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Hey Orange, you ready for some MACtion? Kent State is ready to crash your BCS game

SCOTT JACOBS

You can’t help but snicker. This is comedy gold. A Kent State rendezvous out of nowhere — into the BCS boosted almost entirely by weird chance and a bottom 25 collective free-fall — could create the most fascinating and un-watchable BCS Bowl ever. And that’s saying something. Because Connecticut has been a participant in this dance before.

And even though this doesn’t directly involve the Big East – in terms of the potentially  gruesome match-up – it’s the Big East’s fault if this happens. Afterall, they’re the train that derailed so far off the tracks that they basically opened the door for any BCS Non Automatic Qualifier with a pulse to join the mix.

Understand this. Kent State has had a wonderful year. They’ve been a delight to the MAC Nation and bless their navy and yellow souls for a dream sports year between football and their baseball team making it to the College World Series.

But the BCS isn’t child’s play. Fools gold, perhaps. But the BCS is supposed to be where the big boys roam; Or the best fakers from the worst AQ Conferences. But a potential BCS buster that walks into the game with  no marquee wins and 1 putrid loss shouldn’t be a BCS buster at all.

Anyone that loses to Kentucky or Colorado shouldn’t be allowed entrance into a bowl. Nevermind a historic, once-prominent bowl.

The Orange Bowl seems like neither of late. It’s been teetering on irrelevance for awhile now. That’s not an opinion, it’s marred in recent match-ups from hell.

ACC Championship tickets are going for as low as $5 online. And that’s with FSU in the picture. Without them, one could only imagine the Orange Bowl’s nightmare. Buy one, get 6 free? Bring the whole family, just make sure the stadium is filled up more than a Dolphins game?

Ever since FSU and Penn State played the My Coach has more wins than You but who’s coach will ultimately see their legacy go up in flames worse Bowl, the Orange Bowl has been juicing up the January calendar with some serious duds and match-ups that don’t exactly glitz right off the ole marquee:

2007: Louisville 24 Wake Forest 13
2008:  Kansas 24 Virginia Tech 21
2009: Virginia Tech 20 Cincinnati 7
2010: Iowa 24 Georgia Tech 14
2011: Stanford 40 Virginia Tech 12
2012: West Virginia 70 Clemson 33

It’s hard to fault the Orange Bowl for the meandering meaningless football that’s mostly taken place in Miami the past half plus decade, but when you get in bed with the ACC and Big East, you’re asking for some ugly 1 night stands.

It’s been so long since the Orange Bowl stood to reason as a game with true national relevance that some on the other side of the country probably stopped watching. Ahem, everybody just about stopped watching. The ratings for the Orange Bowl lately have been well, atrocious.

But that’s neither here nor there. Because a Kent State-Georgia Tech pairing could be the end of the Orange Bowl’s sanity as we know it.

It could happen too. While 6-6 Georgia Tech made the ACC Championship Game by default and promptly got run over by Georgia in an Athens laugher, the Seminoles lost a hard fought, turn-over fest with themselves (Ahem, Gators), burning out all the fire they had left to their faux national championship chase. After all the energy expended, expectations washed ashore, and another star lost for the year, how FSU responds in what might be a half filled stadium is a curious riddle. The Noles have crushed their inferior opponents all year long, but one can only wonder where their head is at after losing the state crown to the blue and orange.

Georgia Tech literally has nothing to lose. FSU has an Orange Bowl berth to gain and everything to lose. Tech could go from BCS bound to nowhere at all in 60 minutes of football. This is the state of the whacky conference title game structure. The money maker! 7-6= BCS! 6-7 No bowl at all! (Though to be fair it’s pretty reminiscent of college hoops’ conference tournaments for the smaller schools. Regular season be damned, own the post-season, or the championship game and a whole year is forgotten).

Miami decided to ban itself from the game, Duke decided to stop winning after they became semi-relevant for a mili-second, and a rare off-year for Virginia Tech left Georgia Tech as the least drunk girl left at the bar. So the ACC Coastal grabbed her hand. There wasn’t much to chose from. Competition scarce usually makes one look better by comparison, but Tech has been so mind-blowingly mediocre that the ACC should have petitioned the game not be played at all. Or Clemson. Screw the divisions!

Kent State’s road to Miami could begin and end with just a few things:

1) A win in the MAC Title over fellow conference upstart NIU (Also ranked).
2) Kansas State defeating Texas (expected); Stanford knocking out UCLA for the second week in a row (probable, but not guaranteed)
3) A little nudge from the computers and BAM! The Golden Flashes and their 30 point thrashing to SEC punching bag Kentucky, could be on their way to the show. Or the opening act of something that pays a lot of money.

This could happen. It shouldn’t, but the computers have made it very realistic. Thanks to a litany of teams ranked 15th-25th crapping their trousers (literally 8 teams lost and Boise didn’t play this weekend), Kent State is in position to flash the college football world. And take a look at their schedule!

Towson W 41-21
@Kentucky L 47-14
@Buffalo W 23-7
Ball St W 45-43
@East Michigan W 41-14
@Army W 31-17
W Michigan W 41-14
@Rutgers W 35-23
Akron W 35-24
@Miami (OH) W 48-32
@Bowling Green W 31-24
Ohio W 28-6
NIU (Friday Night)

The MAC is pretty decent on paper (6 teams have more than 8 wins). The ACC: 2. The Big East: 3. So there’s that. But c’mon. They lost to Kentucky. By more than 4 touchdowns. Kentucky!?!

I’m all for the little guy, but this is outrageously out of whack. Kent State’s best win to date was over Rutgers. The Scarlett Knights were alright for a little bit, but like Louisville they’ve bit the dust these past few weeks and escaped back into the mirage that they came from (along with the private Big10 jet that scooped up their failing sports programs and carried their scarlett to a new frontier). That is not a BCS busting worthy win.

Remember all the crap we’d give Boise State for only beating one big-time team? Well, every year that they lost they were done. Somehow Kent State gets swallowed whole by Big Blue’s bad bad Cats, and they manage to land here? How in the name of Osmosis Jones does this happen?

ACC Championship tickets are going for as low as $5 online. And that’s with FSU in the picture. Without them, one could only imagine the Orange Bowl’s nightmare. Buy one, get 6 free? Bring the whole family, just make sure the stadium is filled up more than a Dolphins game?

The Sugar Bowl is affected by this too. Consider — without Kent State clogging the picture, New Orleans get the Gators-Sooners in all likelihood. A prime-time killer matchup of SEC-Big 12. Kent State’s inclusion would knock out the Big 12 runner-up and make the Big East victor the more attractive dance partner for the Sugar Bowl. Ay Karumba!

Of course, it’s hard to feel too bad for the Orange Bowl. Regardless of what crummy Orange Bowl matchup they land, they can keep their chin up knowing that Notre Dame and some high profile SEC champ is coming to Miami Gardens to duke it out for all the crystals.

Still, it’s a dumb system and this could be an erroneous offense to the sensibilities of the college football fan if Kent State sneaks in. Then again, hilariously enough, they’re the highest ranked opponent the ACC champion could possibly net.

Now it makes sense why the Orange Bowl defaced its classic smiling orange logo. There’s nothing whatsoever to smile about here. As for FSU – assuming they win – well, they’d have nothing to gain whatsoever. And once again, everything to lose.

Anyone want another hearty serving of whacky?

About the Author

sjacobs

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3 Responses to “Hey Orange, you ready for some MACtion? Kent State is ready to crash your BCS game”

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