Hey Herbie, Bowl Games are Exhibitions

By now, everyone has seen Kirk Herbstreit’s absolute meltdown upon learning that Northern Illinois had cracked the BCS code and was ruining the sanctity of the bowl selection process.

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As usual, ESPN overreacted and became part of the story. The Worldwide Wide Leader’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. They are broadcasting the Orange Bowl and so in the face of perhaps soft ratings, they’ve generated a “controversy” that will translate into more people wanting to see just what all the fuss was about.

The simple facts are that every bowl game outside of the national championship is an exhibition. In my best Dan Hawkins voice, “They’re exhibtions, brother!” Not one of them means a thing. In fact, most coaches use the extra practices that come with bowl games as a chance to give younger player reps in preparation for next year.

We’ve known the BCS was a fraud since its outset so again why care about who is assigned to which bowl? Northern Illinois jumping up and grabbing a spot from Oklahoma was much less of a travesty than five-loss Wisconsin’s Rose Bowl bid. The Granddaddy of them all! Is that in the best interests of college football? And even if your premise is to put the best games into those BCS bowls, what makes Oklahoma more deserving? Bob Stoops failed history of folding in BCS games? The Sooners 1-2 mark against the BCS Top 25? Stop it.

If you’ve read this column weekly and looked at the rankings, we’ve had the Huskies in our Top 25 for four straight weeks. We have a post coming out later this week with our Heisman picks and although he won’t win it, I had Jordan Lynch in my top 5. NIU is a damn good football team. Don’t give me that lost to Iowa stuff either. It was their first game of the year and they lost by one point. Remember how awful Florida looked in week one against a different MAC team or more recently against a Sun Belt team? Florida State lost to a mediocre team by one point. Georgia lost by 28. UCLA lost to Cal. Nebraska was headed to the Rose Bowl until that 40-point loss to Wisconsin. And oh yeah, the Huskers beat Iowa by four points. The moral of the story is you can’t cherry pick one game, you have to look at the body of work. As I did these rankings every week, I looked at every team’s body of work and Northern Illinois deserves to be ranked where they are.

If that isn’t a strong enough argument for you, how about a few more reasons:

  • Is the Orange Bowl even a good game anymore? It has been the worst BCS game for quite some time, as evidenced by the recent classics between Louisville-Wake Forest, Kansas-Virginia Tech, Iowa-Georgia Tech and last year’s 40-point West Virginia-Clemson debacle.
  • Have you seen Florida State the past two games? NIU can absolutely play with them.
  • Hot MAC-tion on Tuesdays and Wednesdays have been the most consistently entertaining nights of football for the past five years.
  • Bigger bowl jokes: Wisconsin and Georgia Tech… and the omission of another damn good mid-major, Louisiana Tech.
  • And perhaps most importantly, this is a no-win situation for Florida State – if they win, they were supposed to win… but if they lose, FLOLOLOLOLorida State!

I’ve always been a big fan of Kirk Herbstreit. He’s come a long way from the fresh-faced eye candy he was when he began back in the mid-nineties when I, Sonny Beam and our friends called him “Hotstreit”. He is arguably the best college football game analyst working today. But his outrage over this was misplaced, absurd and pathetic. He should be ashamed and he should apologize. And if the Huskies can pull it off on January 1, the Twitterverse will burn him to the ground.

Kirk, you’re ugly when you’re hostile

One final thing… why can’t we root for underdogs in college football? The Our Two Bits crew was in Las Vegas this spring for March Madness and the sheer joy collectively experienced throughout the entire sports book during the Lehigh and Norfolk State upsets was unmatched. It is what makes the tourney so magical. We all desperately want that feeling with a college football playoff. Well, the only way to get there is to open up the field a little, and give the little guys a chance to knock off the big guys. Here’s our final regular season top 25 of the year:

1. Notre Dame 12-0
2. Alabama 12-1
3. Florida 11-1
4. Oregon 11-1
5. Ohio State 12-0
6. Kansas State 11-1
7. LSU 10-2
8. Texas A&M 10-2
9. Stanford 11-2
10. South Carolina 10-2
11. Georgia 11-2
12. Oklahoma 10-2
13. Florida State 11-2
14. Clemson 10-2
15. Northern Illinois 12-1
16. Oregon State 9-3
17. Boise State 10-2
18. UCLA 9-4
19. Utah State 10-2
20. Nebraska 10-3
21. Michigan 8-4
22. San Jose State 10-2
23. Louisville 10-2
24. Northwestern 9-3
25. Kent State 11-2

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One Response to Hey Herbie, Bowl Games are Exhibitions

  1. Dan says:

    I agree with Kirk. NIU got into the BCS bowl mix fair and square, but that just shows how the BCS rules have ruined the bowl games. The SEC has six teams in the top ten and only two can go to BCS bowls, but a team that should never have been ranked goes to the Orange Bowl? Look at NIU’s schedule — there are probably about two dozen AQ teams that would be undefeated playing NIU’s opponents.

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