Bowl Fatigue? Not If You’re A Fan

Where are the fans at this bowl game? Perhaps there was a sale at J.C. Penney... Photo Courtesy: Phil Romans
Where are the fans at this bowl game? Perhaps there was a sale at J.C. Penney…
Photo Courtesy: Phil Romans

By Wendell Barnhouse

If you’re a football fan, there is no such thing as too many bowl games. I mean, what else are you going do but watch the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl or the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl or even the Battle Frog (?!?!) Fiesta Bowl? Who cares if there are more people at the local mall than there are in the stands for these games?

As Maximus pointed out, it’s all about providing enjoyment for the observers.

So this bowl season has provided us with 40 games, with the Alabama vs. Clemson national championship game still on the docket. The Crimson Tide are favored by 10 on Jan. 11. But let’s do a quick review of this Bowl Season.

Ratings, Schmatings
The College Football Playoff committee scheduled the semifinals for New Year’s Eve. America’s Designated Party Night was in conflict with what were supposed to be the second and third most important games of the season. The committee said they were starting a new tradition.

It might be new, but it’s not a tradition. The Oklahoma-Clemson Orange Bowl had a 9.7 rating and the Alabama-Michigan State Cotton Bowl had a 9.9 rating. Last season, the semifinals had 15.5 and 15.3.

Does the CFP or any of the Power Five commissioners care? Nope. Those checks from ESPN for millions of dollars aren’t going to bounce. The folks who run college football don’t care about their TV partners (ESPN, which begged the semifinals to be played on Saturday, Jan. 2) or fans (who had to choose between New Year’s Eve parties or watching the Cotton Bowl).

It’s not all about the Benjamins. The Rose Bowl is locked into late afternoon on Jan. 1 because the Rose Bowl Parade is the morning of the game. Many marvel about the setting in Pasadena as the sun sets behind the mountains in the second half. So know this: college football and the College Football Playoff committee are beholden to a parade and a sunset.

Pass Now, Run Later
Baylor was without its top two quarterbacks (Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham), running back Shock Linwood (1,329 yards rushing) and wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Biletnikoff winner who caught 74 passes for 1.363 yards and 20 touchdowns.

So the Bears decided to go back to the days of the single wing. A year ago in the Cotton Bowl Baylor set a bowl record with 603 yards passing. Against North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Bears ran wild for a bowl-record 645 yards in a 49-38 victory.

Why, Trevone, Why?
The Valero Alamo Bowl could have been a great matchup of prolific and mobile quarterbacks. But a mistake by TCU’s Trevone Boykin left the Horned Frogs with a backup facing Oregon’s Vernon Adams. Boykin was suspended for the bowl game because he broke curfew and then was charged with assault of a public servant (police officer).

While Boykin’s stellar career ended in ignominious fashion, his absence led to one of the greatest comebacks and stories in bowl history. Senior Bram Kohlhausen – who credited Boykin with teaching him how to play and whose father passed away in November – led the Frogs from a 31-0 halftime deficit to a 47-41 triple overtime victory over the Ducks. It was Kohlhausen’s first career start. Than man should never pay for an adult beverage in Fort Worth for the rest of his life.

Musical Quarterbacks
Baker Mayfield helped Oklahoma win the Big 12 title and reach the College Football Playoff semifinals. He left Texas Tech because he lost the starting job to Davis Webb in 2013. Mayfield walked on at OU.

Webb spent this season backing up Patrick Mahomes, who as a junior will be Texas Tech’s starter in 2016 and will be a longshot Heisman Trophy candidate. Mahomes took over when Webb was injured late in 2014. Webb has announced he will transfer and will be immediately eligible in 2016.

Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight, the hero of the Sooners’ victory over Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, has also announced he will transfer and be immediately eligible next season. Teams (Texas A&M? Texas?) needing a quarterback will be interested.

No More Mojo
Oklahoma was overpowered and overwhelmed by Clemson in the Orange Bowl and the Big 12’s national champion drought continues. Considering the Sooners’ “November to Remember” included victories over three teams (TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State) without their starting quarterbacks. If there was some Sooner Magic involved getting to the semifinals, it didn’t travel from Norman to South Beach.