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Des Moines, Iowa


obligatory "bowl"-ing joke headline here

Geoff Wood

It's College Bowl Season football fans and most of the world found out where their teams were or were not going on Sunday afternoon.

I must admit - I wasn't looking forward to the day for a couple reasons.

First, the Cyclones blew a gift wrapped-first ever trip to Big 12 Championship game by losing to KU in OT a couple weeks ago. I'd been abstaining from college football ever since (which was easy since the Cyclones weren't playing). The loss meant they were most likely heading to the Houston Bowl, which has everything that makes a great bowl (weather, stadium, date, payout) except the history. Furthermore, the SEC (traditional Houston Bowl opponent for the Big 12) had already opted out of the game since they didn't have enough eligible teams. This means that Cyclones will be stuck playing a team from a non-BCS conference for the third bowl in a row. Last year we beat Miami (OH) in the Independence Bowl because the SEC (again!) didn't have enough eligible teams to fill its obligations. Two years before that was loss in the "bowl who must not be named" versus Boise State. Ouch. Had they won they game they'd be in Holiday Bowl in San Diego (barring a miraculous upset of Texas in the title game) - three points can sure swing your plans for New Years.

Second, the school that's referred to in Central Iowa as "The Evil Empire to the East", the Iowa Hawkeyes (who I s'pose would be "The Evil Empire to the West" - EEW! - from my place) were going to get a January bowl. It's not that I particularly care where Iowa goes - I just don't want to hear about it (and that's inevitable). It's not that January bowls mean much anymore - they used to when bowls were fewer and less teams went. Nowadays, I see bowls in three classes: BCS, middle-interchangeable bowls, and suck (the game against Boise was "suck"). Just because a few of the "middle-interchangeable bowls" are in January some folks perceive those as better recognition than the others in that class.

I s'pose there could be a case for that, except that a team's chance to be in one of these Non-BCS January games is statistically easier or harder based soley on the conference they're in. For instance, the SEC has three tie ins to such games, the Big Ten two, the Big 12 one. The Pac 10 doesn't have any. So is the #2 Pac 10 team really less deserving of the "January Bowl" on honor than the third (or fourth this year) Big Ten team? How about the fourth or fifth SEC team are they better than the third Big East team? Yes, they are, but that's because the Big East is terrible.

Anyway, things shook out as most expected. ISU is playing Texas Christian in the Houston Bowl, Iowa playing Florida in the Capitol One Bowl (a non-BCS bowl in January). Such is the luck of playing in the Big 10. Their association with the Michigan/Ohio State/Wisconsin/Illinois TV sets tend to help out the Black & Gold more often than they other way around.

More thoughts on the bowls to follow...