Yeah, we are North Dakota State and … we are completely overlooked.
The college football bowl season (like it or hate it) provides copious amounts of sports television opportunities during the holidays. Out of the 35 games played, 34 really don’t matter in terms of the national championship. Because of this, the other 34 games are slugging it out for media attention that just is not there. Here are some things that were overlooked.
11. Inflating attendance numbers
UNLV and North Texas were playing on New Year’s Day in the Heart of Dallas Bowl and people appeared to not get the memo. The game was on ESPNU so even the Worldwide Leader thought little of a Conference USA/Mountain West duel. Can’t blame ESPN as bigger bowl games were going on.
Only 38,380 showed up despite the contest being a virtual home game for North Texas. That didn’t keep North Texas from boasting about it.
Great crowd? Maybe for a Conference USA school but for a New Year’s Day bowl game that’s a sad turnout. I hope this bowl changes its date for the future years.
10. UNLV’s useless stat
UNLV also made a silly tweet during the game. With the scored tied at half 7-7 the Rebels went deep into the stat book and came out with this gem.
Talk about small sample size. One game makes it stat worthy? Sounds like the athletic department was bored and was trying to get out as many statistics as possible. Needless to say, UNLV was outscored 29-7 in the second half for a 36-14 defeat.
9. Team photos
Part of the bowl preparation for each team is tacking new team photos. Few tend to be noteworthy or even eye appealing, but this one from Iowa at the Outback Bowl is. How many times do you see a football team by a pirate ship?
8. Conference USA plays connect the dots
Part of the problem of being a mid-major conference is educating fans who you are. Most Americans can’t name three Conference USA schools so what does the conference do to promote its bowl games? Make a graphic a kindergartner can understand and post it as the cover photo on your Facebook page.
To passionate football fans this somewhat makes sense. To non football fans it looks like Captain Jack Sparrow is going deep.
Not sure if this is genius or incredible infantile. Probably both. Nice marketing? Maybe? Conference USA would go a respectable 3-3 in bowl season.
7. People freaking out on the SEC
A few bowl games did receive attention especially the Sugar Bowl involving SEC powerhouse Alabama. With Alabama’s defeat to Oklahoma, people on social media began unleashing jabs at the “overrated” SEC. The stats fail to back that claim up. Prior to the championship game, the SEC has gone an impressive 7-2 in bowls. Compare that to the Big 10, (2-5) and you’ll see there is nothing overrated about the best conference in college football.
6. ESPN vs. Fox
Moving to more of a media debate, Friday night saw Fox going head to head with ESPN as it aired the Cotton Bowl against the Orange Bowl. It was really the first time where the whole Fox/ESPN rivalry became more than a joke. Following the game, Sports Center did everything it could to bury the Cotton Bowl behind the Orange. I would love to see Fox broadcast more of these bowl games next year and make ESPN work for it. ESPN has been upsetting the past few years not using ABC at all. They are the same Disney company but only one bowl game aired on ABC. Network television is still carries more weight than cable and shame on Disney for not using ABC.
5. New Commercials
The Super Bowl is the big event for advertisers, but bowl season has some firepower too. Sadly, there was more bad than good.
The ugly: Any commercial for AT&T and Chevy trucks.
The bad: Rally’s featuring Terrell Owens and the infinite promos for ABC’s new show “Killer Women.”
The Good: Lay’s potato chips featuring Mr. Potato Head. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad spot with a Mr. Potato Head endorsement. I also saw this Interstate Batteries spot for the first time and it made me chuckle.
4. Buffalo loves spuds
Bowl games are suppose to be a rewarding experience to the players for a winning season. The exception being the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. That’s just pure torture. When you see the program you can tell what you’re in for.
Buffalo tried to have fun with it. Even wearing potato hats to get in the spud mood.
Buffalo would go on to lose to San Diego State 49-24. Not that anyone cared.
3. Non BCS spoilers flop
Northern Illinois and Fresno State were undefeated deep into the regular season and had BCS hopes. Late losses prevented that dream for both teams but they could make up for it in the bowl game. Not so much. Northern Illinois was blasted by Utah State and Fresno State was non competitive against USC. It was a bad reflection on the rest of the Non Automatic Qualifiers.
2. Awkward press conferences
Losing a bowl game stinks, but rubbing salt in the wound would be this scene at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Bowling Green had a tough loss to Pittsburgh yet had to stare at the trophy it lost in the press conference. Just brutal.
Those faces are common for the loser of a bowl game and they tell you two things.
1. “This blows”
2. These “meaningless” bowl games matter.
1. North Dakota State repeats as FBS Champs for the third straight year.
No. 1 is not about a bowl, it’s about a national title. The Bison dominated everyone in the FCS playoffs including Towson in the title game. North Dakota State’s three-peat is absolutely incredible. The program shows the value of competing in the FCS level as opposed to breaking the bank in the FBS.
Even more shocking is its coach Craig Bohl, after his third FCS crown he is finally leaving for a FBS job. The prestigious job of … Wyoming? The Wyoming Cowboys?
Where are all the BCS schools looking for quality coaches? Bohl is everything a booster or athletic director should want in a coach. A consistent winner. As high profile jobs like Texas and USC come off the board, I can’t help but wonder how broken the coaching carousel is. Saying FCS coaches should spend time at a lower level FBS schools before going to the big boys is a fallacy. North Dakota State defeated Kansas State this season. A Kansas State team that pummeled Michigan in it’s bowl game. He has built a team that can compete against anyone with only a fraction of the budget FBS juggernauts have.
Look for Bohl to build Wyoming into the new powerhouse of the Mountain West Conference soon. His coaching skills will not be overlooked for long.