Let's begin with my favorite subplot of the bowl season: Hawaii and Boise State screwing over the bowls held in their home stadiums
Last year's Fiesta Bowl clearly had a profound effect on the Boise State players. Specifically, it made them realize that going somewhere cool for a bowl game is much more fun than staying in Boise. So this year they abandoned the familiar blue turf of the Humanitarian Bowl and packed their bags for the Hawaii Bowl. Good times for Boise State. Bad times for the Humanitarian Bowl, which is now left trying to convince 30,000 Boise residents to brave freezing temperatures in order to watch Fresno State play Georgia Tech. (I hear the Boise State band has no plans -- perhaps they would be interested in attending.)
Of course the only reason Boise State even had a chance to go to Honolulu is because the Hawaii football team ditched their tailor-made bowl game to play in the Sugar Bowl. Good times for Hawaii. Bad times for the Hawaii Bowl. At least June Jones' team was kind enough to send a card to bowl organizers saying "We appreciate you making a bowl game for us, but we will be unable to attend this year. Best of luck in getting 50,000 Hawaii fans to pay $30 to see Boise State play East Carolina."
Fortunately, there is still blissful, money-minting co-dependence in college football's postseason. The 2007 Texas Bowl (also called "the game formerly known as the Houston Bowl") features Texas Christian playing Houston, in Houston. That should be lucrative for everyone involved.
The bad news is that the Texas Bowl is evidence of a serious problem in college football. That problem is the striking lack of creativity in bowl game names. In addition to the Texas Bowl, this year's slate features the New Orleans Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl, and the Las Vegas Bowl. Who's naming these games? The guy who came up with the "Washington Nationals"? I'm telling you, we're only a year or two away from the "College Football Bowl." It will be like a low budget college sports movie where everybody plays for "State University."
Speaking of low budget, check out the websites for the Independence Bowl and the Meineke Car Care Bowl. They look like porn sites from 1998. Their web designers could learn something from the guys who made the website for the International Bowl. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, it has passport information about getting to Canada and a section describing the economic impact of the game. That's the kind of stuff fans want to know.
The Capital One Bowl features an exciting matchup between Florida and Michigan (and the largest non-BCS payout of $4.25 million), but the real story will take place at halftime when Capital One announces the Mascot of the Year. Akron's "Zippy" has won all twelve of his head-to-head matches and is a big favorite over Minnesota's "Golden Gopher." However, the gopher broke out some new dance moves in the last week of voting and some experts believe he can pull off the upset. Only one thing is for sure---it's going to be an exciting three minutes.
Then there are those five glamorous BCS bowls, beginning with USC hosting playing on a neutral field against Illinois. It's the Trojans fourth Rose Bowl appearance in five years, and the Fighting Illini's fourth appearance in 56 years. The big story here is Illinois quarterback Juice Williams introducing the USC faithful to a "Juice" who hasn't stood trial for murder or armed robbery.
Immediately following the Rose Bowl, Georgia and Hawaii will meet in the Sugar Bowl. I highly recommend picking up Knowshon Moreno on your bowl fantasy team. After he's through with the Hawaii defense they'll look like a group capable of giving up 44 points to Louisiana Tech. Wait a second ... I'm being told Hawaii actually did give up 44 points to Louisiana Tech. Scratch that last analogy.
The Fiesta and Orange Bowls are arguably the two most interesting games of the year. Both of them will serve as nice distractions to four teams constantly reliving the frustration and missed opportunities of the last three months. Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and West Virginia are all still is disbelief over costly late season losses. Kansas is also in disbelief (over their loss to Missouri), but mostly because it somehow led to them being invited to the Fiesta Bowl instead of Missouri.
Finally, Ohio State and LSU will meet on Jan. 7 to determine who gets to hoist a giant glass football. Since predictions are en-vogue these days, I will leave you with my BCS Championship forecast: The day before the game Les Miles will abandon LSU to become the new head coach at West Virginia.
Enjoy the bowls.