Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Appetite wanes with a few bowls remaining
As this is being written there have been 29 bowl games, not counting Thursday night’s Sugar Bowl that featured Alabama and Oklahoma.
The parade of too many bowls began Dec. 21 and will conclude Monday with the BCS Championship Game between Auburn and Florida State.
That is a total of 35 bowl games, or approximately 15 too many. That is how many bowl games were won by two touchdowns or more.
Sure, there were some good games, but they were in mostly empty stadiums. There were some real duds, too.
Granted, New Year’s Day and its six games were mostly entertaining, and you didn’t even have to watch one of them, the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Since most people probably didn’t watch it, North Texas beat UNLV 36-14.
In the Gator Bowl, Georgia became the first SEC team to lose, falling to Nebraska 24-19. The Bulldogs gave up a 99-yard touchdown pass. Those were the same Bulldogs who didn’t bat down a pass but tipped it to an Auburn receiver for a game-winning touchdown during the regular season.
Connor Shaw completed22 of 25 passes for 312 yards and threw 3 touchdown passes and caught another as South Carolina beat Wisconsin 34-24. If anyone tweeted “karma” it did not come from Fayetteville.
In the Outback Bowl the world saw one more time - and probably for the last time on the college level - why Jeremy Hill was worth fighting for. Hill ran for 216 yards and two touchdowns as LSU beat Iowa 21-14.
All kidding aside, Hill is a great football player. If he can avoid injuries and any more issues off the field, which can be harder when players aren’t under constant supervision by coaches, he’s going to make a ton of money in the NFL with his knockout runs.
The Fiesta Bowl was surprising in that Baylor couldn’t stop Central Florida. At one time the Bears looked like a possibility for the BCS Championship Game, but they gave up 526 yards and lost 52-42 Wednesday night.
Michigan State relied on its defense to beat Stanford 24-20 in the Rose Bowl. It was a good game, but if Brent Musburger or anyone else had referred to the Rose Bowl as “the granddaddy of them all” one more time I might have thrown the TV out the window.
It is a great bowl in a beautiful setting and has been around longer than any other bowl, having hosted its first game in 1902, but in 2011 it officially became known as the Rose Bowl Game so it could pick up a major sponsor, so technically it is “the babiest bowl of them all.”
However, we are going to get another round of “the granddaddy of them all” on Monday when the BCS Championship Game is played in the Rose Bowl.
Until then, we have the Cotton and Orange bowls today, and the Cotton has always been and will always be my personal favorite.
No bowl does more to make the official parties feel welcomed. No player ever complains about the festivities leading up to the Cotton Bowl, and now that it is played in the best football facility in the world - AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys - no fan should be unhappy.
The hard work of the Cotton Bowl staff and its volunteers is why it was chosen to host the championship game of the first college football playoff.
The Compass Bowl will be held Saturday in Birmingham, Ala., and then the rumors begin that Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin will be the next coach at Penn State, after Bill O’Brien officially becomes the next coach of the Houston Texans.
Sunday night is the Go-Daddy Bowl featuring the Arkansas State Red Wolves (more on that later) and a very good Ball State team.
And the 35th game in 16 days will be the BCS Championship Game on Monday.
Someday soon, many of these bowls may just be a memory.
Sports, Pages 17 on 01/03/2014