Controversy continues to rage over the ineptness of the current method of choosing a champion in FBS college football, but whether or not a playoff system is ever implemented, one thing will likely remain, at least for the lower-tier teams: the bowl system.
While I personally believe a playoff system would be much preferable for choosing a national champion—which is obviously not the intention of the current system—I do love bowl games.
It's sort of analogous to March Madness, or even BracketBusters: two teams that usually don't play each other meeting in a neutral location (maybe warm Florida or Arizona, or maybe cold Toronto or Idaho), battling for the right to... All right, so maybe March Madness isn't the best comparison, but the mystery factor is intriguing nonetheless.
It must be a treat for the players to travel to a part of the country (or a different country, in the International Bowl's case) they've never been before and may never be again. (On the other hand, BYU players must be getting sick and tired of Las Vegas—more on that later.)
Don't forget all the free goodies the bowls give out too. Obviously every player would love to get in one of the "gift suites" (i.e. "Here's $400 to spend on electronics—knock yourself out"), but I'd be thrilled with just the sunglasses and watch from the Gator Bowl.
Wait, that's it? Even the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl participants get to party in the gift suite. I guess organizers figure a trip to Jacksonville is reward enough.
With my love for bowl games now professed, here's Part One of a look at all the matchups coming up this holiday season, covering the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 19 to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl (What a mouthful!) on Dec. 28.
Unlike voters in the coaches' poll, I can't magically watch every single game and be aware of every team's detailed strengths and weaknesses, so I expect to be corrected by teams' fans on my predictions and write-ups. Let me know what I'm missing.