Okay, they're not the Rose Bowl: I admit it, only true college football junkies will realize that today kicks off the bowl season. I'm going to try to make these two games sound like each one is for the national championship, so please forgive the hyperbole.
New Mexico Bowl, Albequerque, New Mexico: Arizona, Pac-12 (7-5) vs. Nevada, Mountain West (7-5)
Both of these teams can score a lot of points, so look for an exciting, high scoring game. Arizona, under first year coach Rich Rodriguez, is trying to lay the groundwork for an improved season next year. Nevada will be trying to pull the upset over a BCS conference team. Neither team plays much defense. It should be a good watch, but I have to go with Arizona on this one. Arizona 41 Nevada 35
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (seriously, I'm not making this up), Boise, Idaho: Utah St., Western Athletic Conference, (10-2) (BCS rank 22) vs. Toledo, Mid-American Conference, (9-3)
This game will be played on the blue turf at Boise St. University. I could go crazy with the puns on this one, but I'll spare you. Utah State had a terrific season while Toledo comes from what is probably the most under-rated conference in the country. Utah State's two losses came when their offense sputtered against Wisconsin and BYU. They held the Badgers to sixteen points in a two point loss and could only manage a field goal in a 6-3 loss to BYU. Toledo opened the season at Arizona with a 24 - 17 setback and then reeled off eight wins in a row, including a big win against previously unbeaten Cincinnati. But Utah State got their offense going late in the year, while Toledo stumbled a bit. I'm taking Utah State in this one. Utah State 38 Toledo 34.
College Football Merry-Go-Round: Every year at this time there is a lot of conversation about the impact of college coaches taking other jobs before their contracts have expired. This year it was even reported that Tommy Tubberville at Texas Tech actually left a restaurant full of recruits on his way to taking the job at Cincinnati. I'm not sure what really transpired, but it certainly made for a good story. However, the bigger college football becomes, the more money is at stake, especially in the coaching ranks. I'm not sure what can be done. The only ones that seem to be left out of the money grab are the very ones performing on the field. Should the NCAA step in make it imperative that coaches have to fulfill their contracts? I'm not sure that will work either, since the schools can just do one year deals and have another arrangement that isn't necessarily made public or divulged to the NCAA. Even the big buyouts don't seem to act as a deterrent, given the appetite for boosters to pony up the money for top coaches. It's just incumbent on the kids and their parents to do the due diligence necessary and to make commitments to schools and programs as opposed to coaches. Even though I'm in favor of more restrictions on the movement of coaches, I just don't know how you make it work.
Hockey? Did someone say Hockey? Golly gee, I sure miss it...NOT!