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After watching the BCS and Bowl Selections, I came to the conclusion that the Capital One Bowl is the big winner in all of these bowls.
I found it interesting that the Orange Bowl elected to pick Iowa. Most believe that if The Fiesta Bowl passes on a Big Ten team with its pick, which they did, (and they leaned toward Iowa over Penn State in terms of Big Ten) the Orange Bowl would most certainly take a Big Ten team, which would probably be Penn State given the good relationship between the bowl and school.
I believe that the BCS wants to avoid any additional back lash and the Orange Bowl went safe and took Iowa since they were indeed more deserving given the head to head match-up. However, the bowl probably would fare better with a bigger name like Penn State given the name recognition, more well known players, and a coach like Joe Paterno.
Given that the Fiesta bowl elected to match up TCU and Boise State, which is in itself controversial, having Penn State go over Iowa would just add fuel to the fire.
In turn, the big winner here is The Capital One Bowl which now probably has the 3rd most nationally appealing game (and maybe even 2nd in terms of matching up 2 programs with so much national appeal).
Given that BCS games naturally have more appeal just because they are deemed the elite bowls, they will do very well regardless of the match ups. When ranking the bowls, you would have to put the National Title (with two national programs) as the most appealing game obviously given that it's THE championship game and has two very appealing programs. Second would probably have to be the Rose Bowl because as they say, it is the Gran-Daddy of the them all, and has a nationally appealing program in Ohio State. However Oregon does not have quite the pull and appeal as a school like Penn State or LSU. A team like USC would have been much better for the Rose Bowl.
With that said, because it is the Rose Bowl, it would still have to rank second in terms of most anticipated bowl game. However, I would argue that Penn State and LSU both have more appeal than Oregon thus making the Capital One Bowl game, in some ways have more national appeal than any other bowl game outside of the National Title.
Looking at some of the other teams in the BCS bowls, Cincinnati has no national appeal outside of Notre Dame fans hoping that they are watching their next coach, Georgia Tech has no national appeal, although they do run a very fun and effective triple option.
TCU and Boise State don't have national appeal but create an interesting match-up for College Football fans thus creating somewhat of a national appeal. The BCS controversy of having two non power conference teams matched up, and being the first bowl game, not named the national championship to have two undefeated teams creates some interest. However, it may be tough attracting the casual fans which such unknown programs that lack the history that is needed to have a national appeal, and that's what BCS games are all about, aka: show me the money.
With all that information, I would argue that Penn State vs. LSU is the 2nd most nationally anticipated game based on the amount of fans these programs have. In addition, if the Capital One Bowl could air later in the day, say 4pm or 7pm on January 1st, rather than 1pm as it is always scheduled, this game would be the second highest rated bowl game on the slate. It is hard to have casual fans tune on at 1pm in New Year's Day given that most are just waking up.
Give me your thoughts on my claim to the ranks of most appealing games on the side bar!