I tend not to be of the mind that there are too many bowl games, but this year is really testing my patience. Even with my invitationals idea, I am not a fan of 5-7 teams having a post-season. I’m not especially in favor of 6-6 teams. It is a problem that you don’t always know how many teams are going to be bowl eligible, of course. Last year Texas State got burned and this year 5-7 teams are in. The ACC is advocating moving the cut-off to 7 wins with only enough 6-6 teams to fill remaining slots. That seems fair.

The second problem with this bowl season is that the Arizona Bowl will include two teams from the same conference and the Mountain West Conference is irate about it. Understandably so. The NCAA ruled that not only could 5-7 teams go to bowl games, but they would be able to go to their conference’s bowl games instead of being put in a “You’re lucky you’re going bowl game at all” pool. It is another instance of favoritism towards the major conferences at the expense of conferences like the MWC, though the odd thing is that the NCAA had decided not to play favorites when it came to which 5-7 teams could go bowling at all.

The bowl-conference arrangements are the biggest problem with my Invitationals idea, because the bowls have a lot riding on which teams will be showing and a 5-7 Texas is likely to make them more money than a 9-2 Toledo. Which makes doing things by merit difficult.

The Mountain West Conference has also made the news by contemplating an expansion, specifically with Rice and UTEP. My initial thought was that Rice seemed like a pretty decent idea for the MWC but a bad deal for Rice, but everyone is telling me that I am wrong.

I don’t think it would be a bad idea for Rice if they went with some other schools, but with only UTEP (800+ miles away) they are off on their own island. Rice has a decent brand, but relatively little following. It would be incredibly easy for them to drop off the map entirely. So while Rice would give the conference ammunition in their next TV deal and some academic prestige and adding two schools would allow the conference to put Boise State in the west, Rice would run a serious risk of sinking further into oblivion. Rice’s apparent interest, it seemed to me, was the frustration of being left behind during the last realignment when their peers (SMU, Tulsa, and Tulane) and their cross-town rival (Houston) all moved on while they were left behind. That sort of frustration can lead schools to believe that they have to do something even if that something is unwise.

However, cruising the message boards it’s pretty much the opposite. UTEP fans desperately want in (which is no surprise), Rice fans really like the idea, and MWC seem pretty staunchly against any expansion that doesn’t include either BYU or Houston. And to the extent that they are okay with expansion, they like UTEP a lot more than Rice. Which makes sense given the geography (El Paso being closer to San Diego than Houston) and history, I guess, but UTEP is a wreck right now and Rice+UTSA would actually make more sense. For Rice’s part, their fans really are desperate to escape their conference. For that matter, fans on Louisiana Tech’s message board want to go with them.

And after being told how wrong I am repeatedly, I’m coming around to the idea that it’s a good deal for Rice. So the ball would be in the MWC’s court.

It was sure looking like BYU was going to get the coach it wants in Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo. I’m not sure I remember the last time I’ve seen a coach speak publicly as glowingly as Niumatalolo speaks of the BYU job. But he declined. Apparently, BYU wanted him to abandon the offense that had lead to his success.

Bret Beliema is the worst. Over and over again, the worst.

Mark Richt really challenged my theory about fired coaches. As soon as Georgia canned him, his phone was seemingly ringing off the hook. The funny thing is that it wasn’t an especially curious fire. Richt had been underperforming at Georgia for years and years. On the other hand, that actually makes my theory less applicable to it. That Richt was fired for underperforming, and not for being a difficult person that the school was looking for a reason to fire instead of a reason to keep, it’s not surprising he had some good offers. None, though, as good as the one he was just fired from. It will be interesting to see how well he does at Miami, where (despite his being an alum) there may be a bit of a culture clash.

Former USC coach Steve Sarkisian really needs to keep his head low right now, sober up, and wait for a job to open up at Fresno State in a couple years.

I’m kind of jazzed about the Celebration Bowl, which will be the matchup between Alcorn State and North Carolina A&T of the SWAC and MEAC respectively, which are the two HBCU conferences. I mentioned a month ago that I wish they’d do something like this, not realizing they’d actually lined it up. (I never expect them to do what I think will be a good idea. Now I wish that the Ivy and Patriot Leagues would do something similar.

Category: Theater

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