December 20, 2014

ESPN Keeps Expanding Bowl Season With Its Own Games: There are 39 bowl games this year in college football. ESPN owns 11 of them. One of this year's network-created newbies is the Camellia Bowl, played in Montgomery, Alabama, at the 92-year-old Cramton Bowl, the longtime home of the BlueGray Football Classic and host to 20 Alabama games through the 1950s. The bowl was created to match up Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference teams and the inaugural opponents are Bowling Green (7-6) and South Alabama (6-6). The guaranteed payout for each team is only $100,000. "We realize this isn't Ohio State-Alabama in New Orleans," said Pete Derzis of ESPN Events.

posted by rcade to football at 09:20 AM - 3 comments

They've chosen the name wisely. Recycling an old bowl name makes it seem like the game has been in continual existence for a while.

Strange thing - there's something about these obscure bowls that I find compelling. Sited in somewhat out of the way places like Albuquerque and El Paso, often played in half empty stadiums, and featuring teams that you hadn't seen play during the regular season (if ever), if you find yourself chilling in a hotel on the road on a nasty weekend afternoon with some liquid refreshment, these games are very watchable in their own way.

I like the fact that the noise and energy levels are lower, so the announcers maintain a rather low key, even keel throughout. And they go into the same level of detail between plays as they do for the bigger games to fill the time and space in the broadcast. So instead of hearing about how many schools recruited a player, you get to hear some interesting ground level stuff, like how a certain interior lineman is extra motivated to play hard because his cousin just surprised everyone by coming back from deployment and showing up at the family owned barbeque joint looking for a little home cooking. And then they've got footage of the serviceman getting overcome with emotion when he sees the pulled pork coming at him.

And it's not like they don't have their own Katharine Webbs sitting in the stands in case Musburger were to drop by and visit the production trailer for a look.

posted by beaverboard at 10:31 AM on December 20, 2014

I'm also a fan of the weirder bowls. For a while I always made a point of watching the Humanitarian Bowl after its creation, because the idea of a postseason tilt on the smurf turf and fans schlepping all the way to Boise in winter appealed to me.

I also attended a college that only has a chance for postseason glory because of bowls like these. UNT is the Heart of Dallas champion for six more days.

posted by rcade at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2014

My favorite part of Obscure Bowl Season is teams from the back half of the FBS (MAC, Sun Belt, MWC, etc) abandoning all pretense of defense and engaging each other in ludicrous shoot-outs (not always of the aerial varieties, either). It's fun to watch the offensive plans work so well.

posted by Bonkers at 10:17 PM on December 21, 2014

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