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Face the Facts: Why Your Favorite Major Bowl Game Is Overrated

The Orange Bowl? Please, more like the Citrus Scab Bowl!

The Dallas Cowboys aren’t hiring Dan Mullen. That’s good news for Mullen. Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

After going after your favorite Nebraska fast-food restaurants, your favorite national fast food chain, your favorite frozen pizza chain, your favorite national pizza chain, and your favorite regional pizza chain. We’ve moved on past food and onto football now. On Saturday I listed off why your favorite lower tier bowl game is a dud. Today I bring you the criticism of your favorite major bowl (CFP, NY6, and the top two non-NY6 bowls for the B1G).

Sugar Bowl

Lions-Saints October 2017
Kevin Knight

New Orleans is great. The Super Dome is both historic and an important rallying symbol for the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. However, let’s be harshly honest for a moment: it is an old structure build during an era of multi-purpose stadiums and the awful sight-lines reflect that era. I have been to a Lions-Saints game at the Superdome, and whoo-boy is that one stadium filled with awful views of the field. In no way am I detracting from the importance of the building to New Orleans, and nothing is perfect in this world. When you’re paying the huge bucks that come with a NY6 (or CFP) bowl, though, the least you can do is get a decent view of the field, and way too many seats here aren’t that.

If that isn’t bad enough, you probably will have too blurred of vision at the game anyways from your long day on Bourbon Street or one of the many other bars in the crescent city pregaming the late kickoff. What idiot decided that the last game of the night should be scheduled in one of the biggest drinking cities in America?!

Orange Bowl

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Wisconsin vs Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a fantastic idea: put a huge stadium in a location as difficult to get to as possible from the two big tourist destination in the Miami-Dade metro area! I am not pretending like this stadium should be on a beach somewhere or anything, people. I am well aware of how both real estate and flood plains in hurricane prone areas function. Seriously, though, this stadium is about as far from both South Beach and Fort Lauderdale as you can possibly get. Way to cater to the fans who obviously look forward to the beach trip this destination offers.

I will admit that Hard Rock Cafe Stadium is certainly an upgrade over the dump that was the original Orange Bowl, but putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t really add much in the overall scheme of things. That is probably why this bowl game is so pathetic that it only has the ACC as its sole official conference tie-in since 1996. How pathetic.

Cotton Bowl Classic

Michigan St. vs. Baylor, Jan. 1, 2015
Kevin Knight

Who actually says these words: “Oh man, I get to go to Dallas for new years!”?! Seriously, who in their right mind actually thinks of Dallas as a top destination for their holidays? Sure, you may have family located in that general area as I do. Maybe you are from there even and it’s a nice enough place I suppose. But be honest here, who actually wants to waste one of the top travel holidays of the year to go to . . . north central Texas? When I went to the Cotton Bowl in 2015, it was freezing rain throughout the game. NY6 bowl games are supposed to be sunny beach trips. Dallas is as equally appealing in that regard as freaking Detroit people (if you’re a Delta loyalist over American, Detroit is more appealing in fact).

As for the stadium? Well, yeah, Jerry Jones sure built a stunning piece of sports architecture for himself. That is nice and all, but could we get a smaller video board so I can actually enjoy the game on the field? It is so bright and obnoxious it literally distracts you at times from the actual game. Maybe I am in the minority finding it a negative, but there you have it. Oh, and on the way out after the stunning comeback for the win, I decided I wanted to buy a souvenir cup. Even though the game was over, I was in the lounge for the suites, and they were throwing away the cups after this anyways, the guy charged my for a drink in order to get one. Sure I was willing to, but was that really necessary?!

Michigan St. vs. Baylor, Jan. 1, 2015
Kevin Knight

Peach Bowl

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl - Auburn v Central Florida Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Did you know the Scott Frost coached UCF Knights won the 2017 National Championship in the Peach Bowl after beating Auburn? Of course you all did. That is about the nicest thing I can muster regarding the Peach Bowl. Other fun facts? It is the ninth-oldest bowl game. *Slow clap. Good for you Peach Bowl! It took until 2005 for the bowl to host two top-ten opponents. 2,00-freaking-5 people! Great, the game had a lot of people attend during the BCS era, and it made a lot of money. It’s conference tie-in’s? The ACC and SEC, both conveniently located close to Atlanta. Not difficult to make money with those conferences prior to the CFP implementation. That is just sad how unimportant this bowl game was in the national landscape for pretty much all of its history.

Fiesta Bowl

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
Helping Clemson cheat since 2019!
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Terrible refs aside, the Phoenix area is perfectly nice to visit I suppose. The history of the Fiesta Bowl? Not so much. From the 1996 BYU snub, to the 2010 “separate-but-equal” controversy, to the almost $50,000 of illegal campaign contribution kickbacks revealed in a 2009 leak by bowl employees, this bowl certainly has an ugly underbelly the likes of which its fellow NY6 members do not compete.

Rose Bowl

Yeah, this is the only bowl game not actually overrated.

100th Rose Bowl
Kevin Knight

Honestly, I am not going to be reading comments. I know you will all disagree with this, and I couldn’t care less about your wrong, terrible, no good, blasphemous opinions. The Big Ten is obsessed with tradition. You are all competent adults and have been in this conference for almost a decade by now. Just because you aren’t part of that long standing tradition of a successful season being capped off by that hard earned trip to sunny southern California on New Year’s Day does not mean it isn’t straight forward enough to understand the love of tradition around it.

Here is where Nebraskans come at Big Ten lifers with your idiotic response of “the Rose Bowl wasn’t playing for a national title!” Well, until the, what, 1970’s roughly, bowl games didn’t affect titles. That’s almost half of the lifetime of the Rose Bowl. “Well, we played for national titles, and if that isn’t what you want then why have a program?!” Okay, sure, so why do we have 130 FBS programs because only a handful have a shot at a title anyways. If you want to think of yourselves as better than everyone else in the conference because you don’t cherish a long standing tradition in a season where the Rose Bowl is still up for grabs even if you fall short of the CFP (and the playoffs aren’t also in the Rose that season) then go right ahead. I hope your scrooge attitude helps you sleep at night because that is a terrible attitude to have towards sports.

As for my own experience at the Rose Bowl, it was hands down the highlight of my college football fandom. While Husker Mike loves to rant and rave about how terrible his experience there was, my own could not be more night and day different. I have also occasionally reminded him the stadium itself received a decades-long, $183 million renovation since his long ago visit.

I went to the parade that morning and had an easy trip into the grand stands to watch. Afterwards, we made an incredibly quick and simply drive up to the stadium where we tailgated all afternoon until heading into the game. We had no issues at the security checkpoint. I am sure it being well after 9/11 they, like the rest of the country, figured out security long before January 1, 2014. I suppose maybe someone who suffers from claustrophobia may have found the crowds in the tunnels in and out of the seats to be a problem, but even having been to state of the art brand new NFL stadiums, I wonder how anyone who attends sporting events could find the crowd here literally any different than in those venues which at peak pre-and-post-game moments are filled to the brim with crowds. I also found the seating to be just as spacious there as anywhere, though I am using reviews from others I know that were in bleacher seats as I had stadium seating close to the field myself.

Now I will gripe I suppose that when I went there were budget cuts in place that kept the traditional B2 flyover grounded, and that sucked. However, you can’t beat a competitive match-up that marches into the late moments of the game and the sunset falls on the San Gabriel Mountains. I have been to a lot of college and professional stadiums in my still fairly short life on this earth, and that view is not beaten by anywhere else to date for me.

Then there is the joy of actually winning the Rose Bowl. Sure, the 2013 season was my Michigan State Spartans’ first return to the glory land in 25 years. We still are the winning-est program in the B1G with a 4-1 overall Rose Bowl record, and five trips isn’t awful. I mean, it could be worse. Michigan has gone to the Rose Bowl four times since the BCS era began, and Nebraska just once (and is 0-2 overall). Michigan manged to go 1-3 during that era, losing all three by a combined 30 points. Nebraska went once and lost their single game by 23 points. Even Purdue, Northwestern, and Minnesota are all 1-1 at least, while Illinois is 3-2 and Iowa 2-4. Overall MSU is actually one of only three programs from the Big Ten with a winning record, Ohio State’s 8-7 record being the third to go along with Illinois. So laugh it up all you want, but we are tied with Illinois for fifth most appearances in the conference and hold the best winning percentage out of all B1G and PAC-12 members. Fun trivia, out of teams that have been at least three or more times, MSU is tied with Alabama for the best winning percentage as both are 4-1 overall.

College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Name one season where all three games have been good. Go ahead, I’ll wait . . . That’s right, there weren’t any. Oregon slaughtered Florida State in the opening semi-final of the playoff era, then got killed by Ohio State. MSU got blanked and Oklahoma lost by 20 the next season. Ohio State got blanked and Washington got killed in 2016. The 2017 season saw Clemson get demolished by a Bama team that shouldn’t have qualified setting up an SEC title game that nobody wanted and shouldn’t have happened. 2018 they let in God Damn Notre Dame who got leveled by Clemson. Then 2019 we once again had Oklahoma in to then get slaughtered 63-28. Just because it is better than what was does not make it actually good. Overall the CFP has been a nice change, but it has been far from great and leaves a good amount of BS inducing head-scratchers from the selection committee each season.

BCS System

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame v Ohio State Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Just because it died the necessary death following the conclusion of the 2013 season doesn’t mean it isn’t still worth mocking as overrated. The 2012 BCS Title Game is all that needs to be said. The LSU Tigers being forced to play Bama yet again for the title was utter and complete bullshit. This is the same reason the Big XII title game and the 2017 CFP title game are stupid. In almost no scenario are two teams who are competitive with each other likely to not flip the result. You are making the season not matter. However, that wasn’t the only pathetic excuse for a scenario to occur. The 2002 BCS Title Game, 2005, 2010, and really even the final 2014 game arguably. In the end the BCS system died a necessary death after dumbly trying to solve a problem in a way that was only ever destined to make it even worse than the system prior to it.

Citrus Bowl

Hogwarts Castle, Universal Studios
Kevin Knight

Camping World Stadium and a trip to Orlando over the holidays is so lame of a bowl trip, I decided to rip on it twice! I do not have any fresh commentary to add here, but merely just want to reiterate that your season ended not good enough to qualify for a NY6 bowl. Instead, enjoy the thousands and thousands of dollars your wallet will suddenly lose to take the family to this bowl game.

Outback Bowl

Okay, so you get to enjoy the beaches of Tampa at least. However, if you end up here then that means you were not only not good enough to make a NY6, but you also got screwed out of the Citrus Bowl because a Big Ten team either made the Orange Bowl, thus preventing a B1G team from making the Citrus, or you also weren’t good enough to make the Citrus. Congratulations on your successfully mediocre nine-ish win season. Sure, that beats a losing season, but you still either lost to your rival or to a crappy team you shouldn’t have at some point.


How great is the Rose Bowl?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Granddaddy of them all
    (50 votes)
  • 7%
    Better than Christmas morning
    (6 votes)
  • 7%
    Worth sacrificing your first born to attend once in your life
    (6 votes)
  • 20%
    Literally the best thing to ever happen to football
    (16 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now

Also, please remember these are fun, tongue-in-cheek reviews. I am generally criticizing every bowl for its perceived flaws, not complimenting all its positives. Just because I make fun of a bowl game doesn’t mean I wouldn’t actually prefer my team to get an invite to that very bowl.