2016-17 CFB Bowl Game Superlatives
Tis the season for college football... loads and loads of it. As the holiday season fills the air in your homes, random bowl games at random times featuring random teams in random places will fill your television, and you will watch every second of it. Every second of great games featuring mediocre teams, and mediocre games featuring great teams. There really is no other time in sports like the college football bowl season. It is fun, bizarre, sometimes boring, but often times ...
Tis the season for college football... loads and loads of it. As the holiday season fills the air in your homes, random bowl games at random times featuring random teams in random places will fill your television, and you will watch every second of it. Every second of great games featuring mediocre teams, and mediocre games featuring great teams.
There really is no other time in sports like the college football bowl season. It is fun, bizarre, sometimes boring, but often times exhilarating, and you cannot quite figure out why you find yourself glued to the TV watching a 6-6 MAC team play. That's the glamor of bowl season. That's the glamor of college football.
Much like the end of a school year at a high school, college football hands out awards to those who have been the most successful. I'm not going to do that (because I'm not nearly qualified enough to make those kinds of decisions), but I am going to do something that high school's also do at the end of the school year. Anyone who ever got a yearbook (or annual) had a page in there that was dedicated to "Senior Superlatives", such as "Most likely to succeed", or "Most attractive", here's my take on that.
To help ripen the mood, and prepare your eyes for 41 games (yes, 41 bowls) of indulgence, I present to you: 2016-17 CFB Bowl Game Superlatives
Best Location: Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau, Bahamas)
Although this bowl typically features less than stellar opponents, it has been surprisingly competitive during it's young history (see Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan in 2014). Forget about the game though... is there any better escape from the cold, winter weather of December than playing in the beautiful tropical island of the Bahamas? This game typically falls on December 23rd or 24th, and what better way to spend the Christmas holiday than in paradise.
Worst Location: Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Alabama)
So you went out and had a successful enough season to get to a bowl game. You expect to be rewarded with the perks of a fun time and game in a destination location. How about a trip to Montgomery, Alabama for your reward? At least a recent $10 million renovation to the Cramton Bowl (where the game is played) might be enough to peak the interest of players and fans from Appalachian State and Toledo.
Worst Bowl Game Name: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
How about that mouthful of a name? I would loathe being the play-by-play guy for this game, and having to say that bowl name numerous times during the broadcast. Many times this game is simply referred to as just the "Poinsettia Bowl", but when a sponsorship is involved the full name (for obvious reasons) must be stated. Outside of the name, this year's game should be a relatively competitive matchup featuring the Mountain West Conference runner-up Wyoming and BYU.
Best Sponsor: Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Who doesn't love buffalo wings? Or at least some version of chicken wings slathered in a sauce of your choice. Making a bowl game always comes with some sort of perks for players and coaches, specifically from the title sponsor of that particular bowl. In 2014 Sports Illustrated reported that participants of the Outback Bowl were served nearly 5,000 pounds of food from Outback Steak House, and one would assume a similar delectable spread of food would be catered to those participating in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. That sounds awesome.
Best Coaching Matchup: PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (Ohio State vs. Clemson)
Urban Meyer versus Dabo Swinney. One coach has an ultra-dry personality, the other has perhaps the most vibrant personality in college football. Here's one thing both coaches have in common: They are absolutely phenomenal at what they do, and have been able to have sustained on-field success. With each having a top-flight, dual-threat quarterback at their disposal, the prowess of these offensive minded coaches should be on display in this highly anticipated CFB Playoff semifinal game.
Best Uniform Matchup: Capital One Orange Bowl (Michigan vs. Florida State)
These two programs have only played each other twice in their storied history, and what a shame that is. Each team boasts one of the great color schemes in all of college football, and getting the opportunity to see them on the field at the same time will be a definite treat for viewers. Not to mention that this game (at least on paper) should be outstanding one with Florida State's athletes matching up against a pesky Michigan defense.
Least Anticipated Bowl: Outback Bowl (Florida vs. Iowa)
Picking on a bowl game like the New Orleans Bowl or the New Mexico Bowl would have been too easy, so I'm going with a game featuring more marquee teams. Both the Gators and Hawkeyes's offenses are less than stellar, as both averaged only 23 points per game in conference play this season. Much of Florida's struggles on offense were due to a lack of consistent productivity at the QB position, especially when Austin Appleby has been under center. For Iowa, a lack of overall playmakers has lead to many of their offensive woes. There is no way around it, poor offensive execution makes for a boring brand of football, and with both of these teams sporting solid defenses, that is exactly what we are going to see in the Outback Bowl.
Most Anticipated Bowl: The Rose Bowl Game (USC vs. Penn State)
This bowl could also qualify for "Best Uniform Matchup", but there's even more at stake in this one. The game dubbed as the "Granddaddy of them all" features perhaps the two hottest teams in college football (other than Alabama, who hasn't really cooled off). Penn State comes in riding a 9-game winning streak, including having just won their first outright Big 10 championship since 1994. USC comes in as winners of their last 8 games, and it has been said by many analysts that the Trojans may be playing as well as any other team in the country right now. We should also see some extreme motivation from both teams entering this game too, as Penn State believes they were slighted a chance at the CFB Playoffs, and USC is out to continue to prove that this season's 1-3 start in no way reflects how great this team is now.
The college football bowl season starts Saturday, December 17th with an entire day of games for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Brooks Carter is a Co-Host of 3 Point Stance, covers Friday Night Football, and is a sports writer for WRCB-TV. You can follow him on Twitter @BrooksACarter