Why This Year's BCS Bowl Season Is Shaping Up to Be Among Greatest Ever
While fanbases and pundits debate over who ends up in the top two spots should five teams end up undefeated, a more macro view of the situation reveals a very appetizing BCS picture. Un-cloud your mind. Stop spending so much energy on the "my team got screwed" debate. Look at the big picture that's fast approaching us this January: one of the best BCS seasons ever.
We'll assume chalk holds for the most part. Nebraska, Florida State, Louisville, Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon go ahead and win out. What we'll end up with is an undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide taking on Oregon in Miami for the crystal football.
Yeah, I get it, whine-whine-whine but what we'll get as a result of that should be epic in the grand scheme of things. Four other bowl games that are set up much in the way that the BCS was intended to work; big sells and top teams playing one another on big stages.
Kicking it off in the desert, the Fiesta Bowl would again be hosting undefeated teams for the second time in the BCS era. Only this time, instead of two non-BCS squads they'd get the right to have Kansas State take on Notre Dame. That's a game folks are turning on their televisions for and showing up at the stadium to watch. Two teams that are a combined 24-0 would most certainly sell.
In the tradition-rich Rose Bowl we'll could be staring at Nebraska taking on USC, UCLA, Oregon State or Stanford. USC speaks for itself in all of this. The Trojans return to a BCS bowl, while short of their goal, would be a welcomed move. For UCLA and Oregon State, two teams that aren't exactly used to going to the Rose Bowl, a date on the BCS stage would certainly drive ticket purchases.
However, the real sell would be the game itself. Nebraska, a great fanbase that travels, settling in to play against the second best Pac-12 team in Pasadena would be a big deal. The Cornhuskers back in a BCS bowl for the first time since 2001's beating by Miami. That sells, especially at the Rose Bowl, a game that is steeped in history, heritage and always has a strong following.
Which brings us to the Sugar Bowl, a game that would likely be partying with a two-loss SEC team as its host. Which two-loss SEC team? Does it really matter? Whether it is Georgia, Florida, LSU or South Carolina, they're going to show up in droves. For argument's sake let's assume Florida and South Carolina lose to their ACC rivals and what could see is a Georgia or LSU matchup with the Clemson Tigers.
Clemson and Georgia, an old rivalry that is already being revived in the regular season, would set up a preview for the series to come. Two fanbases that know each other well and that would push to be the "home team" in the Big Easy. Or, perhaps you prefer the Tiger on Tiger matchup. The battle of the "Death Valleys" as they'd likely call it. Watching Clemson's stellar offense against LSU's great defense.
Talk last year's Orange Bowl experience all you like, Clemson's offensive studs versus LSU's defensive stars is a heck of a sell to the Sugar Bowl.
And we wrap up with the game that Clemson played in a year ago, the Orange Bowl. This is the game that's been the most routinely complained about on the BCS docket. A game that's had attendance issues and ratings problems due to a myriad of issues. Everything from bad teams, poor matchups and blowout games have helped tarnish this BCS bowl.
This year, because the Orange has the last pick, it'd be staring at a likely undefeated Louisville team to go opposite the Florida State Seminoles, and that's not a bad thing. The Cardinals have two budding stars that are popping up on the national radar: their coach and their quarterback.
Charlie Strong is one of the hottest candidates in the nation, and as other teams are looking to fill their vacancy, watching Strong perform would be a nice treat. Teddy Bridgewater, a guy that some think should be in the Heisman discussion, is also slowly emerging as a household name.
Do you think this BCS season will be better than some games from the recent past?
Bridgewater and Strong would be a great addition, especially if Louisville is in the Top Seven or Eight in the nation. However, the big sell here would be Florida State's return to prominence. Not quite the return Seminoles fans wanted in the form of a BCS championship, but every little step counts.
Their first BCS bowl since the 2005 Orange Bowl would bring Seminoles fans out, especially for game that's in their own state. It's not a short drive, but it is one that folks would be willing to make to see their team actually play in a meaningful bowl game.
Sure, there will be complaining and whining about how team X, Y and Z got screwed but overall, as a whole, the BCS wins here. It is matching teams that are going to sell into the games. No 2010 UConn that no one really wanted to see play. No 2010 Stanford that was asked to go across country to beat up on Virginia Tech. No 2007 Hawaii who snuck into a game against an opponent it had no business being on the field with.
This January, we'll see big names, big brands. and that's big news, in a good way, for college football.
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