Parts of bowl season a bit disappointing

Forgive us, if you will, for having a tough time getting excited about this year’s college football bowl games.

For many fans throughout the region, the bowl season lost a great deal of its luster on Dec. 7 when Ohio State suffered a 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. That loss knocked the Buckeyes out of a spot in the final BCS National Championship Game.

As a result, the Buckeyes will take their 12-1 record into Friday’s 8 p.m. Orange Bowl against Clemson, 10-2.

While the opportunity to play in one of the major bowls means OSU has had a great season, the chance to ring in the New Year in Miami is a little bit disappointing, considering the success the team has enjoyed in the two years under Urban Meyer and the expectations that had been built up going into the Big Ten title game.

While Ohio State fans had plenty to cheer about for much of this season, our region’s other major college football teams have, as a group, experienced disappointment this season.

Ohio University, for instance, underachieved greatly and saw its season came to an end in undignified fashion when it suffered a 37-20 loss to East Carolina in Dec. 23’s Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Fans of the University of Pittsburgh football had a little more to cheer about Thursday, when the Panthers defeated Bowling Green 30-27 in the Little Casear’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit. The win allowed Pitt to finish its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 7-6.

Our area has a large contingent of Notre Dame fans, and they saw the Fighting Irish end their season with a 29-16 win over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl, which was played in fabled Yankee Stadium.

Fans of West Virginia University and Penn State? Their teams are not a part of this year’s bowl lineup, the Mountaineers because they finished a disappointing season at 4-8 and the Nittany Lions because they remain on probation.

The bowl season has changed in many ways during the past several years. Fans once looked forward to being able to sit back and watch the many games that were played on New Year’s Day. Cable and satellite television and the ability to watch games streamed live over the Internet have changed that experience, with the average fan now having access to more than a dozen games each weekend.

This year’s bowl lineup will stretch from Dec. 21 through Jan. 6 when the Florida State will meet Auburn in the BCS title game in what is arguably one of the most revered sites in all of college football, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Even more changes will occur next season, when the champion will determined through a four-team playoff.

That’s something to think about as you sit back and enjoy this week’s games.