Fresno State

Steve Cameron: Bulldogs wound up as 'bowl bid' winners

Steve Cameron

Never mind whether it was fair, sensible, insane, baffling, mind-boggling, just plain screwy or anything else, "Bowl Sunday" has come and gone.

Now that the smoke has cleared, here are four things you can take to the bank...

1. Starting close to home, Fresno State's Pat Hill got the very best of all the goodies available to his 8-4 Bulldogs.

No question at all.

The WAC has tie-ins with three events -- the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque and the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl in Boise.

With WAC champ Hawaii roaring from behind to beat Washington and book a date in the Sugar Bowl, all three of those conference-affiliated games became possibilities for the Dogs.

Hill's priorities are always the same in the post-season. He wants to play the toughest opponent available, and after that he'd like to go someplace where maybe 10,000 of his Red Wave brigade can follow along.

Playing a nationally recognized Georgia Tech team in Boise was the best of all options.

Boise State, on the other hand, got stuck with East Carolina in Hawaii -- an expensive travel option for fans who wouldn't know East Carolina from South Florida.

Ugh.

Nevada drew New Mexico on its own field in Albuquerque. Zero prestige.

Meanwhile, the Dogs are off to Boise -- about a $400 round-trip flight from Fresno -- for a Dec. 31 game against a Georgia Tech program that gets man-sized respect.

Tech went 7-5, but all five losses were to bowl-bound teams, and three of the wins came against Notre Dame, Miami and Clemson.

Football people know Georgia Tech, believe me.

If Hill's hoping for another big-time scalp, this was the perfect draw.

2. Somebody always gets kicked in the teeth when the invites come out, and this year the team with the biggest gripe is Missouri.

Mizzou finished 11-2 with both losses to Oklahoma -- including one in last weekend's Big 12 title game.

The Tigers defeated Illinois in the season opener and dusted previously unbeaten Kansas to win the Big 12 North in their regular-season finale.

They're also ranked above both the Illini and Jayhawks in all final polls.

The reward?

Illinois is going to the Rose Bowl and Kansas to the Orange Bowl -- while Mizzou must settle for a date with four-loss Arkansas in the back-of-the-bus Cotton Bowl.

Boo.

3. BCS big shots become more detestable by the minute.

The man in charge of the whole mess, Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, at first seemed to be making some sense when asked about the chaos concerning the choice of Ohio State and LSU to play in the national title game.

In fact, Slive actually sounded as though the idiocy of the BCS process finally was becoming too obvious -- and that "possibly" this season might be the one to force a long, serious at a playoff system.

But, ah...

Slive's only concession was that with the logjam at the top this year, perhaps a four-team tournament would be better.

And amazingly...

A four-team playoff this season would include Virginia Tech of the ACC and Oklahoma of the Big 12, spreading plenty of extra wealth among various BCS family members.

More money for Slive's guys -- what a surprise!

4. And finally, if there were any suspense left in the Heisman Trophy race, the talking heads on TV removed it by anointing Florida quarterback Tim Tebow as the winner.

Tebow is a worthy candidate -- the guy's thrown for 29 touchdowns and run for 22 more, which are numbers from another universe.

But Florida's lost three times, in part because Tebow lost his poise once in awhile -- particularly early in the season.

Meanwhile, Hawaii's Colt Brennan finished a perfect regular season this way against Boise State and Washington -- 937 yards passing and 10 TDs in just those two games.

Brennan was 42 of 50 in the 35-28 comeback victory over Washington.

You can't complete that many just playing catch with no defenders.

Brennan probably earned himself a trip to the Heisman ceremony in New York, where he'll get to congratulate Tebow -- and maybe see the Statue of Liberty.

Colt also will be reminded that television runs the world.

And TV hates midnight game times.

Steve Cameron is sports editor of the Sun-Star. He can be reached at scameron@mercedsun-star.com

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