And then there was one. With the College Football Playoff Championship Game now set, there is only one bowl game left on the schedule. On Monday night Michigan and Washington will square off for the final four-team College Football Playoff. Next year the playoff will expand to 12 teams and there will be even more questions about how the bowl system outside the playoff will operate. This year there were complaints about there being too many bowls, as well as the transfer portal and players declaring for the NFL Draft cutting into the intrigue of some games.
Instead of focusing on the negatives from this year’s bowl games, we are going to look at highlights from bowl season. Western Kentucky staging a huge comeback against Old Dominion in the Famous Toastery Bowl, Texas State winning their first bowl game as a FBS team, and USC backup quarterback Miller Moss throwing six touchdowns in the win over Louisville in the Holiday Bowl were just a few of this year’s entertaining bowl performances. Unfortunately, nothing about Ohio State’s performance against Missouri was fun or interesting, so we’ll just try and forget about what we saw on the field from the Buckeyes on the last Friday of 2023 in Dallas.
Today we want to know what was your favorite bowl game this year. Maybe a hilarious sponsor added some spice to an otherwise vanilla matchup. If Big Ten solidarity is your thing then you finally got to see another Big Ten team other than Ohio State win a playoff game. Just remember, if you were rooting for Michigan yesterday then you are definitely a cop. With over 40 bowl games played this year, there certainly isn’t a shortage of games and moments to choose from.
Today’s question: What was your favorite college football bowl game this season?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: The Pop-Tarts Bowl
Aside from getting a look at the Kansas State offense without future Ohio State quarterback Will Howard, there wasn’t much to be too excited about when it comes to the actual game played in the Pop-Tarts Bowl between NC State and Kansas State. We didn’t need to care about the football being played since the Pop-Tarts mascot became the darling of bowl season. I think every bowl season going forward should start with a 21-tart salute to the fallen Pop-Tart that gave up their perfect pastry life to help the Wildcats celebrate a 28-19 win.
More bowl games should have more food and drink sponsors. We have seen how bowl games like the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, the Pop-Tarts Bowl, and the Cheez-It Bowl have become some of the most memorable because of how their products are easy to incorporate into the celebrations of the winning team. Sorry TaxSlayer but unless you are going to find ways to humiliate accountants during the game, I’m not going to care nearly as much about the Gator Bowl. Just the fact that there was a chance that a giant tub of mayo could have been dumped on Mack Brown made North Carolina-West Virginia worth watching.
When it comes to the Pop-Tarts Bowl, the mascot went above and beyond. Just go and look at how hyped the mascot was even though it was well-known the Pop-Tart wouldn’t last long beyond the final whistle. We all knew what was going to happen in the end and we couldn’t look away from it. Plus, some of the videos that came out after the game were gold and can add some joy to the college football offseason for months to come.
Matt’s answer: Literally none of them
Here’s the thing, I’m not going to lie to you. I could go and Google “Best 2023-24 bowl games” and find somebody else’s list, pick one, and make it seem like I had watched that one, but honestly, I didn’t. Other than the disastrous Cotton Bowl (which I obviously am not picking for this column) and the College Football Playoff semifinals, I cannot truthfully say that I spent enough time watching a single bowl game this season to answer this question.
To be clear, this isn’t a “Bowl games were better when I was a kid and the players had no autonomy to make decisions that were best for their lives and careers” old-man-yelling-at-clouds thing. I still love bowl season, I still love the ridiculous pomp and circumstance, I still love getting hyped about glimpses of potential in young players getting their first real opportunities to perform; I just didn’t have time to sit down and revel in that this year.
I always planned to, but it was kind of like a prestige TV show, because I didn’t start watching at the beginning, I felt like it was too much to have to catch up. Now, I know it’s ridiculous to compare a series with an ongoing narrative to a collection of desperate college football games, but with each passing day in the month of December, the more matchups I missed, the less important it became for me to try to tune in to the next one. So, around Christmas, I just realized that it wasn’t going to be in the cards for me this year, and turned all of my focus and attention to the Cotton Bowl (big mistake).
So, this is me, humbly admitting that I did not do the work and that I do not have my homework to turn in, teacher. However, if Michael Penix Jr. and the Washington Huskies pull off the win on Monday night (still not sure if I am going to put myself through the emotional turmoil of watching) then the CFP Championship Game will automatically vault to the top of the admittedly short list.