A lot of people think that college football should switch to a playoff format. I would also like to see a better system for determining the national champion.
However, the bowl games do provide two weeks of exciting football, even if they do not always provide a clear-cut champion.
While some bowl games are new and uninteresting, most of them have long and rich traditions. There is also something to be said for having 25 teams end their postseasons as winners. Even though it sometimes seems like they are, these players are not professionals.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at who could be going home happy this winter.
Colorado State won four of its final five games to finish 6-5 and earn a spot in the New Orleans Bowl against North Texas, the only bowl team with a losing record at 5-6. Both teams may very well finish 6-6.
Throw out the first and last games and Marshall would have gone undefeated. Byron Leftwich and the Thundering Herd should have no problem taking care of East Carolina in the GMAC Bowl.
The Tangerine Bowl features two red-hot teams. Pittsburgh started its season 1-5 and won its last five games to become bowl eligible and North Carolina State won four of its last five games to edge Clemson for the bid.
Utah could not hold on to beat Brigham Young and fell into the Las Vegas Bowl. Even worse, the Utes may not be able to beat USC, which won four straight to end the season.
Stanford deserves better, but the Cardinal will just have to take out its frustrations on Georgia Tech in the Seattle Bowl.
Texas A&M was hoping to go to the Alamo Bowl, but Texas Tech is going instead. The Aggies will play the winner of this weekend’s Texas Christian/Southern Mississippi game in the galleryfurniture.com Bowl.
Boston College has only lost to top 25 teams this season and will try to keep it that way against unranked Alabama in the Music City Bowl.
Washington plays Texas in the Holiday Bowl, but the Huskies will face Major Applewhite instead of Chris Simms.
Chester Taylor ran over Marshall to help Toledo reach the Motor City Bowl and he should have no problem pounding Cincinnati.
Iowa struggled at midseason, but recovered to earn a trip to the Alamo Bowl. The Hawkeyes will have their hands full with Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech, which has won four of its last five games.
Syracuse finished with a better record than Virginia Tech and beat the Hokies in Virginia, but VT gets to go to the Gator Bowl. At least Syracuse should be able to beat Kansas State in the Insight.com Bowl.
After missing out on the Tangerine Bowl, Clemson jumped at the chance to take UCLA’s spot in the Humanitarian Bowl against Louisiana Tech.
Washington State should not have much trouble against Purdue, which has lost four of its last five games, in the Sun Bowl.
Fresno State’s David Carr has thrown for more yards than any other Div. I quarterback, but he is still relatively unknown. He will get a chance to impress the country in the Silicon Valley Classic against Michigan State.
Undefended no more
Even if Brigham Young beats Hawaii this weekend to stay undefeated, the Cougars will miss out on a BCS game. BYU will have to settle for a loss in the Liberty Bowl instead.
The Cougars may still be without Luke Staley, the nation’s third-leading scorer, against Dave Ragone and Louisville.
Julius Peppers and North Carolina will try to tear apart Auburn’s struggling offense in the Peach Bowl, no matter which quarterback the Tigers use.
If Tennessee wins the SEC Championship game, LSU will face Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma fell off the college map after a stunning loss to Oklahoma State, but the Sooners’ defense is still one of the best in the country.
Ohio State finished its up-and-down season with a big win at Michigan, but will probably face an impressive Georgia team in the Outback Bowl.
The Hokies may not deserve their spot in the Gator Bowl, but they should beat Florida State in a rematch of the 1999 Championship game.
The loss to Ohio State cost Michigan a share of the Big Ten title and a BCS game. Instead, the Wolverines will head to the Citrus Bowl to try to win their sixth straight New Year’s game, probably against South Carolina.
Colorado is playing as well as any team in the country right now. The Buffaloes will try to knock off a top five team with a star quarterback for the third game in a row when they face Joey Harrington and Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Sugar Bowl looks like it will be a match-up of great quarterbacks. Kurt Kittner will try to lead Illinois past Eric Crouch and Nebraska, unless LSU beats Tennessee and lands in the Sugar Bowl.
Florida will have the home crowd and last weekend’s loss to Tennessee as motivation against Maryland in the Orange Bowl. The Terrapins do not have Florida’s weapons ? Heisman candidate Rex Grossman and an arsenal of talented receivers ? but they are led by Coach of the Year Ralph Friedgen.
Battle for Roses
Finally, the game that really means something. Miami held onto its undefeated season when Virginia Tech’s Ernest Wilford could not hold onto a 2-point conversion pass.
If Tennessee beats LSU in the SEC Championship, the Volunteers will be 5-1 against teams currently ranked in the top 25. There’s no question both teams deserve to be in the Rose Bowl.
The question is, who will win? Tennessee has Travis Stephens, Miami has Ken Dorsey and a dominant offensive line, and the rest of the country has a great game to watch on Jan. 3.
Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.