College Bowls

Ross Elliot's picture
Submitted by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2005-12-30 06:55

Man, I'm on a roll. I picked both Nebraska & Oklahoma to win and despite not being favorites, they did.

Nebraska really kicked Michigan's ass coming back like they did & the Sooners held Oregon out despite a hammered Rhett Bomar. Great games. Shit, the NFL looks ponderous compared to college football. Don't you think?

I'm really looking forward to the big games next week.

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Well, have to say that this

Bill Grazier's picture

Well, have to say that this is an example of one rational man's interests being trumped by another Laughing out loud

It was a true pleasure to see my beloved Mountaineers shock the world and defeat the Bulldogs, and likely save the Big East conference from the oblivion of mid-major status. More importantly, with two absolutely unheard-of freshmen stealing the show....well, I just can't wait to see what happens in years to come!!!

Oh, there's a lot of

Ross Elliot's picture

Oh, there's a lot of specialisation in rugby. But passing is a skill that all players must have. It's inconceivable that a rugby player would be classed as a poor passer. He wouldn't be on the team.

The specialization of the

Wes's picture

The specialization of the players prevents a lot of the whole toss-the-ball-around-like-a-bunch-of-rugby-players. I wouldn't want to have to rely on a lineman's hands.

Pete, don't get me wrong. I

Ross Elliot's picture

Pete, don't get me wrong. I don't agree with the criticisms of football by non-afficionados. I can fully appreciate why things are as they are.

Good point about the coaches being heavily involved. In most sports including my own beloved rugby, the coach does his talking in the dressing room then sits in the stand with about as much input as any other spectator.

I love the way your football coaches, their staffs and the rest of the team prowl the sideline, making their presence felt every step of the way. It's especially good when 500 lbs of receiver+linebacker rocket over the sideline and send everyone scrambling. It's a great team atmosphere but it doesn't suit the reserved yet deadly-silent nature of NZ coaches or players.

BTW, I'm picking Texas in the Rose Bowl Smiling

Well, since Clemson did not

Jody Gomez's picture

Well, since Clemson did not play to goodly this year, my interests are vested in Georgia.

Good discussion...

Pete L's picture


There's been talk as far back as I can remember of moving the BCS to a playoff format. As to where that stands at this time, I don't know, I haven't followed the issue closesly in a while. You are correct in that the biggest problem is the number of teams. Also, American football is not a game that can be played multiple times in one week - the level of preparation required for a single matchup along with the toll it takes on the body does not lend itself well to that. This is not a problem in NCAA basketball, where a 64 team, single-elimination championship tournament can take place in just a few weeks.

There is also the money factor - it's most financially profitable (for both the networks and the schools who make it) to have something along the lines of what currently exists (limited number of matches).

One of the reasons I enjoy American football so much is its complexity. For me, the tremendous specialization of the players is one of the game's greatest attributes - it's the embodiment of the division of labor society. It's also a sport where the coach is more involved with what goes on on the field more so than any other sport I can think of...not only do you get to critique what the players do on the field, but you get to critique the 'general's' overall battle plan. The coach is the general, the players are the warriors. Each warrior follows the general's orders according to his precise role in the process. The offensive linemen are the tanks and heavy artillery, the receivers are the air's everything you thought was cool about warfare as a kid!

As for the heavy padding they wear, well, self preservation is a virture here in America. The fact is those pads save lives and prevent a lot of permanent injuries. And who doesn't like to have a mouthfull of their original teeth! Smiling

Too many fumble opportunities

Jason Quintana's picture

"Like, at the end of the Nebraska-Michigan game, on the last play Michigan threw the ball around like we do in rugby. It created real confusion for Nebraska and could have resulted in a TD. Why don't teams do that more often? You can only pass forward once, right? But you can lateral as much as you like, right? Seems like a better tactic than the Hail Mary."

Usually this happens on a kickoff (after the other team has scored a go ahead touchdown or fieldgoal) at the end of the game it rarely happens in an actual set play. The problem is that there are too many
possibilities for fumbles and the defenders are just too fast. They don't do this on a regular basis and so there is very little practice. Most of the time if you try it in a normal situation the coach will kill you. We do it all the time though when we play football at the park. Smiling

You might be able to find it on the internet somewhere -- there is a very very famous play at the end of a Stanford /Cal game in 1982 in which this actually worked.

Here is a text describing what happened and the aftermath :

It is probably one of the top five most memorable moments in American sports.

- Jason

Edit : I found it! Watch the 6 minute version. Listen to the announcer!! Classic Classic Classic. You'll like the part where he nails the trombone player in the endzone.

There is a Gridiron league

Ross Elliot's picture

There is a Gridiron league in NZ and they have a final game called the KiwiBowl (I think) but I don't follow it. There's no TV or radio coverage and it's a very minor sport. Way off the radar.

But I think lots of Kiwis follow the NFL & college seasons. Our national betting agency, the TAB (a government quango), gives odds on all NFL games and quite a few college games.

The local satellite service shows the Pacific rim feed of ESPN which is programmed out of the States. That means we don't usually get any regular season college games (maybe one or two) but we do get the Bowl games, or most of them. Two NFL games are shown live every week and we get all the playoff games live.

I prefer the college game. It's so much faster and different plays are tried that don't seem to have a place in the NFL. Also, the college games have a lot of color and excitement with all the supporters, the bands, the collegiate spirit, etc.

I've read about the BCS system and the problems with determining an overall national champion. Isn't the NCAA looking at a playoff system in the next few years? With 600+ college football teams playing it's not an easy thing to get right. I know that it all comes down to the teams from the big conferences but you're still dealing with huge numbers in a huge country. The bowls are really enjoyable.

I even went to the trouble of buying Football for Dummies by Howie Long. Good info but I still have a lot of blindspots in my basic knowledge. Like, at the end of the Nebraska-Michigan game, on the last play Michigan threw the ball around like we do in rugby. It created real confusion for Nebraska and could have resulted in a TD. Why don't teams do that more often? You can only pass forward once, right? But you can lateral as much as you like, right? Seems like a better tactic than the Hail Mary.

Rugby Union is New Zealand's national sport. In fact, it's our unofficial religion. The All Blacks are our national team and are the best in the world--even when they don't win the World Cup. It's just a natural law of the universe and there's nothing that anyone can do about it. So there Smiling

American football is rooted (from the 19th century) in rugby. Many similar structures and positional aspects exist even now between the two games. But in most ways they're quite different. In rugby, the forward pass is about the most illegal thing you can do. And you certainly can't tackle a man without the ball. And you sure as hell can't shepherd a man (run interference). Also, our guys don't wear any body protection except (and only recently) some thin shoulder padding under the jersey.

I'm positive that the international attitude to American football has more do do with fashionable anti-Americanism than any sporting criteria. Your players are ridiculed for wearing so much protection and the game itself is criticised for being stop-start, positionally too specialised, and too long. The last comment comes from idiots who are more than happy to sit down and watch cricket games that last for five days! American sports in general are also lambasted for not being international. Well, a) so what, and b) when you come from a country that has a population of 300 million and a GDP of $12 trillion, you don't really need international competitors to prove the point. Hell, the countries in the world that play rugby union to any great degree of competency don't total the USA's population by half so that sort of blows that argument away.

Fact is, American football, along with baseball, cricket, rugby union and soccer are the world's great & ingenious games. Well, maybe soccer's not ingenious but there is a certain beauty in it's simplicity.

Now, Pete. I can see why subjectively you'd think that your football was the greatest team game in the world, but I can assure you that objectively rugby is the greatest of all sports, team or otherwise. Just ask Lindsay if you don't believe me...


Didn't catch those ones

Jason Quintana's picture

I'm looking forward to the next several days and especially USC vs. Texas. Is American football big in New Zealand?

- Jason

Kiwi's actually care about American football?

Pete L's picture

I didn't know New Zealanders gave a rat's arse about American Football - what a pleasant surprise! It truly is the greatest of all team sports!

I enjoy college football, but the whole bowl system is extremely subjective. A playoff system, although difficult to implement, would hands down be a more fair system of determining the champion.

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