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Editor’s Note: With Army/Navy game still to be played – and the Sgt Bilko Trophy, symbolic of service academy lousiness, riding on the outcome – the final Bottom Ten of the season will move next week.
The Bottom Ten
NCAA/Week 15 – Bowl Game Edition
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy
Tis the season, as the Bottom Ten pollsters open up the manhole cover to inspect the carnage that can only be the 2016-17 college football bowl season!
And the numbers are astonishing, even by Bottom Ten standards. There was a time when all bowl games featured two teams with winning records but, thankfully for this column, that time has long passed.
This year less than half of all bowl games – exactly half if Army beats Navy – will have two (2) teams with winning records.
At least four (4) bowl games, and maybe five (5) – again, Army is key here – will feature two (2) teams that do not have winning records and 25 percent of all bowl teams were not good enough to produce winning records. Three (3) of these teams lost more games than they won.
All of which found Bottom Ten pollsters scratching their heads and wondering: we don’t have a NCAA Division I football playoff for this?
This year’s sewer:
- Heart of Dallas Bowl
Details: December 27, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Teams: Army (6-6) vs North Texas (5-7)
Reasons To Watch: You’re wondering if Zaxbys – the title sponsor – sells fast food, t-shirts or helicopters…You’re are genuinely excited to see latest crop of Army officer candidates take on future cattle rustlers and oil wildcatters…You weigh 700 pounds, are completely immobile and are unable to do anything else.
Reasons Not To Watch: Second meeting of 2016 for matchup nobody was clamoring for in the first place…Both teams on a roll, having combined to lose seven (7) of their last ten (10)... North Texas – whose 1-11 squad just missed a bowl berth last year – is playing in the Heart of Dallas Bowl for the second time in three years.
Bottom Line: Easily takes B-10 Bowl of the Year honors, as long-time B-10 fan(s) getting misty eyed over this fiasco that features two B-10 legacy teams.
2. New Orleans Bowl
Details: December 17; Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Teams: Southern Mississippi (6-6) vs. UL-Lafayette (6-6)
Reasons To Watch: You’re excited to see teams from two (2) conferences challenging for B-10 Conference of the Year honors – Sun Belt, Conference USA – get it on…You’ve seen UL-Lafayette’s four (4) previous New Orleans Bowl appearances this decade and don’t want to see the streak end.
Reasons Not To Watch: You live north of the 32nd parallel…It’s time to put the snow tires on…It’s nap time.
Bottom Line: Organizers – already planning to tarp over most of seating area to accommodate crowd anticipated to be in the dozens – now looking to tarp over field so nobody has to watch this mess.
3. St. Petersburg Bowl
Details: December 26; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Teams: Miami, Ohio (6-6) vs Mississippi St (5-7)
Reasons To Watch: You want to see if Miami’s 108th ranked offense will be able to move the ball against Mississippi State’s 110th ranked defense…You want to see if Miami – which started 0-6 – can go from the B-10 medal stand to the victory in second-rate bowl game in same season…You’re from Mississippi and you got your first color TV for Christmas.
Reasons Not To Watch: It’s the day after Christmas and you have a new assault rifle to play with.
Bottom Line: Another thriller featuring two (2) teams unable to muster winning records played in a baseball stadium…Yes, this is way better than any game an NCAA Division I football playoff could ever muster.
4. Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
Details: December 27; Chase Field, Phoenix Arizona
Teams: Baylor (6-6) vs. Boise State (10-2)
Reasons To Watch: Baylor has lost six (6) straight and you want to see if a school that has lost six (6) straight and is mired in scandal can beat a ten (10)-win team that plays its home games on blue turf.
Reasons Not To Watch: Game sponsored by cheap, national motel chain that used to be presenting sponsor of B-10 championship trophy…Baylor has lost six (6) straight.
Bottom Line: In a city with both an NFL stadium and a major college stadium, game played at baseball field.
5. Hawaii Bowl
Details: December 24; Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
Teams: Middle Tennessee State (8-4) vs Hawaii (6-7)
Reasons To Watch: Want to continue treasured holiday tradition of seeing lengths cameramen will go to not show 50,000 empty seats at Aloha Stadium…it’s Christmas Eve and even this beats going to church and the family gathering.
Reasons Not To Watch: It’s Christmas Eve and you have church to attend and family coming over and even that beats watching the Hawaii Bowl.
Bottom Line: Hawaii has losing record, but since they’d be in the area anyway, organizers decided to save on airfare, lodging and invite them…Only major bowl without a title sponsor, though B-10 pollsters manfully concede Hawaii itself is a major travel destination.
6. Pinstripe Bowl
Details: December 28; Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York
Teams: Pitt (8-4) vs Northwestern (6-6)
Reasons To Watch: You’re wondering why the hell they’re playing football in Yankee Stadium…The novelty of seeing B-10 Hall of Famers Northwestern playing in a bowl game has yet to wear off…TV offers better vantage point than closest 50-yard line seat located 50-yards from field.
Reasons Not To Watch: Pitt beat both Penn State and Clemson while Northwestern lost to Illinois State, so game probably won’t be any good.
Bottom Line: Pinstripe Bowl makes annual appearance in survey because Yankee Stadium worse bowl venue since 1964 Donkey Show Bowl played on Avenida Revoluccion in Tijuana, Mexico.
7. Sun Bowl
Details: December 30; Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
Teams: North Carolina (8-4) vs Stanford (9-3)
Reasons To Watch: Sun Bowl actually second oldest bowl game behind Rose Bowl, and you’ve been watching it for years…It’s one of only four (4) bowl games not televised by ESPN/ABC, and you want to see if you’re remote still switches to CBS station.
Reasons Not To Watch: This might be OK to watch if you find yourself in front of a TV around kickoff time, a nice throwback to when bowls were actually fun to watch. Go ahead and enjoy.
Bottom Line: With stadium located only one-third of a mile from Mexican border, pregame festivities expected to feature popular, patriotic swim-over in always touching “missing Mexican” formation
8. Rose Bowl
Details: January 2, 2017; Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Teams: Penn State (11-2) vs USC (9-3)
Reasons To Watch: It’s Monday, January 2 and the Rose Bowl is on…You live where it’s freezing and want to fantasize about moving to California…Despite everything college football does to shoot itself in the foot, the Rose Bowl is still a highlight of the sports calendar.
Reasons Not To Watch: Days of Pac-12, Big Ten champions competing long gone now, as USC wasn’t even good enough to qualify for Pac-12 title game…Penn State once kept a child molester on staff and should have had football program sent back to stone age instead of still being allowed to compete and make money at major division level.
Bottom Line: One proud institution, Rose Bowl now either a sideshow national semifinal for sham College Football Playoff or, like this year, a consolation prize.
9. NCAA Division I National Championship Game
Details: Whoops! This game does not exist!
Teams: See above.
Reasons To Watch: Would be an instant classic of American sports. If it existed, of course, which it doesn’t…Instead we get the Malt O’Meal Beef O’Bradys Bowl or a game played in the national track and field stadium of the Bahamas.
Reasons Not To Watch: It doesn’t exist.
Bottom Line: A 32-team NCAA Division I football tournament could begin Thanksgiving weekend and end on New Year’s Day, the last day anyone should care about college football…It would become an American classic quicker than you could say “weak non-conference schedule”.
10. Amos Alonzo-Stagg Bowl
Details: December 17; Salem Football Stadium, Salem, Virginia; The NCAA Division III National Championship Game
Teams: Winners of Mount Union/Mary Hardin-Baylor and John Carroll/UW-Oshkosh semifinals
Reasons To Watch: Despite fact NCAA likes to claim missed class time as reason for not sponsoring playoff, Stagg Bowl participants are playing in fifth playoff game of season, all while trying to balance real college classes and chasing girls.
Reasons Not To Watch: There is no reason not to watch this game. It concludes a real, live NCAA-sponsored 32-team football playoff.
Bottom Line: Real college kids who pay their own way leaving their blood and guts on the field for a genuine, honest-to-goodness NCAA national football championship.
This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Army vs. Navy, at Baltimore – The loser earns the Sgt Bilko Trophy – symbolic of service academy lousiness.