Monday, December 7, 2009

Bowl slotting aftermath thoughts

By Rick Morris

Everything was put in place for college football's postseason last night (well, almost everything, more on that in a moment). Here's how it all shook out:

Note: All times are EDT.

BCS Games
Jan. 7 BCS Title Pasadena, Calif. ABC 8 p.m. Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0)
Jan. 5 Orange Miami FOX 8 p.m. Georgia Tech (11-2) vs. Iowa (10-2)
Jan. 4 Fiesta Glendale, Ariz. FOX 8 p.m. TCU (12-0) vs. Boise State (13-0)
Jan. 1 Sugar New Orleans, La. FOX 8:30 p.m. Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1)
Jan. 1 Rose Pasadena, Calif. ABC 5 p.m. Oregon (10-2) vs. Ohio State (10-2)

Non-BCS Games
Jan. 6 GMAC Mobile, Ala. ESPN 7 p.m. Central Michigan (11-2) vs. Troy (9-3)
Jan. 2 Alamo San Antonio ESPN 9 p.m. Texas Tech (8-4) vs. Michigan State (6-6)
Jan. 2 Liberty Memphis, Tenn. ESPN 5:30 p.m. East Carolina (9-4) vs. Arkansas (7-5)
Jan. 2 Cotton Dallas FOX 2 p.m. Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Mississippi (8-4)
Jan. 2 Birmingham, Ala. ESPN 2 p.m. Connecticut (7-5) vs. South Carolina (7-5)
Jan. 2 International Toronto ESPN2 Noon South Florida (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (7-5)
Jan. 1 Gator Jacksonville, Fla. CBS 1 p.m. West Virginia (9-3) vs. Florida State (6-6)
Jan. 1 Capital One Orlando, Fla. ABC 1 p.m. Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3)
Jan. 1 Outback Tampa, Fla. ESPN 11 a.m. Northwestern (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5)
Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Atlanta ESPN 7:30 p.m. Virginia Tech (9-3) vs. Tennessee (7-5)
Dec. 31 Insight Tempe, Ariz. NFL Net. 6 p.m. Minnesota (6-6) vs. Iowa State (6-6)
Dec. 31 Texas Houston ESPN 3:30 p.m. Missouri (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4)
Dec. 31 Sun El Paso, Tex. CBS 2 p.m. Stanford (8-4) vs. Oklahoma (7-5)
Dec. 31 Armed Forces Fort Worth, Tex. ESPN Noon Air Force (7-5) vs. Houston (10-3)
Dec. 30 Holiday San Diego, Calif. ESPN 8 p.m. Nebraska (9-4) vs. Arizona (8-4)
Dec. 30 Humanitarian Boise, Idaho ESPN 4:30 p.m. Idaho (7-5) vs. Bowling Green (7-5)
Dec. 29 Champs Sports Orlando, Fla. ESPN 8 p.m. Miami (Fla.) (9-3) vs. Wisconsin (9-3)
Dec. 29 EagleBank Washington D.C. ESPN 4:30 p.m. Army or UCLA vs. Temple (9-3) [If Army beats Navy on Dec. 12, it will play in the EagleBank Bowl. If Navy wins, UCLA will accept the bid.]
Dec. 28 Independence Shreveport, La. ESPN2 5 p.m. Texas A&M (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5)
Dec. 27 Music City Nashville, Tenn. ESPN 8:30 p.m. Kentucky (7-5) vs. Clemson (8-5)
Dec. 26 Emerald San Francisco ESPN 8 p.m. Boston College (8-4) vs. Southern California (8-4)
Dec. 26 Meineke Car Care Charlotte, N.C. ESPN 4:30 p.m. North Carolina (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (9-3)
Dec. 26 Little Caesars Detroit, Mich. ESPN 1 p.m. Ohio (9-4) vs. Marshall (6-6)
Dec. 24 Hawaii Honolulu ESPN 8 p.m. Nevada (8-4) vs. SMU (7-5)
Dec. 23 Poinsettia San Diego, Calif. ESPN 8 p.m. Utah (9-3) vs. California (8-4)
Dec. 22 Maaco Las Vegas, Nev. ESPN 8 p.m. Oregon State (8-4) vs. BYU (10-2)
Dec. 20 New Orleans New Orleans ESPN 8:30 p.m. Middle Tennessee State (9-3) vs. Southern Miss (7-5)
Dec. 19 St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, Fla. ESPN 8 p.m. Rutgers (8-4) vs. UCF (8-4)
Dec. 19 New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. ESPN 4:30 p.m. Wyoming (6-6) vs. Fresno State (8-4)


^ No New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl this year? No Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl? We saw a little creativity for once.

^ Selfishly, I wish that my alma mater of Ohio might have received a more glamorous matchup than former conference foe Marshall, but at least it is a very winnable game for the Bobcats. The team should at least be mostly healthy, which they were not against a very lucky Central Michigan squad.

^ USC ends up playing in Frisco the day after Christmas? How the mighty have fallen!

^ With this weird deal of Army and Navy not playing until December 12 (!), we don't actually know if Army will qualify for their bowl game or if UCLA will take their place. Now there is a "vast" gap of five days between the last regular-season game and the first bowl game and the bowls now resemble the 65-team NCAA hoops bracket with a play-in game. Madness.

^ I always love the Humanitarian Bowl; nothing like watching two teams freeze their arses off on the frozen smurf turf of Boise. This year, Idaho invades the house of their archrival to face Bowling Green. In terms of traveling strong to bowl games, I guess we're going to find out just how much Falcon fans want to see their team play, huh?

^ The Holliday Bowl is always compelling and this year will be strong as well with two ascendant programs in Nebraska and Arizona. Also, the A-T-L always gets a great matchup on New Year's Eve and the Virginia Tech/Tennessee tilt will be very interesting.

^ The first sporting event of the new decade pits Northwestern against Auburn in a must-win game for the Tigers. The mega-success of 'Bama puts the coaching regime at Auburn on a short leash; a team incapable of beating the Wildcats will face a brutal offseason of scrutiny back home. The SEC's "other Tigers," LSU, will also face a game they dare not lose against Penn State in Orlando. Les Miles' act is wearing thin in Cajun Country and dropping one to JoePa won't cool off the hot seat.

^ The "Bowden Bowl" ends one of the game's greatest coaching careers in Jacksonville on New Year's Day as Bobby's past and present teams collide.

^ Can Ohio State finally contend with the speed of a team like Oregon? We're about to find out.

^ Tim Tebow ends his college career against a Cincy team that will win if Florida comes in with the "SEC Championship Game hangover" that Alabama had a year ago.

^ The first Cotton Bowl in "Jerry's Palace" will be a worthy affair with two disappointing but still very potent teams in Oklahoma State and Old Miss.

^ I am in the minority in terms of the "Mid-Major Super Bowl" in Glendale; I love it! Sure, TCU and Boise State could make huge statements if they were able to bump off major conference teams, but seeing them play each other will make for a great game and I'm happy that the winner will be able to campaign afterwards for a split national title (won't happen, but the controversy is nice and maybe it makes the case for my beloved "Plus One" a bit more).

^ Bo Pelini has every right to cry conspiracy about the circumstances that put Texas in the national championship game. The call may have been right, but follow the money, as the old saying goes. The BCS would have been screwed, blued and tatooed had the Longhorns choked in the Big Twelve Championship (TCU would have gotten the nod, with Boise State, 'Nati and half the country screaming their heads off). On paper, Texas took care of business during the season and did what they had to do to advance to Pasadena -- and they overcame even bigger odds to win the national championship in their last trip to the Land of Roses -- but they looked so much less impressive than Alabama, who steamrolled #1 Florida. Given Mack Brown's record (uneven at best, formerly a complete disaster) in big games, Nick Saban has to be counted as the favorite to have his smug grill accepting his first undisputed national championship when the dust clears.

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