Sports Outside the Beltway

College Bowl Game Overload’s John Walters has an amusing column entitled “The Spirit of 7-6” on last night’s Emerald Bowl matchup between FSU and UCLA.

When did college football’s postseason become a walk-a-thon? When did two programs walking the .500 tightrope and with almost no chance of sniffing the final AP top 25 poll become worthy of a post-game podium and a trophy nearly as heavy as a female cheerleader?

Florida State (your ACC Atlantic Division 5th-place finisher) defeated UCLA (your Pacific-10 4th-place squad) 44-27 in the fifth annual Emerald Bowl this evening, thereby sending both teams home for the 2006 season with 7-6 records. There are 32 bowl games dotting your television listings between December 19th and January 8th, and the Emerald Bowl is definitely… one of them.


[T]he great drama in this evening’s game was whether Seminole head coach Bobby Bowden, now in his 31st season in Tallahassee, would finish the year sub-500 for the first time since his first season in Tallahassee. There’s more than one way to make history in a bowl game.

Indeed. I have, so far, watched zero of the bowl games. The college football season seemingly ended months ago and they’re still playing consolation games. Eventually, they will get around to playing the BCS Championship game, featuring teams that have been idle for weeks.

My Alabama Crimson Tide plays this afternoon in the Independence Bowl against Oklahoma State. Both teams had pathetic 6-6 seasons. Indeed, Alabama’s coach was fired seemingly ages ago and the Tide will be led by Interim Coach for Life Joe Kines.

Birmingham News writer Jon Solomon provides some statistics:

Seven 6-6 teams advanced to bowls this year, and four teams – including Oklahoma State – had only five victories against Division I-A opponents. Alabama and Miami added to their resumes with two victories each against winless teams.

Fifty-four percent of the 119 I-A teams are now in bowls. Television ratings and bowl payouts show there is interest.

One argument made for bowl games is they provide a reward to players for their season. Yet six-win seasons by Alabama and Miami rewarded their coaches with pink slips. “If we come out (today) with a win, I think it will be a mark for this team because we’ve been through it all,” Alabama running back Kenneth Darby said. “This season wasn’t perfect, but at least we come out with a 7-6 record. That would be a winning record, as far as I’m concerned.”

Bear Bryant wouldn’t agree, methinks. I suppose I’ll watch the game but, frankly, who really cares? Finishing 7-6 is hardly anything to cheer about.

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