A reminder that bowl games still matter in the College Football Playoff era
PHOENIX — So, can these high, mighty, all-everything College Football Playoff semifinals on Saturday live up to that non-playoff, consolation-prize, supposedly lukewarm Florida State-Michigan Orange Bowl of Friday night?
They probably cannot.
If either Alabama-Washington or Clemson-Ohio State aspires to a 30-point fourth quarter in which one team trails 20-15 and then 27-15, then leads 30-27 with a stirring 30-yard run with 1:57 left, then trails 33-30 after a stirring 66-yard kickoff return and a touchdown pass with 36 seconds left, then loses 33-32 only after two points from a blocked-PAT return, all of that mixed with a 71-yard run on third and 22 from a stirring player the likes of Florida State’s Dalvin Cook . ..
Go ahead and try.
“Guys on both teams, both sides were a credit to football,” Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh said.
As the nation nears the 10-year mark of Boise State’s famous 43-42 win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, worriers have worried legitimately about all these non-playoff bowls. Everyone agrees there are too many of them even as too many of them persist in existing. Some fret the playoff games are dwarfing the meaning of the others, but the evidence is hinting otherwise.
Even as this bowl week has had its televised shots of empty seats in upper decks, it has rollicked with scenes of curious urgency.
Hokies fan after Hokies fan on the screen certainly looked fretful in the stands in Charlotte as Arkansas built a 24-0 lead over Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl. Then, Hokies fan after Hokies fan looked compelled as Virginia Tech mounted its massive comeback for its 35-24 win. After that, Hokies fan after Hokies fan looked positively exhilarated. It raises one of the eternal questions of life: Do people really get fretful, then compelled, then…