The 2012/13 college football season and bowl games are now history. From a Southerner’s perspective, things turned out pretty well.
The University of Alabama crushed undefeated Notre Dame by a score of 42-14 to win the National Championship. That makes seven national titles in a row for football teams of the Southeastern Conference.
Other SEC teams winning were Vanderbilt, Georgia, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Texas A & M (who proved that, without a doubt, they are SEC- and nationally competitive).
Not doing as well in the SEC were Florida, Mississippi State, and Louisiana State University. Other Southern teams did well, including Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Florida State.
However, there are two things about the bowl seasons that I detest. The first is the corporate sponsor takeover of the games. I don’t mind a bowl game being something like: “The Sugar Bowl – sponsored by Allstate,” but does it have to be the Allstate Sugar Bowl?
And then there’s the Discover Orange Bowl and the Hyundai Sun Bowl. The Little Caesar’s Bowl sounds like a salad, not a football game. What used to be the Peach Bowl is now the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
And some of the so-called bowls just have ridiculous names, such as the Godaddy.com Bowl, the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, and on it goes.
I can just imagine that, years down the road, grandchildren asking their grandpa, “Were you in a bowl game when you played college football at Arizona State?” and Gramps throwing out his chest and saying, “Yep.” “We beat Navy 62-28 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl!”
It just doesn’t sound the same as a player who could once say, “I played in the Rose Bowl.”
The other thing that bothers me is the selection of teams who have no place in a bowl game. Bowl games were meant to showcase those outstanding teams who, after a season of accomplishment, were featured in a prestigious post-season contest with other teams of like status.
Certainly, most fit the bill this year but not all. Southern Methodist had a 6-6 record before playing Fresno State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Had they lost, they would have had a losing record.
Duke actually did end with a 6-7 record following their loss in the Belk Bowl. Virginia Tech had a 6-6 record on the regular season and managed to escape with a winning season following their narrow victory over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Rice and Air Force both entered their bowl game against each other with not-quite-losing 6-6 records in something called the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Why Georgia Tech, at 6-7, having finished the regular season with a losing record, was offered a bowl game I can’t imagine. It worked for them, though, and they managed to scrape out a winning season by defeating USC. Iowa State and Purdue were not so lucky, each finishing with losing records.
Frankly, in my humble opinion, there are too many bowl games with too many sub-standard teams. Hopefully, a national playoff system will eliminate or reduce some of these sad affairs.
In the meantime, I will savor the reality that Southeastern Conference football dominates the college football scene and dream of a day when the Tennessee Volunteers will, once again, stand on top the heap. Hey, it could happen!
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org). He may contacted at email@example.com.]