It was recently pitched on this very site, to abolish college football conference bowl ties. So naturally we at The Tailgate Society decided to take that idea one step further and see what the bowl slate would look like if ties were eliminated and bowls got to pick their matchup in draft fashion based on the dollar amount of their payout.
Austin Narber, Tom Danielson, and Spencer Hughes rotated through the draft posing as bowl representatives and offer brief explanations for their selection. Take a look and tell us what your think. Did your favorite team’s bowl position improve? Is the location better or worse? Does the matchup add just the right amount of spice to your life? To the draft!
Peach Bowl & Fiesta Bowl (semifinals)
#1 LSU vs. #4 Oklahoma & #2 Ohio State vs. #3 Clemson
We elected to leave the playoff format the same for this exercise. One thing at a time fam.
1. Rose Bowl – Pasadena, Cal. (Narber)
OREGON VS. MEMPHIS
As the non-playoff bowl with the highest payout, we are rewarding the P5 champ who got snubbed and a 12-1 G5 champ who will perennially get snubbed in this CFP format. This one’s for the haters.
2. Sugar Bowl – New Orleans, La. (Tom)
BAYLOR VS. UTAH
It’s time to reward some plucky upstart P5 Conference Championship Game losers because their fans can effectively drink away their “what could have been” sorrows by spending New Year’s on Bourbon Street. Also, nobody wants to watch Georgia.
3. Orange Bowl – Miami, Fla. (Spencer)
FLORIDA VS. PENN STATE
Forget intriguing storylines and let’s start chasing cold hard cash. The Gators in the Orange Bowl are a sure thing, and Penn State jumps Wisconsin in case Badger fans would hold out on coming to Miami for the second time in three years.
4. Cotton Bowl – Arlington, Tex. (Narber)
GEORGIA VS. AUBURN
In the spirit of everything being bigger in Texas, we have chosen a matchup comprised entirely of big fat men. Georgia’s big fat men against Auburn’s big fat men for a big fat Texas-sized rematch. Will Jerry Jones attempt to charge one or both of these teams a rehoming fee for Jason Garrett? Absolutely.
5. Citrus Bowl – Orlando, Fla. – 8.5M (Tom)
WISCONSIN VS. NOTRE DAME
These teams haven’t played since 1964? That doesn’t seem like a real thing, but it is. As the bowl with the highest payout that doesn’t qualify as NY6, we’re also positioning ourselves with what feels like it should be a big boy matchup, but will inevitably be one of the more forgettable bowl games of the season. Proving that some traditions will outlive the foundational change in process.
6. Alamo Bowl – San Antonio, Tex. – 7.9M (Spencer)
ALABAMA VS. IOWA
Give us the matchup that balances national appeal in a down season against a fanbase that will surely swarm San Antonio and leave the city without Busch Light for the second-straight year. Iowa fans would come down in droves for the chance to beat Alabama, even if half the Tide’s squad is sitting out waiting for the NFL Draft.
7. Outback Bowl – Tampa, Fla. – 6.35M (Narber)
MICHIGAN VS. APPALACHIAN STATE
Michigan has probably dropped further than they should. But choosing them will be the extent of our grace here. Time to rip open that 12 year old wound that just finally started to scab over.
8. Holiday Bowl – San Diego, Cal. – 6.32M (Tom)
BOISE STATE VS. USC
We may be skipping over a few teams to reach for USC here, but it feels a propos to finally pass the torch to the new kings of the west coast at the premier non-NY6 west coast bowl. Can you believe these two teams have never played each other? Happy holidays to us indeed.
9. Texas Bowl – Houston, Tex. – 6.3M (Spencer)
TEXAS A&M VS. TEXAS
It’s time. The Texas Bowl truly becomes the bowl game for the state of Texas as the Aggies and Longhorns play for the first time since 2011. Do you think these teams would prefer other opponents? Yes. Do we care? No, we do not, because this stadium would be packed and we’d definitely tune in to see which team is humiliated and winds up with a 7-6 record.
10. Camping World Bowl – Orlando, Fla. – 5.8M (Narber)
WASHINGTON VS. CINCINNATI
We can’t think of anything that would piss off UCF more than inviting: 1) a 7-5 team from about as far away as geographically possible, and 2) another team from the AAC, to play in a bowl game 18 miles from the UCF campus. So by golly we made that happen.
11. Music City Bowl – Nashville, Tenn. – 5.6M (Tom)
MINNESOTA VS. SMU
Tanner Morgan, Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson vs. Shane Buechele, James Proche and Reggie Roberson. Find the ‘D’ in “Music City Bowl – Nashville, Tennessee.” You can’t.
12. Belk Bowl – Charlotte, N.C. – 4.5M (Spencer)
IOWA STATE VS. TENNESSEE
This should be a competitive game between a fanbase known for traveling and a massive fanbase that can make the short drive. Helps that it’s Team With Matt Campbell against Team That Kinda Wanted Matt Campbell Two Years Ago. Now let’s get Ray Lima a Bojangles biscuit.
13. Pinstripe Bowl – New York, N.Y. – 4.3M (Narber)
NAVY VS. AIR FORCE
For years, we, the Pinstripe Bowl, have wondered, “How do we get people to watch the Pinstripe Bowl?” You ask the United States Naval Academy and United States Air Force to meet in New York City on Christmas and play a football game in the bitter cold, that’s how. For country!
14. Liberty Bowl – Memphis, Tenn. – 4.2M (Tom)
INDIANA VS. KENTUCKY
The Hoosiers and the ‘Cats have a storied rivalry on the hardwood, but it’s time to reignite the Battle for the Bourbon Barrel on the gridiron that has been in hibernation since 1999. The fans of these storied rivals can trash talk their way down I-69 (nice) as they migrate to Memphis in hopes of taking home both trophies.
15. Redbox Bowl – Santa Clara, Cal. – 3.6M (Spencer)
KANSAS STATE VS. ARIZONA STATE
Call this one the “We Beat Top 5 Teams Bowl.” Surprisingly-yet-to-become-a-meme Herm Edwards up against Chris Klieman in what should be yet another competitive game with decent turnout. Winner gets all the free Blu-Ray rentals.
16. Sun Bowl – El Paso, Tex. – 3.4M (Narber)
MISSISSIPPI STATE VS. UAB
Can we interest you in a 9-win team from Alabama against an SEC team from one state over, playing in Texas? What’s that? Uh no, sorry, the Cotton Bowl already picked Auburn and Georgia, we’re talking about UAB-Mississippi State. Wow that was very greedy and presumptuous of you. You will eat this Sun Bowl and like it.
17. Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, Fla. – 3.1M (Tom)
FLORIDA STATE VS. FAU
Can you believe Florida State and FAU have never played? Doesn’t it feel like their first meeting is completely something that would happen in Jacksonville? This may not be The World’s Largest Cocktail Party, but it could be The Bowl Season’s Biggest Clusterf***. Look, someone has to pick these teams, and given their current position on their respective program roller coasters, their fans can’t be expected to travel too far.
18. Las Vegas Bowl – Las Vegas, Nev. – 2.7M (Spencer)
OKLAHOMA STATE VS. WASHINGTON STATE
Gundy vs. Leach in Vegas. These two haven’t been on the same field in ten years and will reunite at long last over slots, poker, and the Mullet on the Strip. The game should be a high-scoring shootout and Vegas is extremely well-suited to both of these fanbases.
19. Military Bowl – Annapolis, Md. – 2.06M (Narber)
VIRGINIA VS. BYU
We can’t in good conscience pass on the opportunity to lure fans from just down the road in Charlottesville to Annapolis. And yeah brother, we are absolutely pitting Bronco Mendenhall against his former team. Plus, what is the Military Bowl without The Lord’s Army?
20. First Responder Bowl – Dallas, Tex. – 1.8M (Tom)
LOUISIANA VS. LOUISIANA TECH
Louisiana hasn’t beaten Tech since 1996 when they were still called Louisiana-Lafayette. The teams have only played twice since 2003 and not at all since the Ragin’ Cajuns dropped the Lafayette. It’s a cryin’ shame that Louisiana has five rivals and Tech isn’t one of them.
21. Birmingham Bowl – Birmingham, Ala. – 1.6M (Spencer)
UCF VS. MIAMI (FL)
UCF’s emergence on the national scene has predictably come with the Sunshine State’s big three programs running away from it. Not anymore. The Golden Knights get their first shot since 2009 at one of the state’s Power 5 programs in Birmingham, also providing them with the opportunity to distribute real 2017 National Champion gear to Alabama fans.
22. LendingTree Bowl – Mobile, Ala. – 1.5M (Narber)
TULANE VS. CALIFORNIA
Mardi Gras is the annual Carnival celebration in Mobile, Alabama. It is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States, started by Frenchman Nicholas Langlois in 1703 when Mobile was the capital of Louisiana. Enter Tulane, the most “Mardi Gras” team still on the board, who will be playing the team we believe will be most out of their element in southern Alabama.
23. Independence Bowl – Shreveport, La. – 1.2M (Tom)
CHARLOTTE VS. WYOMING
What screams independence more than Cowboys and 49ers? Well, perhaps Liberty, but there’s still some lingering concern about bringing Hugh Freeze to the land of riverboat casinos. Regardless, Shreveport is ready for #ClubLIT vs. the Cowboys.
24. Gasparilla Bowl – Tampa, Fla. – 1.1M (Spencer)
WAKE FOREST VS. ILLINOIS
We’re going for an Orange Bowl Lite thing here and hoping two fanbases that aren’t used to bowling won’t know the difference. It’s an ACC vs. Big Ten game, and Tampa’s kind of like Miami if you squint. Plus, Illinois beat Wisconsin, and Wake Forest… lost to Clemson by seven touchdowns. Let’s just hope the fans show up and have a good time.
25. New Mexico Bowl – Albuquerque, N.M. – 1.05M (Narber)
NORTH CAROLINA VS. MICHIGAN STATE
Purely a “best available” situation here. Both teams are top-50 in SP+ and hey, maybe strong brand recognition will get some butts in seats. We’ll tell them later that it’s not a basketball game.
26. Cheez-It Bowl – Phoenix, Ariz. – 1.03M (Tom)
HAWAII VS. OHIO
Even the fine folks from Hawaii need a vacation from their vacation once in a while. According to FEI Hawaii and Ohio rank 20th and 28th respectively in offensive potency, and if you can’t afford to be a big name bowl with big name teams and big time fan bases, you might as well be fun and hope for fireworks. Also, Cal-TCU happened here and we’d like to avoid that again.
27. Hawaii Bowl – Honolulu, Hawaii – 1M (Spencer)
SAN DIEGO STATE VS. VIRGINIA TECH
Two reasons for this pick: It would actually be a pretty darn good game between a 9-3 team with a Top 20 defense (per SP+) and an 8-4 ACC squad that’s always solid. But more importantly, getting from VaTech’s campus to Honolulu would be the trip of bowl season. 40 miles from Lane Stadium to the nearest airport in Roanoke, and from there the shortest flight is 3 legs and 15 and a half hours. Hokie fans, show your stuff.
28. Boca Raton Bowl – Boca Raton, Fla. – 1M (Narber)
TEMPLE VS. MIAMI (OH)
There are still three ACC teams on the board, but the state of Florida already has to deal with its fair share of ACC games over the course of a season, so we’re looking elsewhere for our talent. Temple is actually good! Also, “boca raton” means “rat’s mouth” in Spanish and owls eat rats. And of course we’re banking on the fact that Southern Floridians will show up to this game thinking the Miami Hurricanes are playing. The odds of this are very good.
29. Idaho Potato Bowl – Boise, Id. – 950K (Tom)
CENTRAL MICHIGAN VS. NEVADA
Jim McElwain heads back west. The MAC runners up are familiar with this bowl game and Michiganders would know how to properly vacation in a city like Boise. So we’ll reward them by giving them a chance to beat up on Nevada. And if Nevada fans don’t want to travel? No worries, the locals are more than happy to don the maroon and gold to watch their familiar foe, Nevada, lose on their home turf.
30. New Orleans Bowl – New Orleans, La. – 925K (Spencer)
PITT VS. MARSHALL
It’s not quite Pitt vs. West Virginia, but it’s close. Call this one Rivalry Lite in the Sugar Bowl Lite. Two fan bases that will enjoy everything Bourbon Street has to offer. Let’s get Dana Holgorsen to be the parade Grand Marshal.
31. Armed Forces Bowl – Fort Worth, Tex. – 900K (Narber)
WESTERN KENTUCKY VS. LOUISVILLE
Both Western Kentucky and Louisville are better than a good chunk of this year’s bowl eligible teams, so there’s good value here with six bowls to go. Nice little coaching matchup between Tyson Helton and Scott Satterfield as well. And hey, maybe they can all ride down to Fort Worth together. Good old fashioned Kentucky fried southern hospitality.
32. Cure Bowl – Orlando, Fla. – 751K (Tom)
BOSTON COLLEGE VS. SOUTHERN MISS
A little Eagles vs. Golden Eagles action should really spice up the Cure Bowl, right? Plus, Boston College in the midst of a coaching change, vs. a plucky Southern Miss team that beat UAB 37-2 has what it takes to get this 2:30pm kick on Saturday the 21st to 10:15 Saturday night.
33. Frisco Bowl – Frisco, Tex. – 750K (Spencer)
UTAH STATE VS. WESTERN MICHIGAN
If you’re the Frisco Bowl and you can get Jordan Love, you do it. This should be a fun matchup between a couple Group of Five schools that have enjoyed strong recent success. They are both also watching the coaches that brought them some of that success in other jobs (Matt Wells at Texas Tech and P.J. Fleck at Minnesota).
34. Quick Lane Bowl – Detroit, Mich. – 750K (Narber)
BUFFALO VS. EASTERN MICHIGAN
You don’t pass on an in-state team when you’re at the bottom of the bowl barrel. We’ll invite Buffalo too because Bills fans will have some time to kill before their season finale against the Jets.
35. Arizona Bowl – Tucson, Ariz. – 412K (Tom)
LIBERTY VS. ARKANSAS STATE
Paying 412k for the privilege of picking Hugh Freeze makes us question if we’re going to run this bowl game back next year at all. Anyway, Flames and Red Wolves seem like very Arizona things. Don’t fact check that, just go with it.
36. Camellia Bowl – Montgomery, Ala. – 250K (Spencer)
GEORGIA SOUTHERN VS. GEORGIA STATE
An in-state rivalry is still possible this far down the pecking order, and it’s next door to the bowl site? We’re making it happen. Who cares if these programs ended their regular seasons against one another and Georgia Southern won by four touchdowns? Everyone knows the Camellia Bowl is all about dolla dolla bills. And a Twitter search for “#SouthernNotState” or “#StateNotSouthern” will show you how much this game means to Georgians… at least some of them.
37. Bahamas Bowl – Nassau, Bahamas – 225K (Narber)
KENT STATE VS. TOLEDO
Yeah, sorry, we’re sending the cold, miserable Ohioans to the Bahamas, not the guys from Miami. Don’t take it personally, FIU.
The one bowl-eligible team that isn’t bowling:
Enjoy Miami. You don’t even have to play a football game.