Old School – How This Year’s Bowls May Have Shaped Up in the 70s

by Andy Wood on January 2, 2009

in Uncategorized

Sittin’ here watching the bowl games, wondering – is this the fix we’ve been looking for?


I grew up fuming at the whole college bowl game situation.  Too many conference/bowl tie-ups.  Too many great teams (my favorite in particular) unable to play for a national championship, while every single other NCAA sport and division had some sort of playoff system.

The solution?  What we have now as the BCS system, complete with

  • uneven conferences being treated as all equal.
  • four or five conference championship games that are either really meaningful or dangerous to a great team.
  • other conferences (Pac 10, Big 10-actually-11, etc.) with no forced championship game, getting a free pass into the bowls.
  • twice as many games so that everybody gets a chance – after all, we’re ALL winners, aren’t we? (We used to joke when a team had a lousy year that they were going to the Toilet Bowl.  Now, lo and behold, we actually have a half-dozen of ‘em!)
  • EVERY SINGLE bowl game of ANY type has a conference tie-up.  “Big 10 #6 vs. SEC #8.”  Are ya’ KIDDIN’ me?   There is now no such thing as an at-large team.
  • A single championship game decided a week-plus into January between a hybrid of two polls and a stack of computers.  Four other BCS games bearing the same bowl names and locations, but lacking the same luster. (With all due respect to Cincinnati and West Virginia, really?)

Just for nostalgia’s sake, I thought I’d take this year’s year-end AP rankings and results, and see what they might produce in a 70s bowl scenario.  Take a look and tell me, do you really think we’ve made things better?

Let’s start with the obvious:  Nevada, Northern Illinois, Colorado State, Memphis, Southern Miss, Notre Dame, Hawaii, Florida Atlantic, North Carolina State, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt would be enjoying the holidays at home.

The same could probably be said for UConn, Fresno State,  Central Michigan, Wisconsin, Miami, Louisiana Tech, and Minnesota.  And the boys from Troy would be body-slamming everybody in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

So how would the so-called premier bowls match up?  Start with the conference tie-ups.

  • Alabama, as the undefeated SEC champion, would be committed to the Sugar Bowl.
  • As champions of the Big 8, Oklahoma would be headed to Miami for the Orange Bowl.
  • Texas Tech, by virtue of their victory over then-#1 Texas, would host the Cotton Bowl as Southwest Conference champions.
  • And USC and Penn State would play in the Rose Bowl (presented by nobody).

Doubtless #2 Florida, free of any bowl encumbrance, would jump at the chance to prove to the world that it was better than the Crimson Tide, both in the SEC and in the country.  So we’d be looking at Alabama vs. Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

Texas, at #3 in the nation, would have the most unique array of choices.  Not tied to the Cotton Bowl, the Longhorns could travel to Miami for a rematch with Oklahoma, or pursue payback against the Red Raiders in Dallas.

Since rematches are something akin to kissing one’s sister, I would envision Texas opting for a trip to Phoenix and the Fiesta Bowl.  So who would the other opponents be?

I figure Utah would play the Sooners in the Orange Bowl. Boise State, having earned their street cred against Oklahoma last year, would face off against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl.  And Ohio State would make a familiar trip to Dallas to play Texas Tech.

Wow.  Even with some not-so-familiar faces, I would actually be intrigued, and watching all of these (except maybe for the Irrelevance Bowl in Pasadena).

Fiesta:  Texas (11-1) vs. Boise State (12-0)
Sugar:  Alabama (12-0) vs. Florida (11-1)
Cotton:  Texas Tech (11-1) vs. Ohio State (10-2)
Rose:  USC (11-1) vs. Penn State (11-1)
Orange:  Oklahoma (11-1) vs. Utah (12-0)

Assuming Florida won, the Gators would be national champions, and up to four other teams would be hollering “Foul!”  Point taken.  But does this year’s BCS solution make any more sense?  Do you think what we have now is better than that scenario?

There are probably some leadership, problem solving, or LiveVesting applications somewhere in all this.  But today’s about the nostalgia.

And the Crimson Tide.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Daddy January 2, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Well stated!

Mama January 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm

How do you do dat?? Is that all stashed in your head or do you spend hours researching????? Love you. Mama

Andy Wood January 4, 2009 at 12:50 am

Little of both. I used to meditate on all this stuff back in the day, when people used to say that 13 games a year was just too many to play, and that’s why we shouldn’t have a tournament. Now look – everybody’s playing 12-14 games.

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