2011 Bowl Games: Some Really Bad Bowl Game Matchups
A Southern team dancing the hula with a Midwest partner? The former national champions heading to Hot-Lanta? No sugar in the Sugar? Thinking you need your eyes checked? Some matchups for the 2011-2012 bowl season have got to be misprints.
Grab your TV Guides and follow our list of upcoming postseaon Worst Bowl Games on tap. We've used a very unscientific method comparing the roads to the bowls, the travel obstacles and the mis-matchups. Let the postseason games begin and start counting down the days until next season.
A Bad Match Up: Nevada vs. Southern Miss
So Southern Miss finished its regular season ranked No. 21 in the BCS, and while fans of this team had visions of sugar plums in their heads—and a BCS bowl game—someone on the bowl selection committee decided to pit them against Nevada.
Stop by the flower shop and buy your leis, Southern Miss fans. Oh, and save up. You're heading off to Hawaii for pia coladas and a matchup with Nevada.
Nevada, you say? You beat one of the two only remaining undefeated teams in the country and you're playing Nevada in never-never land? Say it ain't one of the worse matchups in this year's bowl season...and the most disappointing.
Maybe it isn't all that bad. Nevada (7-5, 5-2 WAC) played (and lost) to Oregon (69-20), ouch. They played (and lost) to Boise State (30-10). They played (and lost) to Louisiana Tech (24-20). And they may play (and lose) to Southern Miss.
Surprisingly Bad: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech
It's hard to say the words: Michigan, Virginia Tech and Sugar Bowl. It just doesn't sound right. So the BCS passed up at-large teams like Kansas State, Boise State and TCU and opted to bring in a Hokie team that Clemson beat like a drum, 38-10, in the ACC Conference Championship. Please say this is a mistake.
The Sugar has traditionally been known for attracting the sweetest teams from the SEC, but this year, the SEC teams are booked in the national championship game. (Good problem for this conference.)
Hence, the committee tackled the dilemma by inviting Michigan as a replacement. The Wolverines are 10-2 (6-2 in the Big Ten) and likely will handle Virginia Tech with ease. They've played ranked (No. 23) Michigan State and lost, and No. 16 Nebraska (45-17) and won.
If you're looking for an SEC team in New Orleans, you'll have to look on Jan. 9 to see LSU take on Alabama—again, but you'll not find an SEC team in the Sugar.
A Crazy Pair: TCU vs. La Tech in San Diego
Sending the TCU Horned Frogs to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is like tossing a good team in the mud and then sloshing around barefoot. This is a TCU team that lost only two games—the opener to Baylor by two points—and an overtime touchdown to SMU. They deserve better.
Instead, the Frogs will be heading to San Diego to meet Louisiana Tech on Dec. 21. Maybe credit union members will get a discount for this one.
The opponent—Louisiana Tech—has four losses to its name, none to a ranked team. This will be a lopsided matchup and a disappointment for TCU fans.
Boise and Arizona State Are Mismatched
Did Boise State get the shaft? They're scheduled to take on Arizona State in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. This Boise team has lost only one game by one point (TCU, 36-35). Shouldn't they deserve better than the Maaco Bowl in Vegas?
This Mountain West versus Pac-12 game will probably not bring chills to fans of this bowl, but they can gamble and go to shows after the game ends. The bowl execs are happy though. This is the 20th year for this bowl game, and Boise is the highest-ranked team (No. 7) to have played here.
Let's look at Arizona State, Boise's mismatched opponent. This team is 6-6 (4-5, Pac 12). Their loss record stems from Illinois to Oregon to UCLA and Arizona, among others. The Sun Devils are operating with a lame duck coach, Dennis Erickson, and emotions will be running high, much like Boise's score.
It's Chicken for the Tigers and Cavs
Last year's national champions will be dining on chicken sandwiches this New Year's Eve. The Auburn Tigers will take on the Virginia Cavaliers at The Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The matchup will be a far cry from last year's illustrious Fiesta Bowl, where the Tigers beat Oregon for the top spot in college football.
The matchup will bring these two schools together for the third time. They played in 1997 and 1998, each claiming one win. Virginia (8-4, 5-3) and will make the drive to Atlanta for the fourth time. The Cavs were second in the ACC Coastal division. Are they mismatched? Who knows?
Will the Tigers—who spent seven weeks in the AP Top 25—reclaim prominence in their division? Or could this second-tiered ACC team knock off an SEC opponent, humiliating this young Auburn team? This could be a game that gives us a skewed view of what's ahead in 2012 with these two teams: the good, the bad and the ugly.