5, T7 Big 10) and unranked Texas Tech (7-5, 5th in the Big XII South).  Yuck.  Is Pam Ward going to be announcing that game too???  Look at some of the other “prestigious” matchups on the one day of the year that is supposed to spotlight college football:

-Outback: unranked Penn St (7-5, 4-4 Big 10) vs unranked Florida (7-5, 4-4 SEC) 
-Capitol One: #7 Michigan State (11-1, T1 Big 10) vs #15 Alabama (9-3, 4th SEC West)
-Gator: unranked Michigan (7-5, T7 Big 10) vs #21 Mississippi State (8-4, 5th SEC West)
-Rose: #3 TCU (12-0, MWC Champs) vs #4 Wisconsin (11-1, Big 10 Champs) 
-Fiesta: #9 Oklahoma (11-2, Big XII Champs) vs #25 UConn (8-4, Big East Champs) 

There are two games worth watching here – certainly the Rose Bowl, and possibly the Capitol One Bowl… if Alabama of the 1st half of the Iron Bowl shows up and not the 2nd half.  6 bowl games and only 2 that feature a matchup of Top 20 teams.  5 unranked teams are playing on New Year’s Day and 7 teams with at least 4 losses.  Yipes.  It got me thinking… was New Year’s Day always this crummy for college football?  Back in my day, (wait, this is still my day) New Year’s Day bowl games used to mean something.  It used to be the matchups that nobody wanted to miss.  It used to be one of the top 3 sports on TV days of the year.  Out of curiosity, I checked out the New Year’s Day schedule 20 years ago in 1991 to see if there was a difference:

-Hall of Fame: #14 Clemson (9-2) vs #16 Illinois (8-3)
-Orange: #5 Notre Dame (9-2) vs #1 Colorado (10-1-1)
-Citrus: #2 Georgia Tech (10-0-1) vs #19 Nebraska (9-2)
-Fiesta: #18 Louisville (9-1-1) vs #25 Alabama (7-4)
-Cotton: #3 Texas (10-1) vs #4 Miami (9-2)
-Gator: #12 Michigan (8-3) vs #15 Mississippi (9-2)
-Rose: #17 Iowa (8-3) vs #8 Washington (9-2)
-Sugar: #10 Tennessee (8-2-2) vs Virginia (8-3)

8 bowl games featuring only 1 unranked team and only 1 team that had 4 losses with 6 matchups between Top 20 teams!  Not only that, but look at all the great cross-conference matchups.  This year… there is no shortage of 3 Big 10 vs SEC matchups and 5 Big 10 teams playing on New Year’s Day.  Living in Big 10 country, this isn’t such a bad thing… but I’m not sure the rest of the country is as excited.  It’s just more evidence that Jim Delany is slowly taking over the world.  Even less than a decade ago, the New Year’s Day Bowl situation wasn’t this dire.  In 2005, there were 6 games featuring 0 unranked teams and only one 4 loss team.  But, the last few years have been ugly:

2008: 6 Games, 2 unranked teams, 4 four loss teams
2009: 5 Games, 4 unranked teams, 6 four loss teams
2010: 5 Games, 3 unranked teams, 5 four loss teams
2011: 6 Games, 5 unranked teams, 7 four loss teams 

Of course, there are reasons for this.  First, the BCS takes 2 of the Top 5 bowl games off of New Year’s Day to extend bowl season beyond the length of the NBA Playoffs.  This robs New Year’s Day of the Sugar and Orange Bowl this year, which are two good matchups.  Of course, the BCS title game takes the Top 2 teams off of New Year’s Day as well.  Don’t worry though, if you’re concerned about the TicketCity Bowl becoming the laughing stock of January 1, Conference USA shows up next year to take on the 6th Big 10 team!  What better way to bring in the New Year than Purdue vs UCF in 2012!  Isn’t that the surest sign of the 2012 apocalypse yet?  The Big 10 and Jim Delany taking over New Year’s Day also hurts the holiday.  I think he’s going to pull a coup d’etat on Dick Clark in 2011 too.  Just this year there are 3 Big 10 teams that couldn’t even get above .500 in the conference playing on Jan 1.  


Hopefully this convinces one more person out there that the BCS and the entire system needs to be changed, because it’s negatively affecting our TV sports experience.  At this point, I would much rather go back in time to the old system of 1991 where there were bowl games that actually mattered instead of this slop that we’ll have to witness in 2011.  This year, the greatest accomplishment of the BCS is screwing TCU and making millions of college football fans watch hockey on New Year’s Day.


About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.