After a busy day following the bowl picture for the Bowling Green football team and the Mid-American Conference, here are a few tidbits. Agree? Disagree? There's plenty of room at the bottom of this page for your comments ... Please share them ...
- I understand the fuss about Northern Illinois earning a bid to a BCS bowl. Boy, talk about angry ... there were a LOT of people angry that the Huskies were invited to the Orange Bowl. ESPN's talking heads went crazy, pundits around the country fired off angry missives, and at times the entire college football world seemed outraged.
To which I say: Get over it.
Correct me if I am wrong, but there were rules in place, Northern Illinois followed those rules, and Northern Illinois earned the BCS bid. Right? So if you don't like that, well, tough.
Having said that, Let me enrage the other side: Does Northern Illinois belong in a BCS bowl? Well, if you're talking about whether the Huskies are one of the eight best teams in the country, no, I don't think so. I'm willing to give them a shot to prove me wrong, but I just can't say, based on their performance this season (their signature win is what again? Ball State? Toledo? Truth be told, it's probably beating Kent State in the MAC title contest), they are ABSOLUTELY deserving of a BCS bid. But NIU earned this opportunity fair and square, and no amount of wailing or gnashing of teeth can deny that.
If you want to be outraged -- and ESPN talking heads, I'm speaking to you here -- make sure your outrage is properly targeted. If someone tells you that Northern Illinois in the BCS is more outrageous that a five-loss Wisconsin team is in the BCS, or that Louisville is more deserving, the next question is simple: Is the ball pumped or stuffed? My guess is that they will say stuffed with goosefeathers.
- Speaking of the rules, having coaches votes as part of the BCS selection process has to stop. I'm speaking specifically of the travesty Big 12 coaches perpetrated with their final vote of the season, trying to pump Oklahoma up and hold Northern Illinois down.
In short, here's the story: Big 12 coaches voting in the USAToday coaches' poll generally pumped up their vote for Oklahoma, voting them sixth (which is roughly five-or-six spots too high) while trying to push the Huskies down as far as they could, generally voting them in the late 20s (which is roughly five-or-six spots too low).
I understand why they did it, but still, that's embarrassing. That's pathetic. To use Kirk Herbstreit's words, that, "is an absolute joke."
I've got to admit: After hearing about this, I'm not sure there's a margin of defeat for a Big 12 school that will satisfy me this bowl season.
- There's one word for the Mid-American Conference getting seven bowl bids: shocking. I know folks are shocked by Northern Illinois getting a BCS bid, but I consider that tame compared to the MAC having more than half of its teams play in bowls.
Obviously a lot of things had to fall just right for the MAC to make that happen, and nearly everything did. But kudos of commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, his staff and the league for taking advantage of the opportunity.
- I mentioned this late Sunday night, but kudos to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl for helping the MAC in this bowl bonanza. The LCPB held the first "pick" in the MAC bowl selection process and could have chosen Kent State, which may have caused problems for the league getting seven teams into bowls.
Steinbrecher said in a conference call late Sunday that, once it was confirmed Northern Illinois would advance to the BCS, the LCPB instead chose "second" behind the GoDaddy.com Bowl, which allowed the latter to choose Kent State. From there the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl could have chosen Ball State, probably the MAC's third-best bowl team, or Toledo, one of the schools closest to the bowl and probably its best draw in terms of fan support.
But Ball State was the carrot that drew the Beef 'O' Brady Bowl into play, and Toledo will make the trip to Boise to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. And the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl selected ... Central Michigan.
With all due respect to the folks in Mt. Pleasant, my guess is that, if you made a list of the 72 bowl-eligible teams ranked in order of desirability, Central Michigan would have been No. 72. For the Chips to make a bowl bid is a head-shaker. Yes, it took Louisiana Tech playing a game of chicken ... and driving over a cliff. And Middle Tennessee -- despite an 8-4 record that was better than Western Kentucky's 7-5 mark thanks to the Blue Raiders head-to-head win over the Hilltoppers -- was snubbed as well ... perhaps because it is leaving the Sun Belt for Conference USA? But it happened, and now CMU is heading to Ford Field after Christmas.
Click here if you want to read the ESPN story on how Louisiana Tech missed out on a bowl game. And click here if you want to read the story on how Middle Tennessee missed out on a bowl game from the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Which of those news tidbits regarding the MAC was the biggest surprise on bowl announcement day? Click on the poll located in the upper right-hand corner of this page and VOTE!
- OK, back to Bowling Green ... something to remember for BGSU fans: If you plan to buy tickets, your best bet is to buy them from the school to help the school. The reason is simple, and it is based on bowl economics.
When a school is invited to a bowl, part of the school's responsibility is to sell a certain number of tickets. Generally, it's also a very HIGH certain number of tickets. So fans of the Falcons will be encouraged to buy them from the school to help sell as much as possible. A bowl school generally has to purchase the tickets -- even the ones it doesn't use -- so buying from the school helps lessen that financial burden.
- Speaking of tickets, even BG fans who aren't going to the game can help both the school and a good cause. The Military Bowl donates tickets to active-duty troops and their families through a partnership with the USO and USO-Metro.
According to the bowl's web site, over the past two years the Military Bowl has provided 10,000 free tickets to active-duty troops and their families through its partnership with the USO and USO-Metro. If you do not plan to attend the game, please consider buying tickets to donate to those families. If you purchase them through the school web site, you help BG reach its bowl allotment and help military families in the Washington D.C. area attend the game.
My guess is that they wouldn't mind wearing a little orange and brown -- and no black -- to show their thanks! Sorry, couldn't resist.
- If BG fans were looking for a place to take a quick holiday vacation, they would be hard-pressed to find a place as interesting as Washington D.C. Click here to view a schedule of events during the team's stay in Washington.
I have had several people tell me that the Military Village and tailgate on the Armory Mall before the game is especially impressive.By the way, take a second to read this column from bowl selection Sunday written by The Blade's Dave Hackenberg.