The college football bowls function as a reward for the players, schools, students, and fans. The bowl season is rich in history and provides an entertaining comparison of various conference performances..
Too often, the Bowls avoid placing teams in the appropriate situation to measure comparative strength and weakness of any one specific league.
Consider last season's Outback Bowl between the Gamecocks of South Carolina and the Iowa Hawkeyes. To look at the result, a 31-10 Hawkeye victory, one would be drawn to the conclusion the Big 10 is stronger than the SEC.
A deeper analysis reveals the SEC Gamecocks of 2008 to be a competitive bunch but, vastly outclassed by the powerful Iowans of the Big 10.
Iowa demonstrated this season they were a powerhouse in waiting by the time of the Outback encounter last January.
In the 2007 season, the Big East champion West Virginia Mountaineers were given little chance against the behemoth of the Big 12, Oklahoma, in the Fiesta Bowl.
The result? A stunning 48-28 victory for the Big East champion.
Going further back, to the 1983 season, SWC champion Texas was undefeated when they met SEC runner-up Georgia in the Cotton Bowl.
In "the year after Herschel," the Bulldogs were considered an overachieving lot who had won only five contests all season by double digits.
Seemingly over their heads against the No. 2 ranked Longhorns who had given up only 104 points in 11 regular season games, Georgia put together an epic fourth quarter to derail Texas, 10-9.
These postseason extravaganzas serve to provide talking points for the next season as well as the year in review.
Since this is an open and active contest, all readers are invited to list their projections. This will be considered a separate competition from the regular season series.
Be sure to have all predictions in by noon on Saturday, December 19th.
With that in mind, let us turn the page to the the Bowls of the 2009 season.
1. The New Mexico Bowl: Wyoming vs. Fresno State
The Cowboys will feel at home in the 5,280 feet above sea level altitude of Albuquerque. The Bulldogs bring the superior talent to the fray. Talent travels.
Baby's Loser, in a good one: Wyoming
2. The St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida vs. Rutgers
Golden Knights versus Scarlet Knights in a great location. Should provide lots of scoring, thrills, and fun all the way around for each fan base.
Baby's Loser: Rutgers
3. The New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee State vs. Southern Mississippi
Be sure to watch this one from start to finish, it could be one of the most exciting contests of the entire Bowl season. The Blue Raiders of Coach Rick Stockstill have won six in a row. Should be a good one.
Baby's Loser: Middle Tennessee State
4. The Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon State vs. Brigham Young
Former Alabama defensive star Mike Riley runs a tight ship with a tough crew in Corvallis. Riley played for Bear Bryant and knows how to bring a team along to develop during the season.
Brigham Young has a great offense but, Riley is double tough in Bowl games. The rugged Beaver defense (see pictured) should handle BYU.
Baby's Loser: Brigham Young
5. The Poinsettia Bowl: California vs. Utah
Cal has all of the talent necessary to win this bowl, but Utah has the all-around dedication on offense and defense to steal this game. In a slugfest, the Bears should escape in a tight, tense struggle.
Baby's Loser: Utah
6: The Aloha Bowl: Southern Methodist vs. Nevada
The bowl game always on in the background while families meet to open presents on Christmas Eve. A homecoming for Mustang Coach June Jones.
Baby's Loser: Southern Methodist University
7. The Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl: Ohio U. vs. Marshall
Dollars to doughnuts Bobcat Coach Frank Solich can bring home the Pizza.
Baby's Loser: Marshall
8. The Meineke Car Care Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. N.C.
The Muffler Bowl in Charlotte. An unattractive name combined with the least interesting location. Pittsburgh brings their solid defense to a lesser post-season award than the Panthers deserve.
Baby's Loser: N.C.
9. The Emerald Bowl: Southern California vs. Boston College
An old friend named Country Joe stopped by before the season began and advised us "to watch out for Boston College this year." The Eagles had a much better than expected finish in the ACC. Could be a barn-burner.
Baby's Loser: Boston College
10. The Music City Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky
When these two schools hit the field in Nashville it will be Katie bar the door. The Tigers' sensational C.J. Spiller (see pictured) will look to send Wildcat coach Rich Brooks on to retirement with a loss. Good bowl match-up.
Baby's Loser: Kentucky
11. The Independence Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Georgia
Now here is a bowl game with two teams that sound like they play each other all of the time. Actually, they've only met four times. A&M leads the series, 3-1.
One clash was in the discontinued Presidential Cup Bowl in College Park, Maryland. Another was a contest played in Dallas in 1953 and you might be surprised to find who was in attendance at that encounter.
Baby's Loser: Georgia
12. The Eagle Bank Bowl: UCLA vs. Temple
Good Grief! The nutty Bowl that held up everyone's chart of games until the Army fell to the mighty Midshipmen of Navy. That loss disqualified the Black Knights and put UCLA in Washington, D.C. for a battle with the Temple Owls.
Baby's Loser: UCLA
13. The Champs Sports Bowl: Miami vs. Wisconsin
Miami talks a big game but we'll have to see how they handle a big game player in John Clay, the outstanding Badger running back. The Hurricanes just aren't the Hurricanes anymore, no matter how badly fans wish for it.
Baby's Loser: Miami
14: The Humanitarian Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Idaho
What does this all mean? The Vandals lost the last three games of the season and the Falcons won their last four games, so why are they only a single point favorite on the big board. Ridiculous, Bowling Green has the best pass receiver in college football with Freddie Barnes.
Baby's Loser: Idaho
15: The Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. Arizona
The Wildcats boast one of the top defenses in the nation but the Cornhuskers have the best defensive player in America with Ndamukong Suh.
Baby's Loser, in a mild surprise: Arizona
The great Bowls, from the golden age of college football. To qualify for this category the event must have been in existence for the past 50 years.
Such examples are the Rose Bowl, the Sun Bowl (see pictured), and the Cotton Bowl. The members of this select fraternity are listed below, with the first year of that Bowl Game shown in parenthesis.
16. The Sun Bowl (1936): Stanford vs. Oklahoma
The Sooners have their work cut out for them attempting to slow down the top running back in America, Toby Gerhart. Stanford looks to be without the services of QB Andrew Luck, son of the great former West Virginia quarterback Oliver Luck.
Oklahoma will use their powerful defense to control the other Cardinal players and win a hard fought contest in this ancient desert scene of many great battles over the past 75 years..
Baby's Loser: Stanford
17. The Sugar Bowl (1934): Florida vs. Cincinnati
The Gators have to get the bad taste out of their mouth from their SEC Title game loss. The Bearcats have to unleash the fury of losing their head coach to Notre Dame. Look for Florida to send Tim Tebow out as a winner.
Baby's Loser: Cincinnati
18: The Rose Bowl (1902): Ohio State vs. Oregon
The Buckeyes have the great defense to keep the Ducks from building up offensive steam and are anxious to reverse Ohio State's poor bowl performances under Jim Tressel. Not in this place, and not against this fearsome opponent.
Baby's Loser: Ohio State
19: The Capital One Bowl ("Tangerine" 1947): LSU vs. Penn State
Les Miles is a great bowl game coach but in Joe Paterno he is facing the greatest coach of all-time. The Nittany Lions have an astonishing amount of weak line play on both sides of the ball and that spells trouble in Orlando.
Baby's Loser, in a mild upset: Penn State
20: The Gator Bowl(1946): Florida State vs. West Virginia
Doesn't seem reasonable to believe Bobby Bowden will go out a loser.
Baby's Loser, in somewhat of a shocker: West Virginia
21: The Liberty Bowl (1959): Arkansas vs. East Carolina
Here is a fascinating match up between two of the most progressive coaching minds on the scene today. In what could be one of the best bowl games, it appears the team who scores last will win this encounter.
Baby's Loser, in a thriller: East Carolina
22: The Cotton Bowl (1937): Mississippi vs. Oklahoma State
The Rebels and Cowboys should be happy to "break-in" the new Cotton Bowl location. Classic duel between the SEC and the Big 12 should provide a great show. The Cowboys have already put down one SEC team this year with a seaon-opening win over the Georgia Bulldogs..
Baby's Loser, tight: Oklahoma State
23: The Orange Bowl (1935): Georgia Tech vs. Iowa
Here is the Bowl from this season everyone will talk about for years to come. This is going to be a fantastic clash of iron wills so, roll those DVRs.
Baby's Loser, in the best contest of the bowls : Iowa
24. The Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Houston
Fort Worth, Texas. Good location for a bowl named for the Armed Forces. The Falcons will be competitive, but fail to match the offense of the Cougars.
Baby's Loser: The Air Force
25. The Texas Bowl: Navy vs. Missouri
Houston, Texas is as good a place as any for the Navy to set anchor to conduct bowl business with the Big 12 Tigers of Missouri. The Navy will come up short in this contest.
Baby's Loser, boo-hoo: The Navy
26. The Insight Bowl: Minnesota vs. Iowa State
Why is Minnesota always being sent to bowls where no one else wants to go? Just for that, the Cyclones are going down. Go, Go Gophers!
Baby's Loser: Iowa State
27. The Chick-Fil-A (Peach) Bowl: Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech
There should be plenty of law enforcement on hand when these two tribes of hill people meet in the big city. Look out!
Baby's Loser: Tennessee
28. The Outback Bowl: Auburn vs. Northwestern
For fifty cents, the vote here would be for the well coached Wildcats to tame the Tigers from the SEC. Mike Kafka had a tremendous season as the quarterback for Coach Fitzgerald's fine squad. Should be a good one.
Baby's Loser, close: Northwestern
29. The PapaJohns.Com Bowl: South Carolina vs. Connecticut
Is this what it has come to for the legendary Godfather of coaches? The Papa John Pizza Bowl? There is nothing else to be said.
Baby's Loser: Connecticut
30. The International Bowl: South Florida vs. Northern Illinois
A bowl game in Canada played in January. A new low.
Baby's Loser, because they will be too cold to care: South Florida
31. The Alamo Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Michigan State
Possibly the worst match up of the bowls as Michigan State has too many personnel problems to be able to defeat the Mad Genius of college football.
Baby's Loser, easy: Michigan State
32. The Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Texas Christian
Some consider this the true National Championship game and quite honstly, the view from this corner is the winner should be awarded a split National Title with the winner of the Pasadena clash. The Horned Frogs' big win this year was over Clemson, the Broncos' big victory was over Oregon.
Baby's Loser, in a stunner: Texas Christian
33. The GMAC Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Troy
Is there really any reason for this ghastly so-called bowl?
Baby's Loser: Troy
34: The BCS Championship Game: Texas vs. Alabama
These two teams have been ranked one and two in the "11 Best 11s" for weeks now. Texas is such a great story this season, there is no need to stop until the BCS Title returns to Austin after a three year absence. Hook 'em.
Baby's Loser: Alabama
The final week of the regular season revealed how powerful Alabama truly is.
By crushing defending national champion Florida, 32-13, the Crimson Tide completed their first perfect regular season since the 1992 National Championship team.
Texas was pushed to the very limit by Nebraska, a team beaten earlier this season by Virginia Tech. The same Va Tech that was beaten by Alabama in the season opener.
It appears to be folly to attempt to stop Alabama's march of conquest.
Georgia Tech refused to use any special defense against Clemson's C.J. Spiller and the Clemson senior had the game of his life in a losing cause in the ACC title game.
Washington served notice they may be the sleeper for the upcoming season by breaking California's back to end a season of improvement.
Southern California served notice that the times are changing on the west coast by losing to Arizona in the season finale.
Baby Tate went 5-4, missing Fla., Houston, Cal & Sou Cal. 89-37 for the year.
7-2: Kent, Daniel H.,, Blake B., and Mark S.
6-3; 12, Michael C.,, Kenneth, Mosang, 007, Brandon, Carl S., Iceman, Scott R., Jonny, Ryan H., Josh M., and Shawn
5-4: BT, Tim C., Zodiac, Kimberley, Ronnie, Bill B., Ga Dawg, Taylor, Alex F., Michael O., Ryan R., Jim M., Boulder, and Daniel S.
Below Baby Tate's Mendoza Line: 4-5 Kevin, Tom O., Red Raider, Dan B., Connor G., Tyler S., Cliff, Hokie Hogg, CFB Fanatic, Mark F., 3-6 Matt and at 5-2 Chris.