Too Many College Football Bowl Games…or is 40 the New 30?

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A focus group hired to review Rankman’s annual worst-to-best bowl picks concluded that this year’s guesses may be even better than last year’s guesses. Anyone using this list for wagering purposes has a serious problem and is probably never going get elected to the baseball Hall of Fame. The usual disclaimers apply: never use these rankings while operating heavy machinery. Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult under 85. The use of these rankings and its contents, without the expressed, written consent of the author is strictly forbidden unless you really want to use them.

40: Cure, San Jose State (5-7) vs. Georgia State (6-6), Dec. 19, CBSSN
Forget the cure…we want to know the cause.
Winner: Georgia State

39: Arizona, Nevada (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-5), Dec. 29, Amer. Sports Network
The Mountain West got its ridges in a bunch after two of its teams were forced to play again even though no one remembers the first game. The SEC would have adamantly opposed the rematch in 2006, but approved of it in 2011.
Winner: Colorado State

38: Motel 6 Cactus, West Virginia (7-5) vs. Arizona State (6-6), Jan. 2, ESPN
Arizona State was a top 15 preseason team many thought would end up in the Ritz Carlton Bowl. Instead, it joins a chain where every room has free HBO.
Winner: Arizona State

37: Quick Lane, Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Minnesota (5-7), Dec. 28, ESPN2
This college hockey round-up pairing conjures a lyric from that old Eagles song, “Life in the quick lane, surely make you lose your mind.”
Winner: Minnesota

36: Famous Idaho PotatoAkron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6), Dec. 22, ESPN
Terry Bowden has done a zip-bang job leading Akron to only its second bowl. It also doesn’t hurt for promotional purposes that he, sort of, resembles an Idaho potato.
Winner: Akron

35: Independence, Tulsa (6-6) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6), Dec. 26, ESPN
Celebrate Frank Beamer’s last game as Hokies coach in Shreveport at Strawn’s Eat Shop, or maybe Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun Meats.
Winner: Virginia Tech

34: New Mexico, Arizona (6-6) vs. New Mexico (7-5), Dec. 19, ESPN
Rich Rodriguez thought he’d be in South Carolina so won’t have any new plays prepared for game this against a really good former ESPN analyst named Bob Davie.
Winner: New Mexico    

33: Bahamas, Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5), Dec. 24, ESPN
Player gift bag includes seven days, without food or fresh water, on deserted island with your pick of “Survivorman” Les Stroud or Bear Grylls.
Winner: Western Michigan

32: Heart of Dallas, Washington (6-6) vs. Southern Mississippi (9-4), Dec. 26, ESPN
This bowl game wasn’t randomly picked out of cowboy boot at the end of a long, boozy night of karaoke—but it could have been.
Winner: Washington

31: Liberty, Kansas State (6-6) vs. Arkansas (7-5), Jan. 2, ESPN
Bill Snyder’s team needed a miracle finish against Iowa State to get to this bowl against an Arkansas team that lost to “Holy Toledo!”
Winner: Arkansas

30: Poinsettia, Northern Illinois (8-5) vs. Boise State (8-4), Dec. 23, ESPN
Boise demanded a faraway bowl game on green grass after losing two straight on the blue turf against New Mexico and Air Force.
Winner: Boise State

29: Camellia, Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (10-2), Dec. 19, ESPN
Ken Burns returns to this lesser-known Civil War battle site to interview relatives of Shelby Foote for inclusion in the 25th anniversary box-set collection.
Winner: Appalachian State

28: Belk, N.C. State (7-5) vs. Mississippi State (8-4), Dec. 30, ESPN
A game with limited interest that makes you think the end of the year can’t get here soon enough.
Winner: Mississippi State

27: New Orleans, Louisiana Tech (8-4) vs. Arkansas State (9-3), Dec. 19, ESPN
How about that: the crummy Sun Belt team USC got criticized for scheduling, Arkansas State, ended up in a bowl city with better music and food.
Winner: Arkansas State

26: Miami Beach, South Florida (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (11-2), Dec. 21, ESPN
This bowl in South Florida, featuring South Florida, which is actually located in Central Florida, is best paired with the films “North by Northwest” and “Krakatoa, East of Java.” Note: Krakatoa is actually WEST of Java.
Winner: Western Kentucky

25: Pinstripe, Duke (7-5) vs. Indiana (6-6), Dec. 26, ABC
This “Holiday Classic” at Madison Square Garden features programs with 10 combined NCAA hoops titles. Joe Lunardi’s latest “bracketology” report has Indiana as a 9 seed in the South Region opening against Georgetown in Des Moines.
Winner: Duke

24: TaxSlayer, Penn State (7-5) vs. Georgia (9-3), Jan.2, ESPN
You have permission to skip and watch a replay of the 1983 Sugar Bowl in which Penn State defeated Georgia to win the national title. Georgia would not win another SEC title until 2002, under Mark Richt, who was just fired.
Winner: Penn State

23: GoDaddy, Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Georgia Southern (8-4), Dec. 23, ESPN
Bowling Green coach Dino Babers is off to Syracuse where he joins Power Five ACC coaches Dabo and Jimbo.
Winner: Georgia Southern

22: Hawaii, Cincinnati (7-5) vs. San Diego State (10-3), Dec. 24, ESPN
San Diego State, while no one was looking, won the Mountain West and all the spoils that got dragged along with it.
Winner: San Diego State

21: St. Petersburg, Connecticut (6-6), vs. Marshall (9-3), Dec. 26, ESPN
In another time this game should have been played in the other St. Petersburg, preferably behind an Iron Curtain.
Winner: Marshall

20: Sun, Miami (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4), Dec. 26, CBS
Averaging 69 mph in a car, it takes 44 hours and 20 minutes to drive from Pullman to Miami. No one has ever made the return trip.
Winner: Miami

19: Music City, Louisville (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (8-4), Dec. 30, ESPN
Louisville lost its first three and then won seven of its next nine. Texas A&M won its first five before fading. Rankman thinks that means Louisville will lose the first quarter but win the last three.
Winner: Louisville

18: Foster Farms, Nebraska (5-7) vs. UCLA (8-4), Dec. 26, ESPN
A winning record would have earned Nebraska a team hotel with access to the concierge level. All-you-can-eat “meatloaf special” on tap for Christmas dinner at “Tommy’s Joynt” on the corner of Van Ness and Geary.
Winner: UCLA

17: Birmingham, Auburn (6-6) vs. Memphis (9-3), Dec. 30, ESPN
Auburn should have played Arizona State, or Georgia Tech, in the “Biggest 2015 Disappointment Bowl.” Wagering gauge: Auburn lost to Mississippi, which lost to Memphis.
Winner: Memphis

16: Military, Navy (10-2) vs. Pittsburgh (8-4), Dec. 28, ESPN
Navy has a helicopter standing by in case quarterback Keenan Reynolds gets invited to the post-game MVP ceremonies.
Winner: Navy

15: Armed Forces, California (7-5) vs. Air Force (8-5), Dec. 29, ESPN
Part of package in coaxing Sonny Dykes to stay at Cal included getting a Berkeley protester removed from his front lawn.
Winner: Cal

14: Russell Athletic, North Carolina (11-2) vs. Baylor (9-3), Dec. 29, ESPN
Replays still show North Carolina was “on-sides” against Clemson in the ACC title game. Injury-depleted Baylor expects to start a former left tackle at quarterback.
Winner: North Carolina

13: Texas, Texas Tech (7-5) vs. LSU (8-3), Dec. 29, ESPN
LSU will monitor Leonard Fournette’s electrolytes in a game in which he could run for 600 yards in retaliation for Heisman snub.
Winner: LSU

12: Citrus, Michigan (9-3) vs. Florida (10-3), Jan.1, ABC
One can only hope Florida’s vitamin-deficient offense is loading up on the citrus provided by this bowl, otherwise we’re looking at a 5-2 final.
Winner: Michigan

11: Boca RatonTemple (10-3) vs. Toledo (9-2), Dec. 22, ESPN
These capital “T” schools deserve a warm-weather bowl reward after outstanding seasons in which Temple defeated Penn State and Toledo hog-tied Arkansas.
Winner: Temple

10: Holiday, Wisconsin (9-3) vs. USC (8-5), Dec. 30, ESPN
If your grandpa went to USC ask him about the 1963 Rose Bowl and then go to a movie. When you come back he’ll still be talking about quarterback Ron VanderKelen nearly leading the Badgers back from 42-14 deficit.
Winner: USC

9: Peach, Florida State (10-2) vs. Houston (12-1), Dec. 31, ESPN
A Houston Chronicle sports columnist has turned this high-flying circus into his own line of jellies and preserves: “Phi Slamma Peach Jamma.”
Winner: Florida State

8: Las Vegas, BYU (9-3) vs. Utah (9-3), Dec. 19, ABC
Taking the “The Holy War” to the Las Vegas strip is like moving a Tupperware party to Sodom and Gomorrah. After Utah defeated BYU in 2004 a Utes’ fan held up a sign at Rice-Eccles Stadium that read: “Where’s your God now?”
Winner: Utah

7: Outback, Northwestern (10-2) vs. Tennessee (8-4), Jan. 1, ESPN
Northwestern has never won 11 games unless you count two or three seasons the school did it in basketball.
Winner: Northwestern

6: Sugar, Mississippi (9-3) vs. Oklahoma State (10-2), Jan.1, ESPN
The last time Ole Miss sweet-talked its way into the Sugar it had a Manning at quarterback. Eli? No, Archie.
Winner: Mississippi

5: Rose, Stanford (11-2) vs. Iowa (12-1), Jan. 1, ESPN
Rankman is reminded of L.A. Times columnist Jim Murray’s post-game recap after Iowa lost to UCLA in 1986. “These people are the salt of the earth. They feed the world. They just can’t play football…” Iowa’s governor shot back that Iowans were tough and “we’re coming back.”
Winner: Stanford

4: Fiesta, Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-1), Jan. 1, ESPN
Urban Meyer speaks about Notre Dame like an old girlfriend who got away, even though he had a chance to become coach in 2004 but chose Florida instead.
Winner: Notre Dame

3: Cotton, Alabama (12-1) vs. Michigan State (12-1), Dec. 31, ESPN
Michigan State will hold Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry to 154 yards on 153 carries in a grind-it-out game so dry it will leave everyone with cotton mouth.
Winner: Michigan State

2: Orange, Clemson (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (11-1), Dec. 31, ESPN
Clemson smoked Oklahoma. 40-6, in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl. If that happens again, Bob Stoops may be working next year’s Orange Bowl as an in-studio analyst.
Winner: Oklahoma

1: Alamo, Texas Christian (10-2) vs. Oregon (9-3), Jan. 2, ESPN
Remember this Alamo. It could have been a national title match up had these teams not suffered season-altering injuries. Trevone Boykin vs. Vernon Adams is the best QB bowl match-up this side of Deshaun Watson vs. Baker Mayfield.
Winner: Oregon

Championship game, University of Phoenix Stadium, Jan. 11, ESPN: Oklahoma vs. Michigan State
Oklahoma reminds Rankman of last year’s Ohio State team, which lost early but rallied late to dominate the playoffs and win the national title.
Winner: Oklahoma


13 thoughts on “Too Many College Football Bowl Games…or is 40 the New 30?

  1. Loved the Jim Murray (Iowa) quote. Also very much enjoyed your career at the paper. In my 70 years of life, you were one of my favorite sports scribes.. Thanks for that Rankman.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, on your Heart of Dallas Bowl pick, are you hinting that game organizers used little or no imagination in pitting these two mismatched teams and that Washington will win easily?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To get things started very soon, Chris, Im picking BYU over Utah in an upset. What befell Utah on its way to the promised land? Who’s God is in disfavor now? Like a true separatist, Brigham Young is independent. Don’t bother looking in the Mountain WEst. Young’s put up 103 points last two games; Utah just 29. BYU 24-17 Deseret.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rankman’s Bowl Picks ride again! Nice!
    To get things started here, Im picking BYU over Utah in an upset. What the hell happened to Utah’s desert dream season? Who’s God is in (dis)favor now? Brigham Young is truly independent. Don’t look for [him] in the Mountain West now. Young put up 103 pts in last two to close season, Utah just 29. Young 24-17 Deseret


  5. Alabama beat Michigan State, 49-7, in the Capital One Bowl in January 2011. However, the D is healed, R.J. Williamson is back. I don’t think Connor Cook has been right the entire season but he looked better against Iowa. I think we can beat ’em.
    MSU ’72 (post Bubba).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dufresne, Look at you picking the Spartans over Bama! Too bad you didn’t pick them to win the whole shooting match….I thought I brainwashed you better than that! GO GREEN!

    —J. Schechter

    Liked by 1 person

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