College football fans, here's a bowl full of ponderings to digest

In case you're not coalitioned out already,these ruminations as we contemplate the college bowl season:

Could we have a better appetizer than Ball State taking on Utah State in the Las Vegas Bowl just 10 days hence?


Do they still play this one next to the pool at Caesars Palace, or has it been moved to the waterfall and erupting volcano over at the Mirage, like everything else?

* It certainly would have been sporting if Florida State was required to do a bit more than simply show up at the Orange Bowl New Year's Day night to claim its first national championship.


With all due (dis)respect to No. 1 Nebraska, when are those folks going to get the idea that a passing quarterback isn't a luxury but a necessity in this day and age, and flying-wedge football doesn't hack it outside the Big Eight?

There's no truth to the rumor that it took oddsmakers 30 seconds to establish the Seminoles as a 17-point favorite. It was much closer to a minute.

* For reasons not readily apparent to the reasonably logical mind, Notre Dame is on the outside looking in. One thing the shanghai job on the Irish does do is gladden at least half the country.

Strange, isn't it, how Florida State has been forgiven its one stumble (against Notre Dame) while the Irish weren't forgiven theirs (against Boston College)?

Is B.C. a Division III school, or are the Eagles in the NAIA?

* If, as West Virginia coach Don Nehlen has been insisting all season, unbeaten teams should gravitate to the top of the rankings, how come Penn (10-0) put all its gear away a couple of weeks ago?

Like the Mountaineers, the Quakers probably would have swamped Temple, too.

* Six teams with 6-5 records are required to perform yet one more time, most of their scholar-athletes expressing resentment that they're being deprived of getting to those calculus, physics and chemistry books.


* ESPN will do 11 of the 20 bowl games between Dec. 17 and the end of the year, and the viewing audience probably wouldn't protest if the announcing team of Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson did all of them. The Jim Nantz-Bob Griese sound-alikes do fine work.

* As though Kentucky's 6-5 mark and also-ran status in the SEC aren't bad enough, the Wildcats are coming off a 48-0 pounding in their last game. What could help in their Peach Bowl debacle is that the opponent, Clemson, doesn't have a coach, does it?

* Wait just a moment! North Carolina State, which lost to Duke, is in the Hall of Fame Bowl? Heck, Maryland beat Duke.

* Why aren't No. 3 (snicker) West Virginia and No. 4 Notre Dame matched, instead of playing teams from down the rankings, Texas A&M; (7) and Florida (8)?

The lads from Morgantown, W. Va., opted for the Sugar Bowl, because it pays teams $1 million more than the Cotton Bowl. Which immediately should lead to the payouts being equal in the big bowls so the opponent, not fiscal responsibility, is the prime consideration.

And what's a team from the colder climes doing picking a game indoors over the good ol' sleet and wind of East Texas even if the dough is better?


* To stop all this noise about how unfair it would be if unbeaten Nebraska wasn't in the biggie, why not have those sloggers play West Virginia in Green Bay or somewhere with the winner being assured a share of the national title.

At least it would free up the two best teams, the 'Noles and Irish, to stage a replay of that Nov. 13 "Game of the Century" in South Bend at a neutral sire.

* Someday it's going to happen: The top-ranked team will hail from the Big Ten or the Pac-10. And with the Rose Bowl missing from the Coalition, all this maneuvering will be to determine No. 2.

Which, when you think about it, would probably suit the situation this year. More than a few think there's no No. 1 this season, but about a half-dozen No. 2s.

* Gee, the SEC championship game didn't hold up long as a dynamite attraction, did it? Only 60,000 bothered to show up at 83,000-seat Legion Field in Birmingham Saturday for the Alabama-Florida game.

No doubt most of those missing couldn't tear themselves away from the spine-tingling Army-Navy debacle up at the Meadowlands.


* A whopping two-thirds of the 62 coaches voting selected Nebraska as the top team, and only one went for Notre Dame while West Virginia got seven votes. Tell me the only time these guys see a team is when it's an upcoming opponent, and then it's via game film.

* In case you're wondering, the Carquest Bowl (Boston College vs. Virginia) is the "old" Blockbuster Bowl, which flourished for what, two years?