Rivals.com has compiled its ranking of the 35 collegiate bowls for the 2010-2011 season. The New Mexico Bowl, where UTEP will square off against BYU, has been tabbed the worst bowl of all. In a way, it should be understandable. Both teams are 6-6, and neither has a win that's really worth mentioning. However, as the saying goes: you can't judge a book by its cover.
The sad part about this is that Rivals probably just got some random writer to throw a list together without having any real knowledge of each individual bowl game. Yes, the Miners and Cougars are not having their best year, but nothing can take away the history that has been made between these two schools. The schools competed for almost three decades in the WAC, and had some of the most heated battles that we have ever seen. Sure, much of the rivalry was made by the basketball teams, but perhaps UTEP's greatest football win ever came over defending national champion BYU in 1985.
On top of that the game will be played in Albuquerque. The proximity of Albuquerque to El Paso allows for a ton of Miner fans to make the trip, and its close enough for BYU to travel well also. The stadium is going to be rocking, the battle is going to be heated, and it should turn out to be a great game. For someone to sell this game short shows just a complete lack of knowledge on the part of that person.
This complete lack of knowledge is shown in the list itself. Every bowl game on the list is given a quick breakdown as to why it was ranked where it was. You know what the breakdown for the New Mexico Bowl was? And I quote "Not even being the first bowl of the season saves this one". What an explanation. I can go ahead and name a couple of bowls that are, in my opinion, going to be much worse games than the New Mexico Bowl.
Take the Holiday Bowl. This is usually a bowl that is known for matching great schools against each other. A top three team from the Pac-10 faces off vs. a top Big 12 squad. This year? You have no. 18 Nebraska (10-3), who straddled the top 10 for much of the season, squaring off against the University of Washington. The Huskies went 6-6 this year, barely becoming bowl eligible the last day of the season. Not only that they got walloped by the Huskers on September 18 in Seattle 56-21. I guess the bowl committee just couldn't wait to see the rematch.
How about the Meineke Car Care Bowl. This is a matchup of horrific offenses. Clemson at 6-6 finished 8th in the ACC, while USF finished 5th in the powerhouse Big East. Oh wait, this is football. Fifth place in the Big East is probably just as good as 5th in the WAC. Both offenses rank in the bottom third in FBS in both points per game, and passing yards, and neither is much better than that in rushing yards either. Look for this one to be a shootout, 3-0 final.
Point is, names don't necessarily mean anything, and you can't sell us smaller guys short just because you have no clue about us. For me, it's fine that national media outlets make assumptions like the New Mexico Bowl is the worst. It only shows how disconnected they are from the reality of things. UTEP-BYU may be tabbed the worst bowl game of the year, but don't miss out on it cause I guarantee it won't be.
*thanks towerpower for finding the rivals article.
**just for the record, ESPN has the New Mexico Bowl ranked 32nd out of 35 bowls.