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College football bowls: Re-drafting the 2013-14 matchups

December 13, 2013

Jeremy Huber, an update anchor at SiriusXM, takes on the inaugural college football bowl draft. You can follow Jeremy on Twitter, @jrhubersxm.

Let’s face it. While all of us college football fans will end up watching at least parts of 25-30 of the 35 bowl games this year, the whole placement process kind of stinks. Due to imbalances between conferences, some matchups are always sub-par. So this year, we’re shaking it up by re-drafting the bowls.

The rules:

  1. BCS bowls stay the same.
  2. Pair teams up based on what bowls would do on an open market, while keeping in mind matchups and regional proximity.
  3. Selection order is based on bowl payout, according to ncaafootball.com. (Imagine college football actually did it this way? They’d have a three-hour draft show to sell. Cha-ching.)
  4. Two teams from the same conference cannot face off in the same game.

Because of their spots in BCS bowls, Florida State, Auburn, Stanford, Michigan State, Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Baylor and UCF are off the board.

Let’s get started!


Capital One Bowl – Orlando, Fla. – $8.5 Million

Current matchup: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
New matchup: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina

The folks in Orlando got this one right: The highest ranked SEC team and a good Big Ten team whose fans are looking to get some sun.


AT&T Cotton Bowl – Arlington, Texas – $7.25 Million

Current matchup: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
New matchup: Texas vs. Texas A&M

While the Tigers and Cowboys are more deserving, who could blame the folks in Big D if they put the state’s two biggest football programs in a grudge match they’re too stubborn to play on their own.


Outback Bowl – Tampa, Fla. – $7 Million

Current matchup: Iowa vs. LSU
New matchup: LSU vs. Oklahoma State

Tampa scoops up the Tigers and their strong fan base, but avoids the Big 10 team that will sell tickets, but may get blown out. Instead, they go with the Pokes. OSU gets their fourth bowl trip to Florida – and first since 1985 – and Les Miles gets to face his old team, albeit nearly a decade after he left.


Chick-Fil-A Bowl – Atlanta, Ga. – $6.9 Million

Current matchup: Duke vs. Texas A&M
New matchup: Duke vs. Notre Dame

The former Peach Bowl brass would be in a tough situation here with no worthy southern powers to hitch their wagons to. Miami-Louisville could be a possibility, as would Georgia-anyone (if Aaron Murray hadn’t torn his ACL). Instead, the Chick-Fil-A takes one of the nation’s top Cinderella stories, and matches them up with a team that could play in the Grand Canyon and fill the place up.


Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – Tempe, Ariz. – $6.65 Million

Current matchup: Kansas State vs. Michigan
New matchup: Arizona State vs. Missouri

This bowl would definitely benefit under the new system. Instead of hosting two 7-5 teams, Tempe gets two top-15 teams. The Sun Devils probably wouldn’t want to play a home game, but it’s better than their current matchup – 7-5 Texas Tech in San Diego.


Valero Alamo Bowl – San Antonio, Texas – $6.35 Million

Current matchup: Oregon vs. Texas
New matchup: Nebraska vs. Rice

The Alamo is hurt under this system, as they lose a game pitting the state’s flagship program against a national power. Instead, they’ll buy high on Rice, a program hotter than it’s been in over 50 years, and match them up with Nebraska, a team with a national following – and a team Rice could upset.


TaxSlayer.Com Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, Fla. – $5.45 Million

Current matchup: Nebraska vs. Georgia
New matchup: Louisville vs. Miami

The Gator Bowl avoids a rematch of last year’s Capital One Bowl, instead stealing the Russell Athletic Bowl’s matchup.


Russell Athletic Bowl – Orlando, Fla. – $4.55 Million

Current matchup: Louisville vs. Miami
New matchup: Georgia vs. Virginia Tech

The RAB goes with the fan bases, matching opponents who have played just three times.


National University Holiday Bowl – San Diego, Calif. – $4.15 Million

Current matchup: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
New matchup: Oregon vs. Fresno State

The Holiday gets back to its roots, welcoming the Mountain West Champ – the closest thing we have to the old WAC – and pits them against the Ducks. Bring on the shootout.


Hyundai Sun Bowl – El Paso, Texas – $4 Million

Current matchup: UCLA vs. Virginia Tech
New matchup: UCLA vs. Texas Tech

The Sun sticks with the Bruins, but replaces Virginia Tech with a team from the Lone Star State.


Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Nashville, Tenn. – $3.725 Million

Current matchup: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech
New matchup: Vanderbilt vs. Michigan

The Commodores wouldn’t be too stoked with playing a virtual home game … unless they get the chance to beat the Wolverines for the first time in program history. Vandy has played the Maize and Blue 11 times – a tie in their inaugural matchup in 1922 their best finish.


New Era Pinstripe Bowl – New York, N.Y. – $3.6 Million

Current matchup: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
New matchup: Iowa vs. Rutgers

A Syracuse-Rutgers game could make sense, but both teams finished 6-6, and the Orange played in the New York Metro area plenty of times the last few years. Instead, the Yankee brass banks on folks from the heartland making a trip to the big city.


Texas Bowl – Houston, Texas – $3.4 Million

Current matchup: Syracuse vs. Minnesota
New matchup: Houston vs. USC

The local Cougars get the best available team in the Trojans.


Belk Bowl – Charlotte, N.C. – $3.4 Million

Current matchup: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina
New matchup: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina

The Tar Heels are a no brainer here. East Carolina could have made sense as an opponent, had the two teams not played in the regular season.


Autozone Liberty Bowl – Memphis, Tenn. – $2.875 Million

Current matchup: Rice vs. Mississippi State
New matchup: Ole Miss vs. Minnesota

The Autozone big wigs get a dream pick, pitting the local Rebels against a quality Gophers team.


Advocare V100 Independence Bowl – Shreveport, La. – $2.3 Million

Current matchup: Arizona vs. Boston College
New matchup: Mississippi State vs. UL Lafayette

The Bulldogs get a relatively short bowl trip; ULL misses out on a trip to New Orleans, but gets an SEC team on a neutral field as a consolation prize.


Heart of Dallas Bowl – Dallas, Texas – $2.2 Million

Current matchup: UNLV vs. North Texas
New matchup: Kansas State vs. North Texas

The Wildcats get another trip to the Lone Star State, always important for recruiting. Fans of the Mean Green get to see their team play in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. (Even if it’s not actually the “Cotton Bowl” anymore.)


Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl – Las Vegas, Nev. – $2.2 Million

Current matchup: Fresno State vs. USC
New matchup: Washington vs. BYU

While Vegas misses out on a great Bulldogs-Trojans matchup, it still gets a great game that may even sell more tickets. (The Cougars and Huskies actually meet in the Fight Hunger Bowl this year.)


Military Bowl – Annapolis, Md. – $2 Million

Current matchup: Marshall vs. Maryland
New matchup: Navy vs. Maryland

These regional rivals don’t play that much, so a sellout is possible.


BBVA Compass Bowl – Birmingham, Ala. – $1.925 Million

Current matchup: Vanderbilt vs. Houston
New matchup: Georgia Tech vs. Middle Tennessee

The Jackets land here due to the easy commute; the Blue Raiders land here as the best available regional team.


Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl – San Francisco, Calif. – $1.675 Million

Current matchup: BYU vs. Washington
New matchup: Arizona vs. Boise State

The Folks in San Fran choose the best available Pac 12 team and pit them up against the biggest remaining West Coast program.


Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Detroit, Mich. – $1.5 Million

Current matchup: Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh
New matchup: Northern Illinois vs. Boston College

The Huskies have played in the last 4 MAC Championship Games – all at Ford Field – but have never played in this bowl game. Fans get a Heisman finalist matchup: NIU’s Jordan Lynch vs. BC’s Andre Williams.


GoDaddy.Com Bowl – Mobile, Ala. – $1.5 Million

Current matchup: Arkansas State vs. Ball State
New matchup: Syracuse vs. East Carolina

These two former independents actually met quite a bit in the late 1980s through the early 2000s.


Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Honolulu, Hawaii – $1.3 Million

Current matchup: Boise State vs. Oregon State
New matchup: Washington State vs. Utah State

The Cougars land a great destination for their first bowl in a decade; Aggie fans get a trip to Honolulu after winning a division title in their first season in the Mountain West.


Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Dallas, Texas – $1.2 Million

Current matchup: Middle Tennessee vs. Navy
New matchup: Colorado State vs. Texas State

As the lone Texas team left, the Bobcats are the pick here. The Rams’ first bowl in five years is in the fertile Texas recruiting ground. Oregon State and Pittsburgh were both possibilities, but the bowl may worry about apathetic Beaver and Panther fan bases.


Beef O’Brady’s Bowl – St. Petersburg, Fla. – $1.075

Current matchup: East Carolina vs. Ohio
New matchup: Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green

This year’s Little Caesar’s bowl matchup, now both teams get to play in Florida – albeit in a dome – instead of Detroit.


S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – San Diego, Calif. – $1 Million

Current matchup: Utah State vs. Northern Illinois
New matchup: Oregon State vs. San Diego State

While the Poinsettia misses out on a solid MWC-MAC matchup, it does get a PAC 12 team matched up with the hometown squad.


R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – New Orleans, La. – $ 1 Million

Current matchup: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Tulane
New matchup: Tulane vs. Western Kentucky

The bowl-starved Hilltoppers replace Louisiana-Lafayette.


Gildan New Mexico Bowl – Albuquerque, N.M. – $912,500

Current matchup: Colorado State vs. Washington State
New matchup: UNLV vs. Marshall

The folks in Albuquerque get the best West Coast team left in the Rebels, and pit them against the Conference USA runners-up.


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Boise, Idaho – $650,000

Current matchup: Buffalo vs. San Diego State
New matchup: San Jose State vs. Ball State

The last bowl on the board, the folks in Boise take the last remaining West Coast team and match them up with the only 10-win team left on the board


Final takeaways:

Under the new system, Western Kentucky, Texas State and San Jose State get into bowls, while Ohio, Buffalo and Arkansas State are left out.

Florida Atlanta, Central Michigan, Toledo, South Alabama, Troy and UL-Monroe fall short under both systems.

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