The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Bowls and Other Thorns

I think I've figured it out: Bowl games don't make the NCAA Division I-FBS's regular season more important. Instead, they actually make it less important. We don't get to see games between quality teams - Boise State vs. Auburn, or Oregon vs. TCU - until after the regular season. And then, it's a cabal of bowl committees, choosing teams via pecking order, that determine who will play whom and where.

Someone visiting from another planet (or, heck, another continent) would think we're insane to follow this stuff. Sometimes, I wonder.

Meanwhile, here's some other thoughts on the Bowl season so far:
  • Wisconsin fans, we need to admit something: it wasn't one thing that sunk our chances against TCU. It was several things. A missed field goal, a botched onside kick, passing instead of running on the two-point conversion - oh, and the fact that TCU had a pretty darn good team to begin with.
  • The Oklahoma-Connecticut matchup showed me something else about the Bowl System: just because you're an Automatic Qualifier conference's champion doesn't mean you deserve to play on New Year's Day.
  • My $0.02 worth on the K-State controversy: Adrian Hillburn should get an apology from the officials that worked that game. A salute, while fitting the definition of "excessive celebration", did not go against the spirit of the rule about sportsmanship. Either way, that call should not have been made (where's Steve Walkom and his disappearing whistle when you need it, anyways?), and it should not have affected the point-after attempt. Rule change proposal #1 of the day: any personal foul called after a touchdown will be enforced on the kickoff, not on the point-after attempt.
  • Second rule-change proposal: the 10-second runoff rule. Had the Music City Bowl been played by NFL rules, Tennessee would have walked back to Knoxville with a 20-17 win. Any penalty by the offensive team in the last minute of play of either half should be subject to an automatic 10-second runoff of the clock. That way teams don't "steal" games by committing a penalty to stop the clock.
  • Another overtime observation: when did the NCAA decide to have their overtimes start on the 25 yard line? And why would a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty (the one called against UT for running into the kicker) not simply result in UNC getting the ball first-and-goal at the 10, instead of half-the-distance? If it's that important to enforce something like that, let's just have the OT periods start on the opponent's 30 instead of the 25.
  • Last OT observation: If the defensive team in the first series of any OT period causes a turnover (fumble recovery, interception, blocked kick), and doesn't advance the ball, that team should have the option of starting their OT series from the spot of the ball on the other side of the field. For example, UNC's Quan Sturdivant intercepted UT's Tyler Bray at the 13 yard line. UNC should have the option of starting their half of the OT at UT's 13 yard line.
  • As much as I appreciate the TCU Horned Frogs, I have to say something: should Stanford win tonight's Orange Bowl, TCU would have to get in line to take on the winner of Auburn-Oregon. Especially if Auburn wins the game, since Stanford would have the right to claim a shot at defeating the team that defeated the only team they lost to on the season.
  • Not Bowl Related: the NHL and NBC really need to consider putting the Winter Classic on at night from here on out. Have the afternoon be full of alumni games, special events and whatnot; have the game be the star of the evening - and after the big Bowl games have aired. Oh, and the NHL needs to start considering putting on one of these games out West of the Mississippi. Target Field, anyone?