We have all been told of the virtues of having a bowl system from the BCS proponents, but nothing about it seems virtuous after more than a week of games. Nearly all of them have been total stinkers. Granted, not every game is going to be close. Many people are not overly excited about watching Troy vs. Ohio, either. But is it too much to ask for games that are competitive for more than a half?
Of the eight games that have been played so far, only two have been decided by three points or less. The most exciting happened Sunday night in Detroit, when FIU kicker Jack Griffin nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Panthers a 34-32 win against Toledo. This one threatened to be a rout like most of the others after Toledo went up 24-7. But FIU showed a fight missing from many other teams this bowl season.
In the six other games, the average margin of victory has been 24.8 points a game. Last season, three of the first nine games were decided by four points or less, including Wyoming's double-overtime win against Fresno State. The average margin of victory in the others was 18.5 points. Not close games, but not as bad as this season.
The biggest disappointments so far in 2010: Utah in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas against Boise State. People wanted this to be a good game because it featured two ranked teams. But the Utes did everything they could to give the game to the Broncos, failing to take advantage of seven Boise State turnovers. Instead, Utah ended up with eight first downs and 200 total yards. Granted, backup Terrance Cain started at quarterback, but the Utes looked totally inept.
Hawaii also laid an egg in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Tulsa. The Warriors earned a share of the WAC championship and won 10 games in the regular-season for the first time since their Sugar Bowl season of 2007. But the offensive showcase we thought we would see turned into a one-sided affair because Bryant Moniz kept throwing the ball to Tulsa. Moniz had a career-high four interceptions and Hawaii had six turnovers on its home field, closing what was a good season on a disappointing note.
Hopefully the rest of the bowl season gives us more games like FIU-Toledo and fewer like Troy-Ohio. Here are a few I am looking forward to watching, aside from the BCS national championship game:
Notre Dame vs. Miami, Hyundai Sun Bowl, Friday: I really hope this is a good game, but I just want to tune in for tradition's sake. Very few games rivaled the peak of this rivalry during the time of the Catholics vs. Convicts. It is just good to see the teams matched up again.
South Carolina vs. Florida State, Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Friday: Whether you are from the South or not, the appeal of watching Steve Spurrier go against his former nemesis is always intriguing. Spurrier has said recently that he doesn't hate Florida State anymore, but you have to wonder how true that really is. When he played at Florida in the 1960s, he had a sticker on his helmet that read, "Never FSU, Never."
TCU vs. Wisconsin, Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, Saturday: You knew this one would go right on the list. The ultimate matchup between a smashmouth offense and the No. 1 defense in the nation. But more importantly, how TCU plays will have an impact on non-AQ teams everywhere. TCU really needs to win this game badly because of its position as an outsider. Non-AQs are always under so much more scrutiny. The Horned Frogs will be feeling that for the first time in a BCS game, since they played Boise State last season.