2013 Bowl Season off to Fast Start; Don't Tell Players There Are Too Many Bowls

Andrew CoppensContributor IDecember 22, 2013

Dec 21, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tulane Green Wave running back Orleans Darkwa (26) scores a touchdown on a 7-yard run past Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns safety Trevence Patt (4), linebacker Trae Johnson (38) and safety T.J. Worthy (27) during the second quarter of the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Every year the complaints are the same—"there are too many bowl games" and "who cares about (insert corporate sponsor you've never heard of) bowl game?"

Saturday's bowl games left us with just one question, and it was none of those mentioned above, rather it was this: "Are you not entertained?"

You can thank players who took these "meaningless" games and made them meaningful to themselves for said entertainment. 

Whether it was San Diego State's Adam Muemba going for 229 yards and three touchdowns or Louisiana's Terrance Broadway coming back from a broken arm to lead his team to victory—the players put on an amazing show for college football on Saturday. 

People will be talking about what went down in Colorado State's 48-45 win over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl at the water coolers come Monday (yes some of us still are working on Monday). 

Washington State was tasked with protecting a 45-37 lead with 2:52 remaining in the game. From there, all sorts of craziness ensued. 

Colorado State forced a fumble in under a minute, scored a touchdown with 27 seconds remaining and then went all Boise State on the Cougars for the two-point conversion. 

With the score now 45-45, the Rams kicked off—hoping to play for overtime, but were gifted with a fumble on the Washington State return. 

It led to a game winning 41-yard field goal as time expired. 

The Rams were down 45-30 with less than five minutes to go in the contest. Had they not cared about this "meaningless" game, what was the point of doing anything but allowing the Cougars to just run out the clock like they wanted to. 

Nearly 60,000 fans that were packed into the Superdome were treated to crazy matchup between two teams no one should've cared about nationally in Tulane and Louisiana. 

Yet, those two sets of players put it all out there in a 24-21 game that went the way of the Ragin' Cajuns.

This game had crazy written on it from the very start, as Louisiana took a quick 21-0 lead thanks to two offensive touchdowns and a pick-six off of Tulane starter Nick Montana. 

It would be the last play Montana saw. Game over, right?

Instead, the aptly named Orleans Darkwa rattled off three touchdowns of his own and tied the ball game up at 21-21 with 2:34 left in the third quarter. 

Tulane wasn't done entertaining though; down 24-21 and facing a do-or-die 3rd-and-10 inside its own 5-yard line, this happened: 

SB Nation

Try describing that one to your best friend who missed this "meaningless" bowl game. If so, here's perhaps the best way to do so: 

It only got stranger from there as Tulane continued to march down the field, only to take a terrible sack with 12 seconds remaining in the game.

Tulane burned a time out and faced a 41-yard field goal. Of course, on a day of wild and crazy things happening it wouldn't be complete without a field goal that missed by about six inches wide left. 

Game over, Tulane losers of a "meaningless" game it had just fought like cats and dogs to win and Louisiana celebrating a "meaningless" bowl game victory like it had won a national title. 

Dec 21, 2013; Boise, ID, USA; San Diego State Aztecs running back Adam Muema (4) runs as Buffalo Bulls defensive back Cortney Lester (4) tries to make the tackle during the second half of the Idaho Potato Bowl at Bronco Stadium. San Diego defeated Buffalo
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

That's not to say there wasn't a dud or two in the group on Saturday—like USC cruising, 45-20, over Fresno State or San Diego State putting it on Buffalo, 49-24. 

It doesn't diminish the glory of the day one bit, though. In fact for SDSU it enhances the point—the Aztecs wanted that Idaho Potato Bowl badly and they went out and took it in emphatic fashion. 

Yes, those words were just typed—San Diego State wanted the Idaho Potato Bowl badly—badly enough that this game became very chippy from the word go to the final whistle, with 21 total penalties being handed out in the contest. 

Could it be that these so-called "meaningless" games happen to mean everything to the guys tasked with our entertainment during bowl season?

While the fan may consider these games meaningless, the first day of bowl season in 2013 served as a good reminder that to those in uniform and on the sidelines—these games are anything but meaningless. 


*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.