College Football Bowl Season Preview

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Ryan Noonan

Ryan Noonan is an economist with a small federal agency. Fields in which he considers himself reasonably well-informed: literature, college athletics, video games, food and beverage, the Supreme Court. Fields in which he considers himself an expert: none. He can be found on the Twitter or reached by email.

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66 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    You are 100% correct on the Rose Bowl (except for the Can See designation – dude this has two legitimate Heisman contenders, one finalist, up against a team with another legitimate contender that was considered a key competitor for a national championship and has the same core of players that played in the final game last year.  How is this not Must See?).  We (Wisconsin) likely cannot, but perhaps can, keep up with Oregon’s speed.  it all depends on Oregon’s defense.  Ours certainly had all it could handle from the vaunted(!) multidimensional MSU attack in the two games they played.  It’s likely to be lopsided but it could be the most thrilling shootout on this year’s slate.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    I enjoyed this. Two comments:

    1.) I think the Vandy-Cincy game will be more entertaining than you do, largely because Vanderbilt is actually pretty good (they almost beat Arkansas, for example), and good in an entertaining way — with a very talented tailback and a quarterback who, in addition to having a brother who is the best quarterback in the world right now, isn’t so bad himself.

    2.) While I also think OSU got shafted, and should be losing to LSU in the national title game, I think the LSU-Alabama game will likely be much more entertaining than the last one (which was somewhere between watching paint dry and watching paint that’s already dry). They have 5 weeks to prep for each other, and that usually bodes well for the offenses.Report

    • Avatar dexter in reply to Chris says:

      The LSU- Bama game was only boring if you haven’t spent time at the Chimes or don’t think of Saben in the same way you think of an exlover who left you for your worst enemy.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to dexter says:

        I was rooting for LSU, if it matters.

        By the way ,there’s a little diner just off the LSU campus that has fishing amazing crawfish poboys, but I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it. Can you throw out some names? I’ve been trying to remember and it’s driving me crazy.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Chris says:

          Alternatively, any crowd-sourced knowledge of where to procure perfect po’ boys in New Orleans would be greatly appreciated, since that’s where I’ll be on or around January 3rd.Report

          • Avatar dexter in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

            Just got off the phone with the youngest who lives in New Orleans and she gets her po’boys from Cajun Seafood on Claiborne or Verdi Mart on Royal.  She says Verdi Mart is better and recommends “All that jazz” which consists of bacon, ham, turkey, shrimp, two types of cheese, mushrooms and their special sauce.  Have fun in New Orleans.Report

  3. Avatar mark boggs says:

    First of all, Iowa is always a great team that sometimes has underacheiving years.  Just look at where the coaches of Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Kansas State got their starts.  Not to mention the wrestling team at Iowa.  This is self-evident to any biased former Iowan and Hawkeye fan.  That you fail to recognize these facts simply indicates your lack of team spirit.

    And of course Iowa State exists.  As a graduate, I can tell you that, without a doubt, from 1993-1995 the Iowa State University did physically exist and I have specific examples from their humanities departments, specifically, Cold War History, Russian History, 18th Century Continental Philosophy, and Creative Writing courses.  Oh, and they beat Iowa, which makes them great, too.  And they beat that other Oklahoma team.

    Both are must see games for the reasons listed above.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Let’s imagine that the University of Southern California had been eligible for a bowl game. Where should it have gone? Seems to me the Trojans were at least of Gator Bowl caliber.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I agree; I think they look great.  As a Duck, my biggest disappointment this season (other than losses) was that the Trojans weren’t in the Pac-12 championship.  That would have been another great game; instead it was kind of a joke.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Well, I think we have two options:

      1) If they repeated their regular season victory over Oregon, obviously they’re in the Rose Bowl.

      2) If not, I suspect the Alamo Bowl, with the second (or first non-BCS) pick out of the Pac-12, would have snapped them up. A USC/Baylor bowl game would have been SPECTACULAR.Report

      • An Oregon-USC rematch in the PAC 12 championship game would have been phenomenal.  USC played a nearly flawless game against the Ducks.  It would have been fun to see if they could have repeated that great performance two weeks later.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to James Hanley says:

          The sickest part of USC’s game against Oregon (which was, as you say, flawless, at least in terms of offensive playcalling) was the man standing on USC’s sideline. I cannot believe that hire is going to work out for them, but it very clearly is.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

            DId you find that all-white suit he wore as bizarre as I did?  It looked like he was preparing to grow a pair of 8-foot wings tinged with gold and fly directly up to heaven as soon as the clock hit 00:00 or something.Report

    • Avatar Plinko in reply to Burt Likko says:

      If I’m not mistaken they would have been in the PAC-12 Championship had they been eligible, right? So, clearly they had a shot at the Rose, but had they lost to Oregon they probably would have fallen to the Alamo Bowl, thats the top Pac-12 tie-in after the Rose, no? I would think Stanford would still have gotten the at-large BCS bid in that scenario but I’m guessing Ryan would have a better insight.Report

  5. Dude, I absolutely loved this post. And it’s darn good to see someone else with more than a passing interest in the Sun Belt and MAC and be able to mention their teams in a non-derogatory manner.

    I disagree about Marshall, though. They beat Southern Miss (in addition to Louisville) and came in second in their division. They’re hot-and-cold. Whether they win or not depends on who they are.

    Also, I think Louisiana Tech may give TCU a game. TCU doesn’t seem to really want to be there. Louisiana Tech has had their best season in years.

    Tulsa is one of those below-the-radar teams that does a good job year in and year out (with some exceptions) but never gets the attention that others do. They’re one of the most winning teams in Conference USA since the last major realignment, but no one notices (even accounting for the fact that they are in Conference USA.

    I will be seriously sad if the Kraft Bowl gets bad ratings. The bowl’s preference of mediocre teams from the big four conferences over better teams from the ACC, Big East, and mid-majors is seriously depressing.

    (In case you haven’t noticed, I have a soft spot for the underdogs of the FBS. Or the teams from underdog conferences.)

    More broadly, I think the bowl system needs to be restructured. I think something got off track, and not merely because “there are too many bowls.”Report

  6. Two comments:

    1. You weren’t hard enough on the Fight Hunger Bowl.  To be fair, no human on earth is capable of being as critical as that execrable matchup deserves.  It’s truly a low point in NCAA football history.  This year we have three bowl games that don’t feature even one team with a winning record, but this one is the worst of even that dismal lot because it features one team without a winning record (that lost every game in the second half of the season, concluding with a 7-27 loss to a team that wen 3-9!) and one team with a losing record.  Will even UCLA fans bother to make the 6 hour drive to San Francisco for this shitpile of a game?

    2.  As a rabid Oregon fan, I fear Russell Wilson and especially Montee Ball.  Oregon has had trouble stopping inside runs this year–even pathetic UCLA was able to demonstrate that in the PAC 12 championship game.  I’d much rather have faced MSU–they’re every bit as good as Wisconsin, but would have presented Oregon with better matchups.  Oregon should win, but I’d be astonished if its a blowout, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Wisconsin pulled the upset.  Keep in mind that bowl games, with all their play stoppages for commercials, undermine one of Oregon’s great strengths, which is moving faster than other teams, tiring them out, and keeping their defense from making substitutions.  The nature of bowl games negates that advantage for them, as was clearly demonstrated in last year’s national championship matchup.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to James Hanley says:

      I’m also kind of suspicious that there’s some aspect of Oregon’s offense that can be cut off with proper preparation. You see this a lot, for instance, with Georgia Tech. Give a team an extra week to prepare for the triple option, and that offense just fizzles. Oregon seems to have their worst games in the opening game of the season (LSU this year, although maybe only because LSU is a lot better than everyone else, Boise in… 2009, right?) and their bowl game (Ohio State, Auburn). Of course, those also tend to be the games in which they play the best defenses on their schedules, so there are a lot of confounding variables.Report

      • Maybe.  But I interpret the season-opening LSU and Boise losses simply to better preparation by those other teams (as much as that hurts to say).  Had the Boise game gone another quarter, Oregon would have won; it just took them three quarters to begin to play solidly.  Against LSU the big problem was turnovers, for which part of the credit goes to LSU, but much of the blame goes to our frosh WR De’Anthony Thomas–it was his first game and it showed (it was also essentially a home game for LSU).  In both cases I think Oregon just wasn’t itself prepared for the first game of the season while the other teams were. Against Auburn, everyone tends to forget that Oregon passed all over Auburn (68% completion, and led the game with less than a minute left, and had Auburn beat cold except for that final, devastating, fluke).  The key for Auburn in that game was stopping Oregon’s run, but they’d been great at that all season–I’m not so sure it was the extra prep time as just that Auburn had a hellaciously good run defense.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

      I’m liking what I’m hearing here, gentlemen.  Should be a good game.

      Sunday January 1st, wait, I mean unambiguous workday Monday Jan. 2nd at 1:30 pm PDT.  It’s on!  Fish the NFL.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

      I will say this – Wisconsin ought to relish the underdog role here.  It’s the first time they’ve gotten to occupy it all year, even if in both of the MSU games they really shouldn’t have been as much the favorite as they were.  In both games they were really having to deal with expectations more than a pure desire to win.  Now we have two teams looking to atone for bowl losses last year, and Wisconsin has no expectations of being the better team to live up to.  They know they have to elevate their level of play past expectations to win.Report

    • Avatar Plinko in reply to James Hanley says:

      I’m not sure either defense is capable of consistently stopping the other – Wisconsin is too big and strong up front for the Ducks and Oregon is too fast for the Badgers. I really see this as a toss-up game that will be decided by whomever manages to avoid turnovers or pull out a couple of stops.Report

  7. Avatar Mucker says:

    A few points of order:

    1) You said FIU was a good team for beating Louisville while their bowl opponent, Marshall, “isn’t any good.” However, Marshall also beat Louisville and also beat a ranked Southern Miss.  FIU’s doesn’t have a win that comes close to the level of USM.

    2) You underrate a Louisiana Tech team that took both Southern Miss and Houston to the wire, beat Ole Miss in Oxford by 20. Will TCU win? Probably, but they lost to a team worse than the Bulldogs in SMU earlier this season. So it is possible.

    3) Texas can’t score enough points to run away from anyone.

    4) While RG3 is great, Baylor has no business in a BCS bowl ahead of OK State(who beat them), Kansas St.(who beat them), and Oklahoma(who beat them).

    5) It’s obvious you haven’t watched Tulsa play this year. That’s ok; most people haven’t. They score almost 40 pts and gain almost 500 yards a game. That’s flashy.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Mucker says:

      1) I think the objection above that Marshall is “hot and cold” is probably a good one. They’ve played all over the map this year.

      2) Anything’s possible, but TCU (after working out their early-season kinks) is just plain good at football. I don’t dislike Louisiana Tech, by any means, but TCU should hammer them.

      3) Wait until you see them against a mid-tier Pac-12 defense.

      4) I wouldn’t dream of taking them ahead of Oklahoma State, but they lost by 1 at K-State and didn’t lose at all against Oklahoma. That’s good enough for me.

      5) Hilariously, 34 points and 454 yards (the actual numbers) is just barely top 25 in both categories. Those are pretty good numbers, for sure, but college football has redefined “flashy” over the last few years.Report

  8. Avatar ASKlein says:

    Michigan fan here. Of course I’m happy that UM got into a BCS bowl — the selection process has been nothing if not candid about its desire for money and big TV ratings. I am also aware that Boise State, KSU, Baylor have legitimate claims to a BCS bowl. Here’s the “but”: I think it’s slightly unfair to assume they “feasted on weak schedules and then bet on their own names to see them to the big money.”

    Of course they had a weak schedule. With so much shit going down the past few years, the program needed something to get momentum going, and that proved prescient since we kicked off this year with a new coach. And then we had a solid year against a so-so schedule, and then benefitted from a pretty crappy bowl selection process. I guess I’m trying to say that it wasn’t some Master Plan to play shitty teams and bank on the BCS going after the biggest fanbases — that “master plan” was always in place, for all legacy teams, ever since the BCS was created.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to ASKlein says:

      I agree with this. I also don’t think Michigan’s schedule was weak on purpose. They have no control over the quality of the Big Ten (which, this year, was pretty low).

      Also, full disclosure, I am a Michigan man as well. That’s why the divided recommendation for that game.Report

  9. Avatar Steven Donegal says:

    Since the BCS has made bowl games essentially irrelevant, I have one basic criterion for whether to watch a bowl game:  is this is game that I would make a priority to watch in the last week of October?  If not, there are a lot more interesting things to do, like watching reruns of Chopped and Triple D.  With that as my guide, I will probably watch Oregon-Wisconsin; Stanford- OK State;  Washington-Baylor (I live in Seattle and have not seen RPGIII play); and I’ll try to watch LSU-Bama, although the first game was probably the most boring football game I’ve ever seen (other than  the OSU-Michigan games during the RichRod era) and since with commercial interruptions the game will last at least four hours, I may have to come in sometime in the 3d quarter and see how it’s going.Report

    • Avatar ASKlein in reply to Steven Donegal says:

      Those were some tough years for Michigan, that’s for sure.

      OK, I’m going to lay this out because I guess I want yet another message board to tell me I’m nuts: I didn’t think the first LSU-‘Bama game was boring. I thought it was incredible. I thought it was the best showcase of defensive athleticism in the ten years or so I’ve been watching college football. It was phenomenal football through a different lens — not unlike top flight soccer. Every down counted, every tackle was fierce. I don’t mean to pile on you, Mr. Donegal. I’m firmly in the minority here, but I can’t help but express some surprise at the near universal declaration of “bor-ring!”  Great football doesn’t have to involve shootouts and hail marys.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to ASKlein says:

        I enjoyed it quite a bit, although I think people are much too quick to forgive a fair amount of sloppiness from both team’s offenses. It was a great defensive game, but it wasn’t that great. Alabama’s inability to kick field goals was also a big deal.

        All that said, I watched it at the LSU bar in Northern Virginia and had the absolute time of my life.Report

        • Avatar ASKlein in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

          Fair enough. I’m probably retroactively inflating the collective defensive triumphs. Easier to remember huge hits, less so with overthrown passes and illegal motion penalties. I think it’s in reaction to the tons of disgust out there. And I’ll say here that I think OSU should have gotten the nod to the big game — and immediately follow that by saying that I think Bama has a better chance of winning.Report

      • Avatar Steven Donegal in reply to ASKlein says:

        Some people like cricket, some people like nil games in soccer, some people liked LSU-Alabama.  Who am I to criticize.  And I agree that great football doesn’t have to involve shootouts and hail marys, but it does need some element of drama.  Due to the inept offenses in the first LSU-Alabama game, the only real drama was whether the Bama kicker would whiff.

        An aside.  I am one of the fortunate people who attended both Ohio State and Michigan.  As an ardent Buckeye, I was glad to see RichRod go because during his tenure, the Game had no drama.  This year’s game was one of the better ones in a long time even though we lost.  I’m glad the rivalry is back.  Go Bucks.Report

  10. Avatar Steve S. says:

    If this was opposite day I’d explain in detail how magnificent the BCS and attendant bowl system are.  Since it’s not I’ll just pick a couple of your points to argue with.

    You are grossly overrating Baylor.  They lost three games, two of them badly, and went to overtime against Kansas, which is the equivalent of losing by eight touchdowns to Oklahoma State.  Their c.v. comes down to having beaten Oklahoma, which OSU and Iowa St showed is no big whoop.  Having said all that, they are still a good and exciting team and will put up crooked numbers against UDub, but keep in mind that their defense is practically non-existent so the Huskies will score a bit as well.  If you like scoring the Alamo Bowl will be for you.

    RGIII is a fun player to watch, but I’m afraid it’s simply the case that Andrew Luck is better.  When looking at their respective numbers you really have to keep in mind — there’s no polite way to put this so I’ll just say it — that all of Luck’s receivers are big, slow, and get zero separation in man coverage.

    Otherwise, thanks for putting together this mammoth post.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Steve S. says:

      Hehe, I considered an Opposite Day post advocating for a playoff. My first guest-post here was in defense of the bowl system in lieu of a playoff.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m not a fan of the national championship, really.

        BCS vs. Playoff won’t solve that problem.  It doesn’t really work in basketball either, although everyone likes to pretend it does.Report

        • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          The only problem basketball has is a playoff that’s too large. Brian Cook at MGoBlog writes about this every year, but what a playoff fundamentally needs is for two conditions to hold:

          1. It is impossible to determine the best team given only the regular season.

          2. A playoff is constructed such that whoever wins it will have compiled the best resume in doing so.

          In college football, 1 usually holds. In a six team playoff with byes, 2 almost always will.

          Basketball’s problem is that its playoff is so large and unwieldy that it doesn’t meet criterion 2 in a fair number of years. The BCS has the same problem, but because it’s too small rather than too large.Report

          • On a practical level, there is no way a playoff system would ever stand at 6. Once instituted, playoffs expand. The temptation is just too great.

            I actually wouldn’t mind a 4, 6, or even 8 team playoff (the last is subject to conditions). But it wouldn’t stay there.Report

            • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Will Truman says:

              That’s almost certainly true. At the end of the day, I would prefer a massive, unwieldy thing like the basketball tournament to the BCS, so I’m not that worried about it. I think any playoff of any kind is preferable to trying to eyeball who the best team is based on how they fared against 8 other teams in their backyard.

              The BCS is not a solution to this problem anyway, since it virtually always gives us the same kind of ambiguous champion that a giant playoff sometimes does.

              If, at the end of the day, we’re not really interested in crowning a national champion using actual games between high-performing teams, there wasn’t anything fundamentally wrong with the old bowl system. The BCS adds nothing of value while simultaneously destroying old rivalries and ripping conferences apart while everyone chases dollars and autobids.Report

              • Avatar kenB in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

                I think there’s just too little inter-conference information provided by the limited college football season to ever provide a satisfying result.  I do like the fact that at least we’re pretty much guaranteed to see #1 vs #2, even as subjective as the human and computer rankings are — it’s a bit more information than we had before.  Although it was badly screwed up this year by matching two teams in conference — we’d have learned a lot more about relative conference strength if we had gotten to see LSU vs Ok St and Alabama vs Stanford.Report

              • At the end of the day, I would prefer a massive, unwieldy thing like the basketball tournament to the BCS, so I’m not that worried about it.

                And since I wouldn’t, it is of primary concern and why I prefer the status quo, which is flawed and which did not produce the results that I wanted this time around, over any sort of playoff.Report

              • Well, Will, that’s just prima facie evidence that you’re possessed by Satan.Report

              • I get that a lot (when college football comes up).Report

              • Are you a Notre Dame fan, too?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Will Truman says:

                I believe that battle is being lost. The self-evident inanity of the BCS is killing any hopes you may have of avoiding a playoff. Ultimately, college football is going to decide, like every other sport, that deciding who is the champion on the field is preferable to deciding a champion by opinion polling.

                It behooves us to attempt to inject some sanity into the process.Report

              • I’ll believe it when I see it. This year is far less problematic than in years past, where nothing ended up happening. The real gut-punches are when undefeated (BCS-AQ conference) teams are left out, like Auburn. But the bowl system survived that.

                I could see a Plus One, which is a 4-team playoff in the same way that the current system is a 2-team playoff. But I’d be pretty surprised to see 6-and-up, despite my slippery-slope fears.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Will Truman says:

                That’s what I mean. Plus One is a fait accompli. A four-team playoff is far, far closer to my ideal of a six-team playoff than it is to the old bowl system. I will take that money and run.Report

              • Even that, I don’t think will happen. If it does, the key thing for me is that the final two are not decided until after the bowl games. If that happens, it’s all good as far as I am concerned. Once you formalize which four teams are in contention, it starts getting a lot messier. This year, either Stanford or Oregon would be crying bloody murder. And Boise State would have a case. And the SEC would be arguing for UGA’s inclusion. Then you have to go to 6… 8… 16… 20…

                So, what I would be okay with saying “Okay, after the last bowl, rank the teams and pick two.” Some bowl coordination would be good, though figuring it out beforehand is like moving first base to 91-feet because of those ties at 90.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

            The only problem basketball has is a playoff that’s too large.

            No, the only problem basketball has is a playoff that’s too broad, but not large enough.

            Don’t get me wrong, I actually like March Madness.  But I’m under no illusions that the team that wins the tourney is even close to the objectively best team.

            Team sports are all about the margins.  It’s not about who can win this particular game, it’s about who can win most games against most opponents.  This is why the Superbowl is a silly championship; you have to win too few games to get through the playoffs (not to mention the fact that 16 games is a piss-poor number of trials and injuries have *way* too big of an impact).  It’s too easy to win by exceptional circumstances (that doesn’t make it not-fun, it just makes it a bad measure).

            This is also true in March Madness: a 15 might beat a 2 on any given night, but if they had to play even best of 3 the odds that they’d win would plummet.  Best of 5 would be closer to an accurate representation of comparative skill.  Of course, then you’d have 63 x 5 = 315 games, or 31 x 5 = 155 games if you only had 32 teams in the tourney, or 15 x 5 = 65 games if you had 16.  Too many games for the first two options and not enough teams in the third.  There’s no good combinatorial solution to this problem.

            Baseball used to have this correct, back before they had playoffs the way they do now, because the season was so damn big that the two division leaders in the NL and the AL had plenty of statistical rigor to say, “We’re better than everybody else in our quarter of the league” and then you had the two pennant series capped by the WS.  They broke it by making the playoffs bigger.

            Again: I kind of like it, it certainly makes the end of the season more exciting.  But it’s a worse measure of “best team” than what they had before.Report

        • Avatar Steve S. in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

          Can you explain what you perceive the “problem” to be?  In and of itself the BCS has no problem.  It is a formula that the participants have agreed to in advance and it spits out a “championship” game at the other end.  Likewise, a playoff wouldn’t entail any “problem” in and of itself, whoever wins the playoff wins the playoff and that’s just the way it is.

          My objection to the BCS is that its whole premise is antithetical to what athletic competition is supposed to be.  The best teams are decided by a Rube Goldberg of computer algorithms and subjective opinions.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Steve S. says:

      The only sense in which I’ve “rated” Baylor is my claim that they should be in a BCS bowl instead of Michigan or Virginia Tech. That seems… self-evident to me, but if you like:

      Baylor has three wins over teams in the final BCS top 25: Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas. Michigan has one: Nebraska. Virginia Tech has zero. Baylor has three losses, two of which were to #3 Oklahoma State and #8 Kansas State (the third was to 6-6 Texas A&M, which I’ve said I believe is the best 6-6 team in history, for whatever that’s worth). Michigan has two, one to #17 Michigan State and one to Iowa. Virginia Tech has two, both to #15 Clemson, but with the added caveat that they didn’t even play another ranked team all year. Baylor went 9-3 in what was easily the strongest (or second-strongest; I’m not interested in fighting about the SEC) conference; Michigan went 10-2 and Virginia Tech went 11-2 in significantly weaker conferences. In no way do I consider Baylor’s season performance worse than those two teams.

      The world will debate forever whether Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III is the better player. These questions are ultimately unanswerable, but it remains the case that I think RGIII is more fun to watch than any other player not named Tyrann Mathieu, and that’s good enough for me.Report

      • Avatar Steve S. in reply to Ryan Bonneville says:

        Regarding Virginia Tech, I’m not arguing for a second that they deserve a top bowl game, the Sugar Bowl matchup is laughable as far as I’m concerned.  What I’m saying is that there are at least a dozen teams that deserve it over either Virginia Tech or Baylor.  Hell, they ought to give Boise the Sugar Bowl as an intrasquad scrimmage, seeing as Boise gets ripped off by the BCS year after year.

        The way I personally evaluate the top college QBs is, which one would I want my favorite pro team to get hold of?  My answer is Luck.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Steve S. says:

      Also, Iowa State lost to Oklahoma by 20. They probably consider that a reasonably-sized whoop.Report

    • Avatar kenB in reply to Steve S. says:

      all of Luck’s receivers are big, slow, and get zero separation in man coverage.

      OTOH, because they’re tall (especially the tight ends), he can often get away with just throwing the ball sufficiently high that they’re the only ones who can come up with it.

      I’ll take everyone’s word for it that Luck is an amazing QB, but a lot of the ways that he is are not particularly obvious to a casual fan like me.  I say this as a Stanford fan, btw.Report

  11. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Oh come on, there’s nothing wrong with the fanbases of Ohio State and Florida that a few tactical nukes won’t fix. 🙂Report

  12. Avatar Kolohe says:

    The one thing about Va Tech’s selection is that it’s karmac balance for when about 10 years ago Notre Dame stole Tech’s rightful spot in a BCS bow, when the overrated/underrated scores were reversed.Report

  13. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    WIth all the football thoughts and talk I almost forgot to say, but great post Ryan.Report

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