College football bowl season is an extremely awkward period for teams. On one hand, teams have extra practices, extra reps and extra time to scout. Nick Saban employs more personal at Alabama then the state government, so you know he has a group of coaches preparing for Washington, Ohio State and Clemson. This is one of the reason’s why Alabama has dominated college football since 2007. For teams outside of the playoff, it is an awkward state of transition. New Mexico just won the New Mexico bowl over UTSA for their first bowl since 2007. Bob Davie has done a remarkable job turning New Mexico around in five years, but the question is how long with Davie stay? Granted he is 63 years old but the possibility remains.
Willie Taggart left a South Florida program that improved every year that Taggart was the coach culminating in ten wins this season. After Taggart left South Florida moved quickly to land Charlie Strong (great hire!) but offensive coordinator TJ Weist is coaching in the bowl game. For about a month Weist is conducting practices and preparing South Florida for a bowl game and he may not be in the program next season. Talk about being in an awkward position. Strong undoubtedly will put his stamp on the program over the winter changing the program to shape his image. Along with South Florida, Temple is in another awkward state. Ed Foley is the interim head coach for the Owls while Geoff Collins waits to take charge of the program. Nick Holt of Western Kentucky is in the same boat as Weist and Collins. although Western Kentucky victory in the Boca Raton Bowl may sway new head coach Mike Sanford Jr to keep him on the staff.
Besides coaches programs are in awkward positions. Houston began the season by dominating an Oklahoma team that is playing in the Sugar Bowl. When the Tom Herman to Texas rumors began Houston started to lose games by wide margins to SMU and most recently to San Diego State in the Los Vegas Bowl. Losing the best coach in your teams history since the early 90’s for an unproven offensive coordinator that flamed out at Alabama and Texas is extremely awkward for a Houston program that began the season with playoff aspirations. Texas A&M won their first six games climbing to has high as sixth in the polls before taking their typical late October slide by losing four out of their last six games backing into the Texas Bowl against Kansas State. Texas A&M is in an awkward position; having an extremely talented roster that includes potential number one pick in Miles Garret; Kevin Sumlin could only muster an 8-and-4 record. The awkwardness begins with do the Aggie players want to play in the Texas Bowl in late December instead of the Sugar Bowl in early January. The program is facing an awkward dilemma concerning Kevin Sumlin in general. Sumlin has recruited well over the past few years, but the program has not won more than 8 games since Johnnie Manziel. Sumlin has also lost five-star recruits at quarterback due to transfers which is not good for the perception of recruiting.
The awkwardness continues with the caliper of games. Twenty-five year old me would love to have football games on every night; thirty year old me has trimmed his sports tree down to games that are interesting. I watched the New Mexico game because they run the option, and I plan to watch the Navy game for the same reason. Every time I watch an option team put up thirty, forty points I wonder why more teams don’t run the offense or hire coaches from those programs. Putting Idaho and Wyoming on primetime television makes me want to watch something else. Putting .500 or sub .500 into bowl games lowers the quality of play to the point of un-watch ability. Ten more bowls are scheduled to have teams .500 or below .500. North Texas has a 5-7 record playing in a bowl game, however, I think patriotism won out since North Texas is playing Army in the Zaxaby’s heart of Dallas Bowl. December 26th is loaded with awkward unwatchable bowls. Each of the six teams playing are all .500 or below. The bowls may have started on the 17th of December but the real bowl season starts on December 30th.
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