Post and Courier
August 22, 2014

Sapakoff: Bowl fairness list has Gamecocks and Clemson swapping Orange Bowl, Capital One Bowl

Posted: 12/09/2013 07:00 p.m.
Updated: 12/09/2013 07:14 p.m.


By Gene Sapakoff

As usual, the Bowl Championship Series in its uncanny way worked out at the very top.

No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn without significant whining from Nos. 3-25.

It's the jagged edges down below that cry out for tweaks in this final year of the BCS "system."

Adjusted for fairness and fun, South Carolina and Clemson should switch bowl games.

C'mon, Oregon, duck in.

Central Florida should butt out of the BCS lineup and play a bowl game in, of course, the central part of Florida.

A stroll through matchups for the five BCS bowl games, plus Cotton Bowl and Capital One Bowl (BCS standings rank in parentheses):

BCS Championship

Actual matchup: Florida State (1) vs. Auburn (2)

Adjusted for fairness and fun: No change, except that this matchup of schools 204 miles apart makes more sense at a geographically neutral site - say, Albany, Ga. - than in Pasadena. Just think of the parade!

Rose Bowl

Actual matchup: Michigan State (4) vs. Stanford (5)

Adjusted: Not much. Just add artificial SoCal snow for these old school, physical teams.

Orange Bowl

Actual matchup: Ohio State (7) vs. Clemson (12)

Adjusted: Ohio State (7) vs. South Carolina (9)

Rules prohibiting more than two BCS bowl representatives from any one conference bite the Gamecocks here, but they deserve this spot based on a head-to-head win over Clemson, plus a higher BCS ranking, plus the fact Steve Spurrier was born in Miami Beach.

"Nobody said it's supposed to be fair, you know that college football isn't all that fair," the South Carolina head coach said. "But really, a BCS bowl game or the Capital One Bowl, what's the difference, a little bit more money goes to the school and to the conference."

The difference?

Spurrier capped off his 1966 Heisman Trophy-winning season at Florida with a 1967 Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech. He knows the tradition-rich Orange Bowl has a Jan. 3 prime-time slot (up against the Cotton Bowl for part of the telecast) while the Capital One Bowl clashes on New Year's Day with the Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl and something called the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

And the Orange Bowl's combined payout is estimated to reach approximately double the Capital One Bowl's $8.5 million.

Oh, the fun Florida Gators fans would have with this clash of their two national championship coaches. Will Muschamp is available for the coin flip.

Sugar Bowl

Actual matchup: Alabama (3) vs. Oklahoma (11)

Adjusted: Alabama (3) vs. Oregon (10)

Conventional power vs. Nike innovation, just what college football fans have wanted for a few years. Surely, the Ducks would present a neon yellow houndstooth fedora to the Paul W. Bryant Museum.

But, obviously, Sooner schooners travel better.

Fiesta Bowl

Actual matchup: Baylor (6) vs. Central Florida (15)

Adjusted: Baylor (6) vs. Missouri (8)

Sigh. BCS rules allow automatic bids for teams from mid-major, evolving-door conferences.

Rules change next season with the four-team playoff arranged by a committee and some tweaks to bowl/conference arrangements (for instance, the ACC remains locked into the Orange Bowl but will face a team from the SEC, Big 10 or Notre Dame in years the Orange Bowl does not host one of the national semifinal games).

Cotton Bowl

Actual matchup: Missouri (8) vs. Oklahoma State (13)

Adjusted: Oklahoma (11) vs. Arizona State (14)

The Sun Devils are a worthy team from the competitive Pac-12.

Oklahoma State lost to 4-8 West Virginia. That's not Cotton Bowl material.

Yes, there is more prestige in Dallas than at the Capital One Bowl, for two reasons: 1. The Cotton Bowl is in the six-bowl rotation of sites that will alternate as semifinal hosts for the upcoming four-team playoff, 2. The House That Jerry Jones Built With The Help Of Bob Lilly, Roger Staubach And Emmitt Smith .

Capital One Bowl

Actual matchup: South Carolina (9) vs. Wisconsin (19)

Adjusted: Clemson (12) vs. Central Florida (15)

Giving UCF the hometown edge over Oklahoma State (13) and LSU (16).

Not that Clemson fears Ohio State.

"What happened in the previous 12 games is behind us," head coach Dabo Swinney said.

What previous 12 games?

It's hard to recall anything that's happened since Clemson's Chick-fil-A Bowl rally against LSU rocked ESPN's television ratings.

But now it's up to the Tigers to hold up their end of actual BCS bowl game pairings.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff