Ever since the BCS made one post season football game important, the other Bowl games have lost their relevance. Now we have three games that matter—the semis and the title game—and thirty-six bowl games that have outlived their use-by date.
In the typical bowl game, we see disinterested teams playing in empty stadiums. Many (most?) schools lose money on the games because of ticket purchase guarantees and logistics costs. Bowl organizers claim the games are good for local economies and charities but we’re a bit skeptical. If the games don’t matter and no one cares, and they cost the schools money, why are the games played? Because teams invited to bowls are allowed to practice for the games and those that aren’t invited aren’t allowed to practice. Because kids who didn’t see a lot of game time this year but will be important to the team next year, get experience in an exhibition game at the end of this season. So, bowl season is like an extra spring practice season and the coaches love it.
As a result, the team that is happiest to be in the bowl game, inevitably wins the bowl game. Such was the case in the Sugar Bowl where Texas had something to prove while Georgia players tweeted nonsensical insults at Oklahoma. (Notre Dame was the team that took Georgia’s place according to our assessment.)
You knew it was going to be a bad night when Bevo attempted to skewer Uga before the game. Uga has led a sheltered life and reportedly said of Bevo, “That’s the meanest and ugliest dog I’ve ever seen.”
Kirby Smart also knew it was going to be a bad night because his players had practiced poorly, unexcited by the prospect of playing in an unimportant game. Displaying courage and high integrity, Coach Smart played many third and fourth stringers instead of his more talented but less motivated guys, but they were no match for the energized and motivated players from Texas. And, thus, Georgia became this year’s Auburn, a good team embarrassed by a lesser team that wanted it more. Texas fans no doubt interpret their victory as a harbinger of great things to come, but they should temper their enthusiasm just a bit as they barely beat the rotted-out shell of a dispirited Georgia team.
LSU also avoided the mantle of this year’s Auburn by defeating the 2017 National Champions, UCF, (ha ha, ho ho, hee hee, just kidding) despite missing a third of its defense. Kuddos to Ed Orgeron and the Tigers for showing up and giving us one decent game on New Year’s Day. And, is there anyone tougher than Tiger QB Joe Burrow?
Congrats also go to Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, Texas A&M and Auburn for showing up and blasting opponents who weren’t interested in playing their games.
That leaves one game on the schedule, the championship game between Clemson and Alabama. Now that all of the stats are in and compiled and calculated, the RPG system has Clemson (101.01) slightly ahead of Alabama (99.20). Both are far ahead of #3 Oklahoma (89.22) so we have the game we deserve: the best against the best. According to our stats, Clemson has the country’s best defense and Bama is second. Bama has the second-best offense (behind Oklahoma) and Clemson is number five. Hopefully, both teams will show up.
For a complete list of bowl game grades and final rankings visit www.nemosnumbers.com. If you want to know how the numerical grades are calculated, find a copy of Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics wherever you buy books.