College Football · NFL

Ranking the Bowl Games from First to Worst

Before we begin, let me just put this here:


That franchise is a complete mess.  This is coming from someone who lives, technically, in the Buffalo Bills area and knows how shitty a franchise can get.  So let me get this straight…the Chargers are moving to the fucking StubHub Center to play the 2017 season?  It only has about 30,000 seats!  I would laugh (out loud even) if they had a game where they didn’t sell out.  Why don’t they move to a city that actually wants a team and MAY be able to support it with their current infrastructure?  There has to be some city that at least has something in place to do that.  Instead they go to Los Angeles, a city that wants the Raiders back and gets the lowly Rams instead and it showed with their pathetic attendance totals.  What a gongshow.    I am starting to wonder if the NFL has reached its peak and will now come back to Earth a bit and not be the mega-league that can do whatever the hell they feel like and get away with it.

OK back to college football.  The bowl games are now over.  They have come and gone.  And me, being a bit of an idiot, watched at least a part of every game except the Arizona Bowl.  I don’t get MyTV anymore (downgraded my package so to speak) and wasn’t around to watch it live online.  I feel like I didn’t miss much there.  For other games, I was glad I watched all or nearly all of the game since we had a few epic bowl games that will be remembered for a long time (at least by college football fans).  Let’s get to the rankings shall we?

  1. National Championship (Clemson 35 Alabama 31) – What a game. You can argue whether this game or the 2006 Rose Bowl was the better national championship game and you wouldn’t be wrong on either side of the fence.  An absolute instant classic.  Deshaun Watson cemented his legacy in this one.  A great way to end a somewhat average year in college football.
  2. Rose Bowl (USC 52 Penn State 49) – Another awesome game. I, along with many others, figured this would be the best game of the bowl season and the national championship would be a letdown.  Expect both of these teams to be College Football Playoff contenders next season.
  3. Orange Bowl (Florida State 33 Michigan 32) – Yet another amazing game. The New Year’s Six this year was light years better than last year’s despite the fact the CFP semi-finals were pretty bad.  This had almost everything, including the Wolverines getting within one late with a returned extra point.  Almost anything Jim Harbaugh is involved in is worth watching and this was no exception.
  4. Birmingham Bowl (USF 46 South Carolina 39 (OT)) – I am amazed how good this game was. And at one point it looked like the Bulls had this one in the bag.  A furious Gamecock comeback sent it to overtime where USF ended up winning it.  For such a crappy bowl in a crappy stadium it was a fun watch.
  5. Armed Forces Bowl (Louisiana Tech 48 Navy 45) – This game came down to a walk-off field goal for the Bulldogs. I like option football to be honest (I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea) and Navy showed why they are the best in the biz at it (even over Georgia Tech).  But their defense was horrid which kept this game close much to the glee of, well, me (and a lot of other viewers).
  6. Idaho Potato Bowl (Idaho 61 Colorado State 50) – This game was scoreless through the first quarter. So they put 111 points on the board between them in the last three quarters.  That has to be a record.  Add in that it was one of the coldest games on record and that the blue turf was basically a skating rink made it that much more exciting.  Cherry on top of the bowl game sundae?  Idaho wins in their second-last season in FBS before moving DOWN to FCS.  All the insanity of college football in one game.  WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
  7. Sun Bowl (Stanford 25 North Carolina 23) – No McCaffrey? No problem.  CBS gets a gift with this amazing bowl game despite the fact it was missing a superstar and it was played in El Paso, a place no one seems to want to play.  This is all without an SEC team (for CBS’s sake) or a Big XII team (for El Paso’s local fans’ sake).  I still think the Browns are going to try their best to get their homegrown college star, Mitch Trubisky, to be the next QB for that god-awful franchise.
  8. Foster Farms Bowl (Utah 26 Indiana 24) – It’s nice to see CBS and FOX getting good games considering the crap they have to put up with at bowl time. Then again, most people seem to just expect every bowl game is on ESPN so I wonder how many people watched this one.  Indiana did their Hoosier thing and played the annoying pest to Utah’s person trying to swat the mosquito away.  Great game and it was close and it had GUS JOHNSON!
  9. Camellia Bowl (Appalachian State 31 Toledo 28) – A great game that was close from the opening gun. Also, two of the better Group of Five teams from the two conferences that tend to get left behind in the G-5 shuffle (Sun Belt and MAC).  This is the argument for keeping bowl games.
  10. Poinsettia Bowl (BYU 24 Wyoming 21) – A good game in San Diego. You can insert your own joke here about how rare that is.  This was played in FOOTBAW WEATHER as all the rain that the San Diego area gets in a year fell during this one game (or at least it felt that way).  Also, BYU is usually a fun (albeit sometimes too rough) team to watch and Wyoming’s resurgence under Craig Bohl (Game) was a nice heartwarming story.
  11. Cotton Bowl (Wisconsin 24 Western Michigan 16) – I think the lead-up to this game helped it a lot. It felt like we were just waiting for the Broncos to Row That Damn Boat and start their comeback.  When they finally did we felt the Broncos would then tie it up.  Alas, that didn’t happen but it showed that WMU was deserving of this spot and that Wisky will still be a tough out next season in the Big Ten.
  12. Dollar General Bowl (Troy 28 Ohio 23) – How is it that a dollar store can sponsor a bowl game? If, let’s say, Value Village decided to sponsor any game of this magnitude, I would assume it would be played on a not-so-well-manicured high school field with wooden bleachers.  Anyway, this was a good game.  Not great, but worth watching.
  13. Texas Bowl (Kansas State 33 Texas A&M 28) – To be honest, I really want to put this lower but I hear that it was a good game. Thanks to the colossal shitshow that occurred with TSN, Rogers, and Bell, none of us got to see this game.    Worst part is I still don’t know where to lay the majority of the blame but I am going with TSN at this point (which is surprising since, normally, TSN is really good with this).
  14. Heart of Dallas Bowl (Army 38 North Texas 31 (OT)) – Option football. And this was a rematch.  It was setup for (most) fans to look away.  Instead it was a pretty good game with a lot of intrigue.  And now I honestly wouldn’t mind Army joining the AAC.  I mean why not?
  15. Bahamas Bowl (Old Dominion 24 Eastern Michigan 20) – A team going to their first bowl game ever against a team going to their first bowl in 30 years. Great storylines for the media which turned into a fun game to watch.  Bobby Wilder alone pushes this game into the top 15.  He’s like the eastern seaboard P.J. Fleck.  Just like Fleck going to Minnesota will be good for college football, Wilder moving up the line will be good for college football as well (once it happens).
  16. Belk Bowl (Virginia Tech 35 Arkansas 24) – The absolute meltdown of the Razorbacks in this one was hilarious and sad to watch all at once. No one should lose a 24-0 lead in a bowl game ever.  It’s happened twice now in the last two seasons (let’s remember Oregon last season).  Bret Bielema is now on a VERY hot seat in Fayetteville and wishing he never left the Badgers (and all the cheese he could eat) in the Big Ten.
  17. Military Bowl (Wake Forest 34 Temple 26) – WAKEYLEAKS! It felt like it was brought up about a dozen separate times.  Honestly it was a pretty good game to watch with a near-Temple comeback.  It solidified that the Demon Deacons’ season wasn’t a fluke (and actually could have been better considering what occurred).
  18. Quick Lane Bowl (Boston College 36 Maryland 30) – If Maryland had taken the lead late, this game would have moved way up the list considering the Terrapins’ comeback in this one. Oh well, there’s probably not much more we can expect in a game between Boston College and Maryland in Detroit during the afternoon between Christmas and New Year’s.
  19. Pinstripe Bowl (Northwestern 31 Pittsburgh 24) – I remember a few years ago when they announced they would be playing a bowl game at Yankee Stadium. I thought it was a stupid idea at the time.  It has turned out to be one of the most consistently better bowl games in the past few years.  This year was no exception.
  20. St. Petersburg Bowl (Mississippi State 17 Miami-OH 16) – I hate putting this game this high on the list. I really do.  It is such a shitty bowl.  But it was a close game the entire time and the game was decided on a blocked field goal, giving the Bulldogs the W.  I still think that bowl game and the field itself should cease to exist.
  21. Liberty Bowl (Georgia 31 TCU 23) – It was close but never felt like that great a game. It was good because it was college football but not fantastic by any means.
  22. Holiday Bowl (Minnesota 17 Washington State 12) – P.J. Fleck is the right man to right the ship (pun VERY intended) in Minneapolis. It was a shitshow and I am almost angry they won after what the players (and Tracy Claeys) did earlier that week.  Plus what the hell happened to the vaunted Mike Leach offense we saw all season?
  23. New Mexico Bowl (New Mexico 23 UTSA 20) – The first bowl of the season (other than the wacky Celebration Bowl) was pretty good. I am surprised that they didn’t fill the stands for this one though.  Doesn’t make sense since the home team and a team from Texas were there.  It felt like there should have been more fans there.  A strike against the bowl system.
  24. Sugar Bowl (Oklahoma 35 Auburn 19) – After the Rose Bowl I was almost worn out. Auburn scoring a touchdown on the final play was very Gus Malzahn-y. If Jim Harbaugh had been the other coach, it would have been a brawl afterwards.
  25. Music City Bowl (Tennessee 38 Nebraska 24) – I sure hope this doesn’t spur the same reactions almost everyone had last year after Tennessee won their bowl game handily. Look, they will be good but don’t get a Sharpie and write them in as SEC East champs just yet.
  26. Peach Bowl (Alabama 24 Washington 7) – The first semi-final felt close for a while. Bama didn’t play that great and neither did the Huskies and you thought that maybe Washington has a chance.  Then the pick-six happened and you knew it was pretty much over so let’s get to the next game quickly.
  27. Boca Raton Bowl (Western Kentucky 51 Memphis 31) – I figured there would be more fight from the Tigers but the sheer amount of offense in this one makes up for it being a relatively boring game.
  28. New Orleans Bowl (Southern Miss 28 UL-Lafayette 21) – It was close but it came after a few not-so-great bowl games so interest (at least on my end) was relatively low. The Ragin’ Cajuns have to be sick of this bowl by now despite the fact it still gets decent fan attendance.
  29. Cactus Bowl (Baylor 31 Boise State 12) – Admittedly I didn’t watch much of this game once Baylor went up by a good margin. It felt weird to see the Bears win considering how the second half of their season went and how their program has been viewed in general.  It will take a few years for people to focus on the football aspect of things in Waco.
  30. Hawaii Bowl (Hawaii 52 Middle Tennessee 35) – This defense-optional matchup was fine if you like arena football-like scores but other than that?   Also, the stands were basically empty.  Can we scrap this game please?  If the home team can’t even bring in fans I don’t know what will.
  31. Citrus Bowl (LSU 29 Louisville 9) – Man that was rough to watch. Lamar Jackson looked terrible and the Tigers didn’t even blink an eye even with Leonard Fournette skipping this one.  So many fumbles by the Cardinals this season; it is actually surprising that they led the FBS in that category.  It truly shows how good Lamar Jackson was for most of the season to have to overcome that.
  32. Russell Athletic Bowl (Miami 31 West Virginia 14) – Is The U back? It sure looks like it.  You have to feel good for Mark Richt.  He has already done a great job in Miami and it’s only his first season.  I expect them to contend for the division title next year and, perhaps, finally closing it out and making their first trip to the ACC Championship.  Also, watching Drunk Uncle Dana go apeshit on the sideline is kind of fun to watch.
  33. TaxSlayer Bowl (Georgia Tech 33 Kentucky 18) – Kentucky has to consider this a successful season. Same with Georgia Tech.  Other than that, it was a game that was on while other bowl games were on as well.  Didn’t bode well for this one.
  34. Las Vegas Bowl (San Diego State 34 Houston 10) – I think the media would put this higher considering the Tom Herman saga and Donnel Pumphrey breaking (kind of) the NCAA all-time rushing yards record. But really?  The game sucked.
  35. Independence Bowl (NC State 41 Vanderbilt 17) – I am kind of a Vandy fan in a way. I always like to see them do well.  But they were awful here.  Not even Dancin’ Derek Mason could help the team out here.  And is NC State good?  Who knows.  Ask Wolfpack fans and you would get varying responses, all ending with “Fire Doeren.”
  36. Fiesta Bowl (Clemson 31 Ohio State 0) – This may be worse than Alabama’s drubbing of Michigan State last season. It was brutal and I stopped watching early in the fourth quarter since the game was already in hand.
  37. Arizona Bowl (Air Force 45 South Alabama 21) – I didn’t watch this game. Don’t get MyTV.  Wasn’t able to watch it live so watching it online wasn’t an option either.  However, saying all that, there were four games worse than one I didn’t even watch.  Yeah they were that bad and it’s an argument against more bowl games (or an argument for less bowl games than we have now).
  38. Alamo Bowl (Oklahoma State 38 Colorado 8) – The only reason a lot of people (including myself) continued to watch was to see if the Buffs could break the goose egg. And they did.  And then I turned it off because it was awful.
  39. Outback Bowl (Florida 30 Iowa 3) – I had rated this game lower than many online experts had. It gives me a small amount of satisfaction to say I was right.  This game sucked.  No surprise here.
  40. Miami Beach Bowl (Tulsa 55 Central Michigan 10) – I think the thing people were waiting for was to see if Tulsa would put up a 60-burger. They did not.  I wish they would just scrap this game.  It’s on in the afternoon on a weekday before Christmas.  Who the fuck thinks this is a good idea?
  41. Cure Bowl (Arkansas State 31 UCF 13) – All this game cured was people’s insomnia.

There you go.  We’re done.  And I am a bit sad.  But we still have some football.  Usually the best weekend of playoff football is upon us in the NFL with the Divisional Playoffs.  Enjoy the games everyone!


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